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Summer internships offer rich experience

By John Reed, Media Relations

If you think all college students spend summer break going home and catching up with friends, think again.

For increasing numbers of college students nationwide and at UNH, summer has become a time to gain valuable career experience and a competitive edge in the job market. Most are now graduating with at least two internships under their belts.

Internships not only help them learn what it’s like working in their prospective field of employment, it also gives them a connection with a company that can lead to a full-time position after graduation.

Journalism major Michele Filgate, ’06, of Barrington, is spending this summer working for Ed Bradley and the production staff at CBS News’s 60 Minutes as a production intern. “I’m doing actual work, not just getting coffee. It’s a lot different than working at a paper because it pushes me in a whole other direction,” said Filgate, who served as assigning editor at The New Hampshire (TNH) last year.

Filgate works with Bradley’s producers, doing everything from shadowing them to coming up with interview questions and conducting research for upcoming stories. “It’s really fulfilling to see how it all comes together. There’s always something new to learn working on a story. You’re transforming a news item into pictures and images, or simple words into something captivating and informational at the same time,” Filgate said.

Working at 60 Minutes has exposed Filgate to the challenges of working at a major news organization. “There’s more intense pressure to get the facts right and make the story captivating at the same time. It’s a challenge, but one that I really enjoy. It inspires me,” she said.

French and international affairs major Eliza Chon, ’05, of Salem, is spending this summer in Washington, D.C., working for global nongovernmental organization (NGO), Youth Services America (YSA) researching youth-oriented NGOs to whom her organization provides grants.

Chon also is responsible for investigating the legitimacy of numerous NGOs that receive funding from YSA.

Her research has exposed her to diverse youth organizations, such as one in the Middle East that is working to end war in that region. “Once you get immersed in the reading you can get blown away by what an organization does. When you see what younger people, even elementary school kids, are doing, it really makes you smile,” she said.

Chon’s work this summer has helped her to hone her research skills and focus her career goals. “I hope to bring a lot back after this internship. I hope to apply my research skills to my academic studies, especially with my honors senior thesis. It’s definitely given me a bigger interest to get more involved within the service community in Durham, and most importantly a sense of direction of what my specific career interests are,” Chon said.

Electrical and computer engineering major Jason Dahlstrom, ’06, of Durham, is working for the distribution engineering group for the Northern Seacoast Division of PSNH. He’s responsible for figuring out what needs to happen from an electrical engineering perspective for any upgrades or repairs made to the northern seacoast area’s electrical system.

Working at PSNH has given him insight into the planning necessary to implement large-scale engineering projects. “When you design something, so many other people are involved in implementing it. I’m amazed at the diversity of skills that are necessary to make things happen,” Dahlstrom said.

“I’m getting to experience the different aspects of a company. The other day I went out with the trucks when they did a line conversion. It was nice to be out in the field. I even got to wear a hard hat — that’s pretty cool for pencil pushers like me,” Dahlstrom said.

As a transfer student from Boston University, and the University of Colorado at Boulder, Dahlstrom credits UNH and the electrical engineering program with helping him find this internship. “Without the help of Kathy in the electrical engineering office I would have never known about this. The electrical engineering program is small enough so that professors know your name, and your interests. That’s what’s great about UNH, it’s big enough to provide many different resources, but small enough so that you can find out about all of the opportunities,” Dahlstrom said.

Corinne Poirier, ’04, of Seekonk, Mass., spent last summer working in Manhattan for the talent manager at MTV. Poirer was responsible for assisting in scheduling, handling press kits, greeting and escorting guest stars in the MTV studios. Poirier also assisted the MTV news department dubbing tapes for stories, and researching information for stories.

“I learned that the entertainment business is very spontaneous, and it’s very hard to plan for. If anything, you have to expect the unexpected, and have confidence to handle the unexpected,” Poirier said. For information on UNH internship programs and opportunities contact Internship coordinator Dierdre Foyle-Lyder, at 2-0271.


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