By Dale J Rappaneau Jr. Contributing Writer
Back again for its fifth year, the UMF Internship Fair will connect studen
Spring Internship Fair Poster in the Student Center. (Photo by Eryn Finnegan)
ts with local and regional businesses, each of which are in search of interns for various positions.
The Internship Fair will take place on Wednesday, March 7, from 11:00 a.m to 1:30 p.m., in the Olsen Student Center, and will feature such businesses as Alice James Books, the Maine State Aquarium, Sebago Trails Paddling, various district attorney offices and more.
“It’s a smattering of everything,” said Joe Austin, interim Associate Director of the Partnership for Civic Advancement (PCA). “We want students to have a taste and visit tables to talk to folks, some directly involved in their area of interest. We also want them to think about things they might be interested in, yet haven’t thought about before.”
Austin admits that it can be nerve-wracking for students to approach businesses about internships, but he believes it’s “important for students take the opportunity to put themselves out there.” Austin recommends bringing a resume in case a business asks for one.
Austin also recommends asking the representatives a lot of questions. “It’s intimidating, but the key to getting over that is to ask questions. ‘What’s your day like?’ ‘How’d you get in the field?’ If you have a genuine curiosity, it comes through.” Austin added, “The businesses that come to the fair, they come because they get great students, and they’re here to help students. Just walk right up and start a conversation.”
For the last four years, the Maine State Aquarium has been one of the core returning businesses attending the UMF Internship Fair. Elaine Jones, Education Director for the Department of Marine Resources, which oversees the aquarium, said she “treasures their relationship” with UMF.
“There’s so much opportunity for students,” said Jones, “and a lot of our interns will tell me, ‘We learned more at this job than during an entire year of school.’ The hands-on experience is huge for their growth.”
The Maine State Aquarium, located in Boothbay, hires three paid interns each summer. The interns work five days a week at the aquarium, caring for and interacting with aquatic creatures of all types. At the time of writing, all three positions are still open.
“I started as an intern, and I’ve been in this position for twenty-eight years,” said Jones. “Been there, done that—was one of them—and I’m gonna make sure [the interns] walk away being able to call on me for a recommendation.”
Austin admits that not all students will find their ideal career opportunity at the Internship Fair, which is why he encourages students to contact him at the PCA office and schedule an appointment to discuss internship possibilities.
“We have many more listings than will be at the fair,” he said. “If they don’t see something they like, we can talk about it. We’ll work with them to find something that works.”
Students interested in discussing internships with Joe Austin can reach him at email@example.com.
By Dale J Rappaneau Jr Contributing Writer
Transfer students, regardless of age or background, are currently required to fulfill UMF’s mandatory PHE course in order to graduate, which has some transfer students feeling frustrated and marginalized.
Andrea Swiedom, a 26-year-old Creative Writing major who commutes an hour to and from UMF, says she was told during enrollment that the PHE course was not required for transfer students. “When my advisor, Jeff [Thomson], told me it was required, I thought he must have had it wrong,” said Swiedom. “I thought it was a joke or that Jeff didn’t know, because I remember being told transfer students didn’t have to take it.”
Swiedom added, “I think the requirement makes sense for younger students who don’t have a good routine established or get too nervous to get into the gym, but common sense should be implemented into the system.”
Michael J Angelides, transfer counselor for UMF, said when he works with transfer students who are concerned about PHE, he tells them it is a “required class for all students” and “a great way to force some students out of their comfort zone and get them familiar and comfortable with the FRC.” He added that, in the past, “it’s entirely possible that I didn’t grasp the requirement for transfers and misrepresented the requirement to some of them early in my role as transfer counselor.”
Alison Thayer, coordinator of first-year collegiate physical fitness, stands behind the college’s requirement for all students, traditional and transfer alike, to take the mandatory PHE course. “Even transfers will benefit with becoming familiar with the Fitness and Recreation Center,” she said. “They’ll get to know others who exercise, maybe find a study partner—and being active benefits everyone, regardless of age.” Thayer later added, “ I can certainly see how the PHE course could be stressful for the person who commutes, has kids, and a full-time job. I understand a 30-year-old isn’t going to want to be in a class with 20-year-olds, which is why we try to be flexible, just come to me and let’s talk.”
Part of that flexibility is being demonstrated during this semester by students like Swiedom, who are fulfilling their PHE requirement through a Mainely Outdoors learn-to-ski program. “That’s a totally new idea,” said Thayer, who credited adjunct professor Scott Hoisington for spearheading the program’s implementation. “They take about twenty or thirty students and twice a week they learn to ski on Titcomb, with a third day attending the regular PHE class. We want our students to learn physical activity skills that they’ll take with them after graduation, and this is one example.”
Although appreciative that the learn-to-ski program is fulfilling the PHE requirement, Swiedom said she “would have learned to ski regardless of the PHE credit,” and still feels the requirement for transfers to take the PHE course is less beneficial and more “bureaucratic nonsense.” Thayer, on the other hand, is thankful for having taken the PHE course when she attended UMF, for it inspired her to learn how to cross-country ski, a passion she still enjoys today.