A new program initiated by The Office of Career Services at The University of Texas-Pan American got five freshmen and sophomore students to start thinking early about their possible career choices and internship opportunities.
The Externship Program provides students a chance to shadow for a week a professional individual in a career they are considering. Although students receive no academic credit or payment for the externship, they learn about day-to-day duties and valuable information from their sponsors that will guide their college career.
"This is a massive outreach to students to prepare them for a professional career," said Araceli Perez, internship coordinator for Career Services. "We want to help them develop professional skills and allow them to apply what they learn in the classroom to a real work environment."
The program was advertised to registrants of Bronc Career Connections with Career Services and through the Sophomore Academic Mentoring program. Students are required to have a 2.0 GPA, be enrolled full-time and be registered with Bronc Career Connections. They must also complete an application, submit a résumé and their top three career choices and attend a short interview.
Five students were selected, making them the first to pursue and complete the program.
"The students selected are outstanding academically with a GPA of 3.0 and above," Perez said. "This experience will hopefully open their eyes to career possibilities and will allow them to confirm what they want to do and build a professional network."
Based on student's choices, they were assigned to an employer that best fits their career choice. Employers participating with the externship program this summer are Doctors Hospital at Renaissance Engineering Department, Hidalgo County District Attorney Office Felony Division, First Steps Pediatric Rehabilitation Clinic, General Electric Engines Financial Department and Texas Rural Legal Aid.
According to Perez all employers were enthusiastic about working with the students and the students were excited about the opportunity.
Jaime Resendez, accounting major, was able to assist with accounting, payroll and assets with the General Electric Engines Financial Department.
"I was interested in this externship so I can confirm my major and gain the knowledge and experience I will need for my future," Resendez said. "This is a good path for students to follow to fulfill goals."
Rehabilitation services major, Yazmin Salinas agreed. She was assigned to First Steps Pediatric Rehabilitation Clinic and took advantage of her experience.
"I was looking for an internship, but when I received the e-mail from Bronc Career Connection about the externship, I knew it would be a great experience," Salinas said. "I wanted hands-on experience and to see what life after graduation would be like."
Externships will be incorporated this year into Internship Week held in November. This is an opportunity for students and parents to receive information about externships and internships by attending different workshops and meetings.
"We hope to increase the externships to more than five students for the spring, so hopefully Internship Week and word of mouth can help us do that," Perez said.
The next externship opportunity will be in spring 2010.
For more information on the Externship Program, contact Perez at 956/381-2267.