Every semester, Castleton University students venture off campus to gain real world experience in their field. For most, it is a requirement to get their degree.
And while some majors do not require students to take an internship at all – according to Chrispin and his wife Renée Beaupre White – they should.
“Internships are so very important to have on a resume prior to graduation,” Renée, director of career services, said in a recent joint interview with Chrispin. “It’s critical … That’s what employers want to see.”
According to Chrispin, Castleton sends 250 students per semester to internships. That number increases to 300 in the summer.
“We try not to just put somebody in an experience just to fill it,” Chrispin said. “We want to make sure the experience they get is going to benefit them, and the skills that they have will benefit the organization.”
For the most part, they have been successful in that goal. In a recent phone interview, Steven Pappas, editor of the Times Argus and Rutland Herald, called the experience with current interns Jadie Dow and Catherine Twing “very positive.”
“It’s been great to have them in the newsroom,” Pappas said. “Their contributions have been very worthwhile. It’s been very good to hear them offer a young person’s perspective on the news that we’re covering day to day.”
That sentiment is echoed by others that Castleton sends interns to. Recent emails sent to Chrispin by internship supervisors state that interns from Castleton are “smart,” “dressed for success,” and “so devoted.” One supervisor wrote of an intern: “I’d hire for sales tomorrow if I had the need.”
According to a 2014 article in The Daily Free Press, Boston University’s student newspaper, a Gallup poll found that 71 percent of graduates who took part in an internship are now employed, as opposed to 56 percent who were employed, but did not complete an internship.
Internships are not just kept within Vermont, however. According to Renée, Castleton interns have worked in California, Ireland, Pennsylvania, and Georgia.
One such student that is traveling outside of Vermont for an internship is Jenna Goldsnider.
“I’m going to be interning for Legrand, which is based in West Hartford, Connecticut,” said Goldsnider, a public relations major. “I am so excited about this internship. I think it’s going to be an amazing opportunity to really get in the work force.”
Legrand is an industrial group that specializes in electrical and digital building, according to their website. Goldsnider said she is excited about getting to learn from others in the field.
“Castleton University really prepped us well to get in the workforce, however, internships are just that in-between step where you can get your feet wet, but not be diving headfirst in,” Goldsnider said.
According to Chrispin, the internship program has grown over the last decade.
“When I started my position back in ’99, there were probably four or five departments that really did internships and did them well,” he said. “Now every major has internship opportunities available for their students.”
According to Renée, potential employers want to see that students have had experience in the field.
“They don’t want to just see your major,” she said. “(They want to see) what do you have that has complimented your major, that shows some experience.”