/They Held Internships, Then Got a Job
Alex Gault-Plate double majored in journalism and history in May. He interned at Local News, Inc. in Oswego and now works as a reporter for The Watertown Daily Times.

They Held Internships, Then Got a Job

By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

Unsure about the value of interning?

Two internships helped SUNY Oswego alumnae Sushmita Banerjee find employment in her industry.

A computer science major with a mathematics minor, Banerjee completed an internship in 2017 and 2018 at Ahold Delhaize, an international food retail group that owns numerous grocery store brands. Once she graduated in May 2019, the company hired her as a full-time employee.

Without the internship, she doubts she would have been hired so readily after graduation.

“I could show them I possessed the skills that would benefit their company,” Banerjee said. “I could transition into the job opportunity after graduation because they saw me work and saw my skills.”

The experience also helped her pinpoint what she wanted to do with her degree: front-end programming of mobile apps.

Banerjee also felt that the internships gave her an edge over other applicants. Many employers in this field want experienced applicants.

“I had real world experience versus the classroom,” she said. “It’s not something a professor can teach you.”

Banerjee now she works for Siemens, Inc. in New Orleans as a building automation engineering assistant, a position she’s sure she would not have if she had not completed her internships and made many important connections during that time.

She believes that in addition to real world experience, internships help students network within their industry in ways that job fairs can’t match.

Banerjee encourages any student to undertake an internship, especially in fields where experience is required, instead of assuming a graduate program is the only way to go.

“An internship qualifies you and builds your resume,” she said. “It definitely helps someone narrow down their path right after college. You won’t have that struggle period of figuring out what to do with your major.”

A 2020 Oswego grad, Alex Gault-Plate, double majored in journalism and history. He interned at Local News, Inc. in Oswego, a publishing company that publishes Oswego County Business Magazine, In Good Health and College Life, among other periodicals.

“I would say that my internship gave me more experience in professional writing and gave me a sense of working in the professional writing industry,” Gault-Plate said. “I was able to point to specific examples of published work when applying to jobs and show that I am already a dedicated writer and reporter.

“I was also able to familiarize myself with another type of reporting on a number of specific topics, from healthcare to new businesses, and learn how to write for an audience I may not have already been familiar with.”

That experience aided him in gaining employment with Watertown Daily Times in Watertown covering politics, government and community news beat.

Jacqueline Campbell Wallace, SUNY Oswego’s assistant director of career services and a career coach for education, public and human services, said that in addition to fulfilling degree requirements, recruiters look for experience — and often recruit from their interns.

“It creates a pipeline for employers,” Wallace said. “They can train them, get immersed in the culture of the organization, and the interns can learn expectations and roles. That could turn into a full-time experience.”

She encourages students to work with the school to find interning opportunities that fit.

“Our office is great at communicating with employers as to what the academic outcomes are to make sure that aligns so they start off for success,” Wallace said. “It helps you take what you’re learning in the classroom and apply it.”

Some interning opportunities have transitioned to virtual experience during the pandemic. Wallace said that the school is helping both interns and employers to make it work.

Photo: Alex Gault-Plate double majored in journalism and history in May. He interned at Local News, Inc. in Oswego and now works as a reporter for The Watertown Daily Times.

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