Tag Archives: internships

From left to right: Jonna German, Ienna Dela Torre, Derek Buckwalter, Ted Baird, Alisha Casey (Graphic by Matt Miller)

Dons with the Internship Advantage


Photo by Danielle Maingot



Who: Ted Baird

What: Sophomore entrepreneurship & innovation major

Where: Bron Deal Enterprises LLC; Frisco, Texas – It was a summer internship, to help grow his company and learn the behind-the-scenes to the fashion world.

When: May 2013 to August 2013

Why: I met Bron Austin at a Delta Sigma Pi fraternity event last year and he talked to me about his high-end custom men’s line. I told him I had a huge passion for the fashion industry and a few weeks later he offered me an internship in Texas to help expand his company. It was an amazing opportunity to work side by side with such a dedicated entrepreneur. I was lucky enough to travel with Bron to Oklahoma, New York, and various parts of Texas.


photo by Monica Chitre

Photo by Monica Chitre







Who: Ienna Dela Torre

What: Junior politics major, legal studies & media studies minor

Where: National Lawyers Guild SF Bay Area Chapter – a progressive legal membership organization that is focused on supporting and upholding the civil rights of underrepresented communities. I assist with general administrative duties in the office, as well as some research and article-writing. I help provide support to protesters at demonstrations throughout the Bay Area, responding to mail from inmates’ who seek legal support. It’s awesome!

When: Spring 2014

Why: I really wanted to get hands-on experience with a non-profit organization, especially one geared towards progressive thinking – so far, I love it!


photo by Monica Chitre

Photo by Monica Chitre







Who: Derek Buckwalter

What: Junior performing arts & social justice – music concentration major, general business minor, tech and design certificate candidate

Where: Om Entertainment Group – a local record label/lifestyle company that started the careers of artists like Kaskade and Bassnectar. I managed the online social media presence of the brand, shipped cds and other inventory, worked the merchandise table at the Maker Faire and a few concerts, created promotional content for the relaunching of one of the sub-labels, participated in the relaunch, found key corporate contacts, got equipment, and put up posters/flyers in local key business areas like the Mission and the Haight.

When: Summer 2011 to Spring 2013

Why: I love the artists whose careers they started, how well they treated artists, how they treat one another with respect, and the connections they granted me.


Photo by Monica Chitre

Photo by Monica Chitre







Who: Alisha Casey

What: Freshman english major

Where: Berrett-Koehler Publishing – Sales & Marketing Intern

I worked on Sales reports, meeting with authors, completing spreadsheets, and marketing in general (advertisting, tweeting, etc.)

When: January 21st-April 30th (three days a week)

Why: I needed an internship to break into publishing because it’s almost impossible to get into the business with just a degree. This was somewhere to start so I could move up. I’m also taking an internship writing class so I get four credits for the internship.


Photo by Monica Chitre

Photo by Monica Chitre







Who:  Jonna German

What: Sophomore sociology major, dual degree in teacher preparation program, health studies and child and youth studies minor

Where: Child Family Health International – a non-profit NGO that sends students to over 50 countries abroad. This organization provides medical care and assists impoverished communities through asset based community development. I helped implement community outreach programs, fundraise, and match students to programs according to their interests. Programs include dentistry, maternal and child care, reproductive health, etc.

When: October 2013 to February 2014 (once a week)

Why: Interning is really important because it gives you valuable experience into the working world. It helps students get an idea of what field they would like to go into. Firsthand experience is always beneficial. I wanted to learn more about public health as a field and this gave me lots of exposure to it as well as the non-profit industry.

Want help finding an internship? Check out the Career Services Center »

Graduating Senior Asks Peers, “Now What?”

This is a call for all my fellow University of San Francisco peers — the younger, the better  — to listen to a senior’s final plea to all undergraduates. I am weeks away from walking towards an unknown future, wearing a cap, gown and crammed with information from various professors, PowerPoint presentations and books. But still, I must wonder, “Now what?”

I have no jobs lined up, no internships awaiting me, no real prospect for a way to repay the loans that were necessary and pushed me into this unfortunate situation I find myself in today. Instead, I have a lingering regret — not due to my crazy college experiences, but from what I did not experience. From what I decided I did not want or need to experience. I made the decision to not take on the working world early on and now it  has left me stranded, calling out, “Now what?”

As I step off of the university’s grass, I realize that I have spent five semesters here, not once really taking advantage of what the university offers on a regular basis. I never attended any career fairs, never looked at Dons Careers to see what hot internships were open to me, never thought about attending one of the several seminars about how to find such opportunities.

Perhaps I thought the jobs would be lined up outside, waiting for me to pick and choose. Instead, while my classmates are accepting positions and entering the working life, I am left behind, hoping someone can answer, “Now what?”

My first semester I had one class Monday, Wednesday and Friday, which would have allowed me to intern somewhere a few hours a week. The following semesters had a similar pattern that would have given me the chance to work and build my resume. And now, in my fifth and final semester, with the most random class schedule, without the experience anyone in my place should have, I contemplate, “Now what?”

No one can answer the question for me. Today, I stare at DonsCareers and Craigslist, applying to anything that may result in an offer. And even with the prestigious diploma I will soon receive in the mail, it will not be enough. So now, I must ask myself, again, “now what?”

I appeal to you, my USF peers, and especially to you, freshman and sophomores: take advantage of what the university is offering now. Attend every career event, check DonsCareers regularly and apply, apply, apply. Reach out to the USF community to find someone who can mentor or help you on your journey. Join a club or group — and if you don’t like it, then change it from the inside. Make your LinkedIn profiles professional and connect with the people you meet. Network every single day and be active. Otherwise, there’s room at my table for us to have a lengthy conversation about “Now what?”

Dons Helping Dons, a Mentor Program, Brings Real World Closer


Whether or not the post-grad life has yet to manifest itself into something tangible (and scary), USF students are now able to connect with fellow USFers who are already out there.

Dons Helping Dons (DHD) is a mentorship program that connects USF students with alum who share advice, guidance, and information. The program works through the LinkedIn group of the same name, which is open to past and current USF students.

“The ultimate goal is for students to have someone to talk to about what they want to do, and to hear it from someone who really does it,” said Alex Hochman, assistant director of the Career Services Center. Hochman created and manages the site along with student assistants Khadijah Powell, Diana Guardado, and Veronica Palafox.

As a freshman studying exercise sports science, Powell often found herself surrounded by fellow students who discouraged her from attending medical school after graduating from USF. “They’d say that it was too hard and that it would take too long,” she said. Her mentor suggested she should “just go for it,” which has given her a more positive, motivated outlook on her next three years of college.

“This program has many benefits for students such as developing a support system, networking with professionals, and receiving advice from those who have been in your shoes before,” said Guadardo, a freshman media studies student. “It’s the perfect chance for a student to be ahead of the game!”

Of the approximate 1,060 DHD members, about 820 are alumni and 240 are students — and the numbers are quickly increasing. DHD started in October, but has since gained a large, loyal following of active users posting almost daily. The alumni come from a range of degrees, including business, communications, and nursing, and job experiences vary between managers, directors, and executives. Students can narrow down their search for a mentor by location, type of work, and organization.

Group members are advised to not view the site as a resource for immediate internship or job opportunities, unless specified. Alex Hochman said that students who build a relationship with their mentor may find it appropriate to eventually ask the big question. “If you’re looking for a place to find an internship by tomorrow, this isn’t it,” he said. “But if you’re a senior who’s built a relationship with a mentor, go for it. Just not right off the bat.”

This is how it works: Mentors post their job industry background on the

LinkedIn DHD discussion board. Students interested in learning more can comment on the post and send a personal message to the mentor. From there, students follow up however they choose, whether it be through email, meeting up for coffee, or talking over Skype. There’s no obligation to stay connected with mentors, but it probably wouldn’t hurt. Jobs are nice, right?

For more information on Dons Helping Dons, visit www.usfca.edu/donshelpingdons.

Is USF’s Emphasis on Service Unrealistic?

Now that spring semester is fully underway, students are starting to formulate their plans for the fall. Some are returning to USF, others are studying abroad and still others are looking to join the work force. For seniors, the next few months will decide what forms of recognition they will graduate with from USF and whether graduate school or a career is in their future.

One particular issue has caused significant debate in the Foghorn Office: USF’s emphasis on community service. Several staff members have advocated for service learning and the benefits that result from volunteer work. Other staff members have spent more time working at jobs and internships that relate to their major and feel that their work is less respected than the work students do on pricey service learning and immersion trips. This debate has caused much of the Foghorn staff to wonder whether the emphasis USF places on service reflects that of the greater academic community and professional sphere.

One Foghorn staff member is currently being considered for Valedictorian of the 2010 graduating class. This staff member has expressed concern that the validity of her academic achievement and professional success are severely overshadowed by USF’s demand for service. When she went to career services to rework her resume, she was told to put her limited volunteer work above her extensive work experience. The Valedictorian letter states that the selection committee will need, “A resume that includes information about your academic achievement and University and community activities and service…” The letter did not mention work experience or off-campus internships. This staff member has held many jobs and internships in her field of study, dedicated much of her time to the Foghorn and received high academic honors, but without on-campus service she didn’t have much to fill her Valedictorian application with. Although she would have liked to have gone on service immersion trips and dedicated more time to volunteerism, she wasn’t able to due to time conflicts. If this staff member was to apply for a job, instead of Valedictorian, with the same resume, she probably would have had significantly more success. This has led a portion of the Foghorn staff to think that the focus USF places on service is unrealistic in comparison to the careers some students will pursue after graduation.

Conversely, other members of the Foghorn staff think that in attending a Jesuit school, students should be aware that their involvement in service is a high priority. A different staff member, also a senior, attended multiple service trips abroad and did extensive volunteering during her tenure at USF. On campus, this involvement may be highly recognized, but in some career fields a service-heavy resume may have little clout. This staff member feels that, regardless of her future career, the service she has done has prepared her for post-college life and greatly benefited her education at USF. She points out, also, that she has received more recognition on campus for her work at the Foghorn than for any service-related activity.

Not all students with an interest in service are able to make time or provide funding for volunteer work. Because of this, the Foghorn Staff questions the emphasis USF places on service. The staff fully supports volunteerism and the Jesuit values that USF is based on, but would like to see either a greater value awarded to academics and off campus work. Since USF’s emphasis on service is disproportionate to some students’ fields of interest, USF should recognize both service and work experience as equally valuable.

Professors Are A Valuable Resource To Students

Tuition at USF is approximately $34,000 a year. If each student enrolls in eight classes each year (32 credits worth), then hypothetically each class is worth about $4,250. Naturally, not all of this money goes directly to classes, but a large sum of our tuition does provide for small class sizes and competent instruction. The Foghorn has a few suggestions for how students can make the most of each class and make USF tuition feel a little less pricey.

First: Go to class. Considering how much you pay for each session, whether or not you go to class shouldn’t be debated. Your presence in class does not only allow the professor to put a check mark on his or her attendance sheet, it actually benefits you and the other students. Classes at USF are small enough to allow significant discussion and small group work. If you don’t show up to class then you are diminishing discussion possibilities and missing out on a whole day’s worth of information. Missing class can cause you to fall behind on homework and miss important lectures. Additionally, most professors take attendance and have strict attendance policies. Missing class could cause your professor to drop your grade. Some students intentionally miss class because they do not do the readings or homework. In those cases, just consider how frustrating it is for your classmates to update you on all the things you missed either because you didn’t read or didn’t even show up. You are in college for a reason, so don’t let yourself or your classmates down.

Professors are hired at USF directly to teach students. USF is not a heavy research university, so the main focus of all USF professors is (or at least should be) educating students. If students don’t understand the material covered in class or just want a more in depth analysis, they can visit professors at their office hours. All professors at USF are required to have office hours specifically for helping students. In high school, teachers did not have office hours and visiting them after class might have been considered strange or embarrassing. This is not the case at USF. Students here are heavily encouraged to attend office hours and make the most out of each class and their relationship with professors.

Networking is one of the biggest resources professors offer. Even if you don’t have questions about the material covered in class, go to your professor’s office hours and establish a relationship with him or her. This professor can write you letters of recommendation in the future or be a reference when you apply for jobs or graduate school. Even if you are not particularly good at the subject, showing dedication to learning will most likely still impress your professor. By getting to know your professor, a whole world of opportunities arises. Professors can recommend the best classes, connect you with off-campus internships, and even mentor you as you prepare for graduation and life after USF. The resources USF faculty have to offer are endless. Instead of wasting $4,000 on a class you don’t care about, invest a little more time to maximize the benefits that each class can offer you.

Many members of the Foghorn staff have taken the initiative to connect with professors throughout their years at USF and fully embrace the opportunities this school has to offer. Now, these individuals have internships at organizations they are passionate about and have started to build their careers. None of them could have done this without going to class, establishing relationships with professors, and taking the initiative to capitalize on their education.

McCarthy Center is Gateway, Not Only Way to Intern in Washington D.C

Since 2002, USF’s Leo T. McCarthy Center has been sending students to American University in Washington D.C. as part of a partnership program between the two schools, allowing students to pursue semester-long internships near the nation’s capital that suit their major.

The program has been so successful that in 2006, a summer internship opportunity was added in Sacramento.

“Out of about 50 students that have entered the program, we have had only two say they didn’t have a positive experience,” said program director Patrick Murphy.

The goal of these internships is to give students real work experience, help boost their resumes and aid them in deciding whether their intended major is the right course for them, said Angela Mucci, the McCarthy Center’s program assistant.

“It’s good for students to get out of San Francisco for a little bit and get a real sense of what they will be doing when they get jobs after college,” said Mucci, who recruits students for the internships and servesits on the selection committee. Mucci also helps students with their resumes and handles the program evaluations when students return to USF.

In order to qualify for the internships, students must have a minimum GPA of 3.0 and be at least second-semester sophomores. Each applicant must also submit a resume and write an essay explaining why he or she wants to go. The McCarthy Center looks for students with a little bit of experience.

“We don’t want the person for whom this would be their first venture in another environment,” said Murphy.

The McCarthy Center receives roughly 15 qualified applicants each semester, and after that, decisions have to be made. While other schools send up to 20 students to the Program at American University, USF is limited to just five because the school pays for most, if not all, of student expenses, including the two units that are earned through the internships. Students interested in earning more units, up to eight are available, must pay and work more hours.

Kimberly Steffen, a USF junior, went to D.C. during the spring ’08 semester and interned at Bennett Group Financial Services, a private finance firm that manages company investments. Steffen said she got the internship through a business fair at USF before she left for D.C. Steffen is an international studies major and an Asian studies minor. She no longer wants to study finance, though she found the internship to be very helpful.

“It was a good experience but I’m no longer interested because it was a little bit too boring,” she said.
With opportunities through the McCarthy limited, some students have taken initiative outside of the program in order to make the trip happen. Caroline Coleman, who was denied an internship by the McCarthy Center twice, contacted American University on her own and was accepted into a similar program.

“I had the most fabulous experience. I worked for the EPA and got to travel to South Africa,” said Coleman, who recommends that students search for alternatives if they can’t participate through USF.

“If you can do it through school, great,” she said. “But if not, don’t let that be your only option.” Coleman said the only difference in her trip was that she was not in the same internship class with other USF students. “I got to meet so many other people,” she said.

“We would love to take everybody,” said Murphy. “But if you can’t do it through us, Caroline is a great example of someone who took initiative and made things happen on her own.”

There is more flexibility in the Sacramento summer internships because students who choose that track usually live in the area. Expenses for USF are lower and the program is not done through another school. The McCarthy Center is able to send eight to Sacramento.

Vince Mahan, a senior politics major who transferred to USF from San Francisco City College, interned in Sacramento last summer in Democratic Senator Lou Correa’s office of California’s 34th district. Mahan received a stipend to help pay for his living expenses in Sacramento.

“They (USF) paid for everything,” said Mahan, whose main job was to find a sponsor for Correa’s bill to increase privacy rights for mobile home owners.

“In the spirit of bipartisanship, I was able to find a republican to sponsor the bill,” he said.

Mahan said that the McCarthy Center tried to put him in an office that matched his political affiliation.
“I’m a moderate democrat, and Senator Correa is as well. It was a perfect fit,” he said.

Senior politics major and legal studies minor Evelyn Molina also interned last summer in Sacramento. Molina was put in Senator Roy Ashburn’s office of California’s 18th district.

“The internship solidified that politics is what I want to do,” said Molina, who wants to go to law school after finishing her undergrad. “I would recommend it [the internship] to other students 150%,” she said.

Some students are questioning the McCarthy Center’s methods in selecting applicants. Coleman, along with senior Rory Koznik, who went on the D.C. trip, both say they are still unclear uncertain abouton the selection process. Koznik was denied the first time he applied, and accepted the second time. “My qualifications didn’t change,” he said.

Murphy explained that applications are evaluated by members of the Career Center and student alumni of the program. If there are more qualified students than available slots, it comes down to how well applicants present their argument in their essays.

“If we can’t take you, we won’t stand in your way of pursuing another way to make the trip,” said Murphy. “We will still try to help students wherever we can.”