Senior Alexandra Hoffman thought she wanted to work in zoo management until completing internships at both the Dickerson Park Zoo and the Endangered Wolf Center in St. Louis this summer.
“I actually prefer working with endangered animals,” she said. “It was a smaller center and had a close-knit feel.”
Getting a better understanding of what they want to do after graduation is one of the main purposes of summer internships, said Debbie Brunner, interim director of the Center for Career and Professional Development at Stephens.
“Internships allow students to test drive a career,” she said. “They experience daily life within their chosen field and find out if that’s really what they want to do.”
Hoffman, a biology major, was a keeper at the center, making sure endangered wolves had food and water, and overseeing tours of the facility. The center manages and breeds Mexican gray wolves to reintroduce them into the wild.
“Stephens prepared me well for the work,” she said, adding that the College’s partnership with the University of Missouri allowed her to take a specialized course in animal management.
Senior Mallory Patton conducted her internship at Irish Fox Stables in St. Louis this summer. There, she was responsible for working the horses, namely a Thoroughbred that hadn’t been ridden in a while, helping out with shows and assisting during a summer camp.
“I pretty much knew what I was doing,” Patton said. “The equestrian program at Stephens definitely prepared me.”
Patton hopes to someday own and manage her own barn.
Senior Alayna Nieters spent her summer in London interning with the Josh & Nicol brand.
“I worked with the designers, cutting garments made in house that were going to be sold on a new e-store,” she said.
Nieters said her internship prompted her to consider continuing studying abroad after graduation.
“I’d like to get a little more experience internationally,” she said, adding that she’s considering graduate school at the London College of Fashion.
For senior Kala Jones, a summer internship at Columbia Home magazine solidified her desire to work at either a magazine or ad agency. The internship entailed designing materials promoting the magazine’s social media presence and a mini campaign for a swim team fundraiser.
“I was really fortunate to get an internship so close to what I want to do after graduation,” she said. “To work in the real world—creating real things for real people—was a lot of pressure. But I did it. And it was a great experience.”
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