AIChE Conference Highlight – Optimize Your Internship

June 15, 2021

ASC20 AIChE Annual Student Conference“Optimize Your Internship” was presented by Alaina Levine of Quantum Success Solutions at the 2020 AIChE Annual Student Conference. An internship is any official or formal program to provide practical experience for beginners in an occupation or profession. Internships benefit organizations by providing an inexpensive way to audition talent when compared to full-time positions. They allow organizations to actual observe whether a student fits into the corporate culture. Internships benefit students by giving them real world experience, diversifying what they are exposed to, and providing technical and business skills that they may not have had exposure to otherwise. They also provide ideas and inspiration for personal career goals and aspirations by exposing students to what engineers do on a day-to-day basis within the company. Outside of the technical benefits, internships build professional networks in a way that is simply impossible to achieve by being a student alone. Students get the chance to work with and for the people who may be hiring them after their graduation.

Before taking an internship, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is this the only route to get a job in this industry or organization?
  • Is this the only way to gain the skills to pursue a career in this field?
  • Is this internship going to give me access to leaders who will make a major difference in my career? Will these people open doors?
  • Does the internship offer a nurturing environment where you can move forward in the company?

In order to be successful in an internship, you will need to:

  • Seek solutions and be a resource to others
  • Show that you are committed to the company
  • Be a team player
  • Network with employees
  • Learn and use their language, as well as reference their culture

You can leverage your internship by:

  • Accessing employee resource groups and diversity organizations
  • Attending intern-focused events
  • Spending lunchtime building relationships (i.e., don’t eat alone!)
  • Asking your supervisor if they have suggestions of people with whom you can speak
  • Participating in community service clubs
  • Attending social events
  • Using professional development resources (e.g., courses, toolkits, and templates)

By: Clayton Dickerson