Spring internships provide insights
Laurinburg, N.C. – “I learned that internships are not about making coffee and photocopying.”
While Sheryl McBride’s statement earned a laugh from the crowd attending the Experiential Showcase of Business and Equine Related Majors at St. Andrews, it also earned appreciative nods from her fellow interns.
A Belfast resident, McBride, who spent the semester working with the Laurinburg/Scotland County Area Chamber of Commerce, is at St. Andrews through the Business Education Initiative funded by the Department for Employment and Learning in Northern Ireland and delivered by the British Council. She shared some of the additional benefits of her internship.
“I learned a lot about time keeping,” she said. “Deadlines in business are deadlines. I also did a lot of software training in Adobe In Design and Photoshop. I was able to design promotional and advertising materials.”
That designing helped to sharpen McBride’s focus for her future. “I’d always wanted to go into marketing, but I had thought I wanted to go into the public relations side of it. Now I think the advertising, publications side is what I want to pursue. I have a portfolio of work and was able to put my classroom knowledge into practice.”
Site supervisor for the internship Theresa Lamson was highly appreciative of the work McBride completed for the Chamber.
“Sheryl did a lot of work for us that, with our staffing level, we wouldn’t have been able to get done otherwise,” Lamson said. “She also brought a different perspective, which is really good in business.”
Another local non-profit that benefited from a St. Andrews internship during the semester was Hospice of Scotland County.
“It has been our pleasure to have three interns from the St. Andrews Business and Equestrian programs in three years,” said Executive Director of Hospice Jane Murray. “I don’t know what they teach these students, but they are motivated, compassionate and we don’t have to ask them twice to get things done. We will take an intern from St. Andrews as long as we can.”
Last year’s intern, Jessica Cutler, first introduced this year’s intern, Audrey Bolte, to the internship opportunity with Hospice.
“Jess was organizing a fundraiser with the Pizza Inn to help benefit Hospice,” Bolte said. “Then I had a personal experience with Hospice in Florida because of my grandfather. When I got the opportunity to meet with David Hibbard, Jane Murray and Emma and work with them this spring in preparing for the fundraising golf tournament it was wonderful.”
Bolte’s responsibilities ranged from clerical to running errands to designing materials. Yet much of her learning related not to the technical side of things, but to the personal side.
“I had to learn how to handle diverse types of people and skill sets while adapting to different cultures,” Bolte said. “I also learned how helpful people can be. I had no idea how incredible and caring people can be until I did this internship. It almost didn’t feel like an internship because I had so much fun.
“I gained a lot of confidence, especially going into businesses to ask for donations for the golf tournament,” she added. “I gained business experience that I didn’t have.”
While both Bolte and McBride were put into office settings they had not previously experienced, interns Caroline Taylor, Karen Gruninger, Hannah Kingsley and Rachel Buckler were in familiar territory doing their internships at the St. Andrews Equestrian Center.
Taylor and Gruninger did event management internships, working primarily with the dressage team in preparation for the Intercollegiate Dressage Association National Championships held in late April.
“I learned all it takes to put on a horse show of this magnitude from start to finish,” said Taylor. “I have done horse shows all my life but I’d never been on this side of things before.”
Gruninger agreed, “I had never written a news release before and I had no idea how much work went into putting a larger horse show together. I gained skills in approaching and acquiring sponsorships for the show. I worked on delegating tasks, writing press releases and interacting with the media.”
The benefits of the hard work were clear to both following the Nationals.
“I have more knowledge on what it takes to get these things done,” said Taylor. “These are lessons I will carry into my career. And I think that all the hard work paid off because the IDA Nationals ran more smoothly than I’d ever seen a horse show run.”
Kingsley, a biology major with an emphasis on equine studies, did an equine medical internship.
“I did a lot related to herd health,” she said. “I went through and updated some of the health records at the Equestrian Center. I also worked on keeping track of all the horses because there are so many in and out of the equestrian center.
“I was also allowed to research quarantine procedures in order to design and implement a plan at our equestrian center,” Kingsley said. “I looked at information to create a 14-day procedure to work with our barn design.”
Buckler also worked out procedures in the barn through her barn management internship. As a senior equine business management major with several previous internships to her credit, Buckler had a different perspective than others.
“In the future I want to have my own farm and this internship was a capstone for my four years at St. Andrews,” she said. “This is the kind of internship experience I would recommend to others.”
Business Professor and Internship Director Corinne Nicholson agrees. “These internships, whether on campus or in the community, are significant educational opportunities. “Providing our students with the opportunity to explore the options in a given field provides a starting point to their post-collegiate career and a capstone to their education at St. Andrews.”
About St. Andrews Presbyterian College
An innovative and bold academic venture, the distinctive character of St. Andrews has been marked by an interdisciplinary curriculum, a highly acclaimed college press, an award-winning pipe band, national champion equestrian teams, and first-rate scholarship. In addition to classes on the main campus, adult learners also choose the Center for Adult and Professional Studies opportunities through St. Andrews @ Sandhills and St. Andrews ONLINE.
On Aug. 29, 1958, the merger between Presbyterian Junior College and Flora Macdonald College became official with the formation of St. Andrews Presbyterian College in Laurinburg, N.C. Further information may be obtained by visiting the College's website www.sapc.edu, calling 800-763-0198 or sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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