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Students explore internships, co-op with businesses at expo
February 15, 1999

Hundreds of students discussed opportunities for gaining practical experience with businesses ranging from IBM to Hallmark Cards Inc., at the Internship and Co-op Expo '99 last Wednesday.

Cynthia Jones, director of the Department of Career Services, which sponsored the Expo, said the event was open to all students in their sophomore, junior or senior year. "This is particularly exciting because, while we have always helped seniors, today's event is the first in which lower division students are also involved."

Sally Becking, associate director of Career Services, said the event, the University's first major internship and co-op expo, was "part of an initiative to provide more experiential education for students."

Becking added that 31 companies participated and a dozen others had to be turned away, for lack of space in the Student Union Ballroom, where the event was held.

More than 300 students pre-registered for the expo, and many more registered at the door.

The event featured both internships and co-op programs. A co-op is more structured than an internship and the student is paid to do hands-on work full- or part-time for six months, according to Becking.

While students are able to gain practical experience, businesses also benefit from internship and co-op programs. "Businesses bring students in, expose them to work and see how they do. It makes hiring smarter," said Becking.

Ken Keane, manager of professional staffing for the Torrington Co., a subsidiary of Ingersoll-Rand, agreed. He said internships give his company the chance to evaluate potential employees.

Mark Everette of CIGNA said they have had great success with UConn interns and are looking for more this summer and fall. "The University of Connecticut students are well prepared and add value while gaining experience" he said.

Students made their way around the tables talking with businesses and handing out resumes. "It's a great opportunity to see the companies and get a feel for the process," said Heroy

Kebret, a junior majoring in marketing, who was looking for a summer internship. Chris Robinson a computer science/engineering major, also a junior, said he was glad to be able to get his resume out to so many companies at one time.

Nina Bralic', a graduate student from Germany who is part of the Baden-Wurttemberg Exchange Program, hopes to find a summer internship. "An internship will allow me to gain practical experience and maybe even get a foothold in the industry."

Joseph Holstead