Thursday, August 1, 2013

Internship advice to an SEM major

This is some advice I gave to a student yesterday, which I thought was worthy of keeping handy for future reference and for others to read if they are interested.

Published with consent, anonymized:

On 7/30/13 6:39 PM, XXXX wrote:

>>>>>>>Subject: Internships for sus tech for next summer


Hopefully your summer is going well, I'm emailing you in the hope for some advice and help on internships. I know I need to complete an
internship as a requirement to graduate and being a Junior this upcoming year I need to complete it next summer for sure. I've been searching online websites all summer and I'm not having the luck I thought I would be having. I feel its in my best interest to seek your advice because you're my adviser and in the same field of study and knowledgeable in sustech. Is this something I should be worrying about at this point in the summer or should I wait and make an appointment with you when I get back to school? I know the basics of what an internship is and why its important but I feel I could use guidance and help to make sure I'm doing everything right so I can graduate on time. Have a good rest of your summer and I look forward to being in your classes next semester.
Thank you in advance,

>>>>>>>Subject: Re: Internships for sus tech for next summer


First up, don't worry. We've had four Sustech students out on internships this summer. You'll see the presentations in the fall, assuming you're still signed up for Green Building. Two of the four were organized by me,two by the students themselves. Internships for green energy jobs are not scarce, and the college has great connections in this area. In fact the demand for Unity college SEM students for internships is greater than the supply of students. It's other majors where competition is higher, like CLE or Captive, that typically must worry more. You may be picking up on some of the buzz from your friends. So chill. It will be fine.

Second, the main concern in an internship is to get useful valid practical experience in your field. This means that it's time to begin narrowing down the very wide array of opportunities there are for careers in the Sustech field to one or a few options that you're willing to pursue, at least for now. This isn't a commitment for life, but it does require some decision-making and commitment on your part, if you're to get the best out of it. You need to have a good idea of which part(s) of the booming green tech field you're most interested in.

I suspect that this last part is the biggest difficulty for many middle-career (sophomore/junior) SEM students. As I explained when you
Long story short, we'll talk in the fall, but you'll need to begin to do some research on your own. I suggest you start with these webpages here:

Read some of the news bulletins (for background as to expanding areas where firms are hiring), check out the jobs boards, and look hard at the kinds of jobs and choices there are.

You also need to have a good handle on which parts of the country you want to live in, or if you're willing to travel at all, as well as whether or not you're willing to go to grad school or to take a tech course such as the NABCEP or BPI as an adjunct to your Unity College degree. Go to the NABCEP and BPI websites and check them out. There are others, but these are good for starters.

If you don't mind, I'd like to anonymize your letter and post it to our blog so other students and prospective students can read your very good question, and my answer. Let me know if this is OK and come see me soonest in the fall.



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