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December 2013
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More December Features:

New lab puts research under the microscope

So what’s your IQ?

School of Law continues award-winning ways

Profile: Dr. Tom Nenon

Alumni Association honors four with Enshrinement of 1912

Names in the news

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So what’s your IQ?

U of M’s award-winning internship program gets even bigger boost.

By Greg Russell

A new program that prepares students to become Internship Qualified (IQ) has been created at the University of Memphis, one that U of M Provost David Rudd says students should make a priority to participate in. The program helps students compete for high-level internships at companies such as International Paper and FedEx, as well as at nonprofit organizations, government agencies, schools and hospitals. Students at the U of M who meet minimum criteria are guaranteed internship experience; the IQ program enhances a student’s opportunity to find high-level opportunities.

“The IQ program is a unique opportunity and resource for our students,” Rudd says. “It’s on the cutting-edge of preparing them for a competitive internship environment.”

Internships are a vital part of a student’s educational experience, says U of M Provost David Rudd. Students receive hands-on training and interaction with administrators at leading businesses in the area as well as at non-profits, educational settings and government agencies. A new program at the University enhances a student’s chances of landing high caliber internships.
Internships are a vital part of a student’s educational experience, says U of M Provost David Rudd. Students receive hands-on training and interaction with administrators at leading businesses in the area as well as at non-profits, educational settings and government agencies. A new program at the University enhances a student’s chances of landing high-caliber internships.

Says program director Kelly Penwell, “Today’s job market is extremely competitive. Many employers look for two or more internship experiences on a student’s resume before extending an offer for full-time employment. A major problem, though, is that many employers are reluctant to offer even entry-level internships to students without any experience.”

Penwell says the IQ program offers a solution that shapes students into “intern-qualified” candidates, and helps place them at the head of the pack when competing with others for the same internship.

“Every employer is on the lookout for new talent who demonstrate a genuine desire to work for its company,” she says. “Our Experiential Learning Lab has developed a system that helps students gain familiarity with organizations, develops their soft skills and showcases all that they have to offer to future internship providers.”

Students in the program can boost their internship readiness by selecting a unique combination of experiential learning-based activities that are point-based and that culminate in a classification of Platinum (100 points), Gold (90 point) or Silver (80 points), depending on what degree of activities students complete. All students in the program are required to submit an error-free resume; attend an academic internship workshop with the Experiential Learning Lab team; and submit a corporate research overview document. To earn more points, they can choose from activities such as meeting with a professional of their choosing and completing an informational interview packet; attending a networking event on or off campus; developing an internship objective statement; and joining a club or professional organization related to the student’s major.

“Students will gain a competitive advantage by taking part in this innovative program,” Penwell says. “They are making themselves more attractive to employers first as interns and ultimately as full-time employees. It helps the University produce highly qualified, work-ready employees who already possess necessary skills and experience that employers are looking for. It adds a big plus to any resume.”

The U of M’s internship program has been widely popular and successful, placing more than 5,000 students in various internships each year. Former participants rave about the benefits. It is considered one of the top internship programs in the country, and has been ranked in the Top 10 by U.S. News & World Report.

“The best thing about my internship at the Orange Lake Resort in Orlando was that I learned things that no classroom can teach you,” former internship participant Adam Holthouse says. “The things I experienced here will carry on to future jobs in the hospitality industry and will allow me to become a leader of the industry one day.”

“I feel like I am ahead of the game in terms of my own personal career development,” added Anthony Fenech of his internship at the same resort. “It helped me narrow down what I want to do after college.”

For more information on how to take part in the Internship Qualified program and enhance your chances of landing an internship, contact Penwell at internships@memphis.edu or at 901/678-3260.

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