Skills learned through professional internships can contribute to higher confidence in students

Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Annie Tamalavage, Texas A & M University, Oceanography, College Station, TX, United States
Through completing an internship, a student has the opportunity to learn skills that may not be typically emphasized in the classroom. Students can create a unique professional identity by participating in internships that may be relevant to their career path. The diversity of internships can also allow a student to try an experience in a job that may be away from their assumed career trajectory, contributing to students finding where their skills could fit best.

I have learned a core set of skills that have supported my transition from an undergraduate degree through two internships in both a non-profit organization and an oil and gas company. This presentation will include an analysis of the project management and communication skills that have given me “real-world” experience to understand what skills could be useful in pursuing a career in the Earth sciences.

I believed that participation in clubs, mentoring assignments, and classes abroad during my undergraduate were fully providing me with the fundamental skills to enter the professional job market. Although I did learn time management, facilitation and collaboration, I did not fully gauge the necessity of a crucial understanding of these skills in the workplace.

My skills using collaborative work have strengthened most since finishing my undergraduate degree. Through group work at each of my internships, I learned clear communication, management, respect, financial responsibility and how to fulfill an obligation towards a common goal.

Without strengthening those skills, I do not think I would be pursuing a graduate degree in the Earth sciences with confidence. The essential skills I have learned have furthered my assurance to approach a problem with certainty when developing a hypothesis, seeking help from others, and developing a solution.

This presentation will suggest further research and how specific feedback can be gathered from other Earth science students who have completed internships. With further emphasis and communication on the value of internships, I can challenge my peers to complete an internship to gain confidence in pursuing a career in the Earth sciences.