Internships give students insight into possible careers

One day, a self-described “Human Ken Doll” handed Christine Clayton, a senior visual and media arts major, a silicone breast implant.

“Come on, every girl wants to hold one,” he said.

For Clayton, this was just another day interning in Los Angeles at Paramount Pictures for the talk show The Doctors, where other experiences included stumbling upon the set of Glee, coming across the filming of School of Rock 2, and delivering a blanket to Justin Bieber to keep him warm.

“[He is] a lot shorter than you would expect,” she said.  

Internships like Clayton’s can offer students hands-on fieldwork and a chance to bulk up one’s resume. It’s a topic particularly noteworthy on campus in anticipation of the biannual internship fair, hosted this semester at the Courtyard Marriott on Feb. 25 by the Career Services office.

Over 35 employers are expected to be at the fair this spring, according to Career Services. Last semester, all the employers that attended ended up interviewing students they met at the fair for job or internship positions.

Mariesa Negosanti, a senior interdisciplinary major, is currently interning at Horn Book Magazine and JMD Publishing in Boston. Although she isn’t receiving college credit for her internship, she said she receives some payment in the abundance of free books. 

Negosanti previously interned in children’s publishing in the marketing department, where she was responsible for sending out packages to review magazines. Now that she is working on the publishing side, she said she is learning an entirely new set of tools—and is now the one who receives packages.

“Everything is coming full circle,” she said.

At Emerson, students can get between two and eight course credits for an internship per semester. It requires signing up for a class that meets only two to three times a semester. Emerson also offers a one-credit option through a program titled the Professional Development Experience. This is a popular summer option for students, according to Career Services.

Yet some students choose not to seek school credit for their internships.

Ryn Soorholtz, a junior marketing communication major, was a summer studio intern at Allied Integrated Marketing in Boston. Soorholtz said she publicized film screenings and planned larger promotional events and press hours for actors. 

While she didn’t receive college credit, she did get a small stipend and was paid for extra events that she worked. For Soorholtz, the real benefit was free film screenings and promotional merchandise. She said she met notable figures in the film industry, including actor Zach Braff, the cast of Boyhood, and comedian and actor Jenny Slate.

“Mark Wahlberg even told his friend to stay away from ‘these pretty young girls,’ in reference to me and another girl I was working with,” she said.

Emerson students also can access eHire, an online job and internship database. Students can also meet individually with a Career Services expert to talk about their professional future, discuss their resumes, and perform mock interviews. 

Marissa Ziets, a senior visual and media arts major, applied in November for her internship this semester. She currently interns at Odenkirk Provissiero Entertainment, a comedy, talent, and literary management company in Los Angeles.

While learning the management side of entertainment, Ziets said she is also taking the internship class and receiving eight credits. With her internship, Ziet said she is discovering not only what she wants in a career, but what she doesn’t want.

“At Emerson, no one really teaches you what a manager’s role is or how it differs from an agent,” she said, “and I am getting great firsthand experience right now.”

While Ziets said she hasn’t settled on her post-graduation plans, she said that the internship is helping to point her in the right direction.

“I feel like I would not be nearly as prepared if I was not in this program and at this internship,” she said.

Clayton agreed that the professional connections she has gained through her internship, including some Emerson alumni, has increased her confidence in finding a career after Emerson.

“I am learning that the more you put into it, the more I will get out of it,” she said, “so it’s important to go above and beyond.”