This summer, Lycoming College launched the Williamsport Internship Summer Experience (WISE). The WISE program offers students of varying disciplines the opportunity to partake in an internship in the local Williamsport community. The experience is designed to expand the students' employability skills while enhancing their professional workforce experience.
Excellent internship experiences are directly related to post-college job placement, but can pose challenges for the students seeking them. Often, they are non-paid, which can be especially problematic during the summer when many students need compensation. Also, internship opportunities frequently are located away from a student's residence. The WISE program overcomes both these hurdles by providing resources and housing.
After a competitive application process, 19 sophomore, junior and senior students were selected to participate in the program. Each student enrolled in the WISE program completes an on-campus internship preparation workshop. Once completed, a 10-week, off-campus internship begins during which students work 35-40 hours per week. Lycoming College provides each participant on-campus housing. Internship host employers compensate the interns with a $3,000 stipend or collaborate with the college to fund the position.
Shown are Lycoming College students who took part in the Williamsport Internship Summer Experience program with college trustees Stanley Sloter, front left, and Donald Hughes, front right.
Shown is Lycoming College student Shafiquallah Mujadadi, who interned with RETTEW Associates
Working together, the college, student and internship partner set learning goals for the student to accomplish though the duration of the program. Throughout the summer, the students participate in seminars facilitated by WISE committee members on topics including communication in the workplace, professional development, etiquette and LinkedIn.
"Students have their education experiences in common," said Anne Landon, IMS internship coordinator for Lycoming College and WISE committee member. "What will stand out to future employers are students who also have related hands-on work experience complemented by professional development skills at the time that they graduate. This is exactly what the WISE program offers. It opens doors, provides valuable networking opportunities, builds confidence and promotes personal and professional growth."
The WISE program not only provides opportunities for students, but also expands Lycoming's presence in the local community. In the process of establishing the internships, partnerships were formed between the college and many local businesses, non-profit organizations and government agencies.
"I am interning as an assistant community development specialist at RETTEW Associates. It has been a wonderful experience so far," said Shafiquallah Mujadadi, a senior international student majoring in political science. "I have been working with a number people on several projects with local government entities around Pennsylvania. Most of those projects are local, which makes it an especially interesting experience because its impact can be felt immediately."
The WISE Internship program was made possible by generous contributions from two Lycoming College trustees: Donald Hughes '72 and Stanley Sloter '80.