Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Interns gain experience, networks

According to a recent USA Today education story, 70 percent of college students participate in internships before graduation. Internships provide students with opportunities to get first hand experience of what they learn in the classroom. John Railsback, the executive director of the Career Center, says internships may not be 100 percent necessary in today’s age.

“I don’t know that I would consider internships ‘necessary’ in all instances,” he said. “However, I do think that they provide excellent opportunities to gain relevant experience and build networks within organizations that are often committed to college recruiting.”

Railsback spoke on the debate of required versus unrequired internships and unpaid versus paid internships.

“Whether or not internships are traditionally paid or unpaid often depends on the field,” he said. “Those that are unpaid sometimes have the benefit of counting as credit towards degree requirements. Regardless of whether an internship is paid or unpaid, the true value is gaining relevant experience and in building networks that could lead to career opportunities.”

Railsback said each college is more in tune with curriculum requirements that may or may not require an internship.

“Gaining relevant experience, through internships or other work-related activities, is one of the most beneficial actions a student can take to discover and connect with career opportunities,” he said.

Chelsea Chatman is a senior accounting student who is currently interning at Habif, Arogeti & Wynne, LLP in Atlanta. She said she’s enjoying her internship and loves what she does.

“It’s not so much as me learning and being tested on [the software] per se,” she said. “It’s more of them judging me on the output that I give them. If my work is good, then I applied what I learned in the work field and at school properly.”

There are some majors on campus that require students to get internship experience including telecommunications and film broadcasting and human development. Chatman said only those students that specialize within the accounting field have to acquire internships, but she thinks it’s beneficial.

“I think [required internships] are very helpful because it will give you insight on what you’re getting into,” said Chatman, who has a specialization within the accounting major and a minor in computer technology applications. “[It’ll give you insight] into the job or the career that you’re trying to do. It’s good to have that because you never know. There are a lot of people that major in things, and they think they love it, but once they get out there off in the work field they don’t like. It’s different in the work field than in college.”

Shantoria Kite, a junior majoring in human development, will be interning this summer in Memphis with Youth Villages, which is a place for adolescents with behavioral and emotional issues. Kite believes having a required internship has positive effects.

“I feel like it’s a necessity anyway,” she said. “You get the experience. Not all colleges or majors require internships in the first place and the fact that [the department of human development] requires it helps us get experience in our own fields.”

There is ample information available for students on internships. Bulletin boards in almost every academic building showcase internship opportunities.

The career center located in the Ferguson Center is another resource, which is the home place of Crimson Careers. Websites such as and also feature a number of different internship possibilities.

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