November 7, 2017
An internship can make a difference for students when they look to secure a job.
In 60 percent of employment cases, students who complete internships may see their part-time work turn into a full-time job, according to a 2012 Forbes article.
The Service Learning Internship and Community Engagement Center, located in the College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, can help students acquire an internship and potentially boost their career options.
SLICE works to pair students with internships at organizations in Colorado. This year, the center partnered with over 200 different organizations and businesses and have placed 145 students in internships.
Tori Gruber, a senior psychology and criminal justice major, has used SLICE for three semesters. She is now interning with El Paso County.
“I couldn’t start my internship with El Paso County without UCCS’ agreement; I would only be able volunteer with them,” says Gruber. “Instead, Dr. Wurtele suggested that I do the internship through SLICE.”
Mario Ortivez, a psychology senior, plans on working with the elderly population when he graduates. SLICE gave him the opportunity to gain real world experience at a retirement facility.
“SLICE is a doorway to a lot of opportunities because networking is a huge asset especially for college students. Especially after you graduate, you’re going to want those connections to get your foot in the door,” he says.
Sandy Wurtele, associate dean of the College of LAS, founded the SLICE program in 2013 to give LAS students real-world working experience.
“The purpose of an internship is to get some real-world experience and apply what you are learning in your textbook to the community,” says Wurtele.
SLICE offers a variety of internships to meet the needs of the 18 majors in LAS, which include psychology, communication, chemistry and political science, among others. While this program was developed for LAS students, students from all UCCS colleges are welcome to use SLICE.
The program partners with the Career Center to help students discover what internships or careers might interest them.
“I’ve had several students in my internship class who thought they wanted to go into a specific type of career,” Wurtele says.
“However, once they interned there, they decided that they didn’t want to go into that career. That’s actually good news, because it’s much better to know that now versus waiting until you get into a graduate school and realizing it then.”
Wurtele explains that SLICE is in the process of creating a scholarship program to help students feel more confident applying for internships, whether they are paid or unpaid.
“In LAS, our internships are usually not for pay. That’s kept a lot of our students from being able to participate in them. In addition, there might be some extra costs associated with internships such as professional attire and transportation,” she says.
“To make sure that those opportunities are equitable and available for all students, we’re trying to raise some funds now to provide that that kind of financial assistance to students.”
Students like Ortivez believes that his internship with SLICE helped him secure the internship he has now and will continue to be beneficial in the future.
“Even before I interviewed, people already know a little bit about me,” said Ortivez. “Five of us interviewed, but I got the internship. I think it was because I put my name out there and networked.”
“I don’t think that I would be as prepared for this internship if I didn’t start off with that SLICE program. If I didn’t start there, I don’t think I’d be as well equipped with the skills to work with seniors, as I am now,” he says.
Ortivez encourages students to continue searching for internships even if their first choice doesn’t pan out.
“It might be disheartening at first because you may not find placement immediately. You just have to keep your head up and keep putting yourself out there,” he says.
Students interested in doing an internship through SLICE can visit uccs.edu/~slice/.