Middle Georgia area provides internships, economy creates need for work experience

While the economic situation remains stagnate, students will have to find more inventive ways to market themselves. Countless companies around the country stress the importance of work experience on any college graduate’s resume.
Luckily, several local business and organizations offer internships for students to participate in.
Caitlin Donnelly, a junior majoring in Psychology, completed an internship with Crisis Line and Safe House last year. The internship provided Donnelly with a great resume booster and will certainly benefit her job search down the road.
While completing the internship, Donnelly was responsible for several projects. “I specifically worked with the Safe House portion of the organization. I worked with another person once a week for three hours. We worked on several projects to help the women and families who lived in the house,” she said.
One of these projects included making a booklet with activities for the children to do while staying at the Safe House. “They have movies to watch and books to read, but we wanted crafts for them to do,” Donnelly said.
“We also came up with a cookbook with quick and easy recipes, but our biggest project was an updated directory. It included places for them to go get medical help and gave them telephone numbers for any hotline they might need, daycares and housing options. There are also churches and donation centers,” said Donnelly.
Donnelly said that Safe House is the Central Georgia location, so if someone comes in and they aren’t from this area, this directory helps them find the resources they need.
The internship with this particular organization has played a critical role in Donnelly’s college experience. “I learned how poverty plays a really big role in the situations people are in. It kind of determines whether women stay in that situation or not. It’s hard for them to leave an abusive husband when they are in poverty. They are very restricted,” she said.
On the other end of the spectrum, Greta Woods, an Environmental Science major, is working with a private consulting firm that assesses environmental areas on building and renovation sites.
Woods works specifically with Geotechnical and Environmental Consultants (GEC). She began a summer internship with them this year and it has carried over to the fall semester.
During the summer, the company works with developers who want to improve, renovate or build low-income housing. These developers seek federal aid to help with these projects from the Environmental Protection Agency.
In order for the EPA to grant this money to developers, an environmental assessment must be completed. This is where firms like GEC step in.
“This summer I worked on reports and completed mapping projects. I also went on a couple site visits,” Woods said.
The firm includes engineers, wetland specialists, oil scientists, geologists and specialized field technicians.
“I’ve loved going out in the field and getting to travel all over Georgia. I’ve gotten to meet and hear the stories of people in low-income situations. It has opened my eyes to all the different aspects of environment and how specialized people within the field are. I know I need to pick a path and specialize in it,” Woods said.
The private firm offers a few paid internships during the summer and anyone interested should speak to them at Career Fair this year.
“They had 3 interns this summer and it has varied each year,” Woods said.
Life lessons like these are another reason why completing an internship before graduation is critical for most career paths. Both Donnelly and Woods gained real-world knowledge through their exposure to the public sector. Work experience can only catch more attention with a future employer and with the economy in its current state, competition is fierce.