Some insights on internships…

Marisela Laplante - Internship Coordinator at Career Services

Marisela Laplante – Internship Coordinator

SDSU Career Services: How long have you worked at SDSU? As an internship coordinator?

​I have been at SDSU since 2011 where I started as a part time assistant in the International Business internship program. ​​I moved into the position as the internship coordinator at the beginning of 2013. ​

SDSU CS: Did you have an internship as an undergraduate student?

​ Yes! I had several! As an undergrad I did two internships, one at a high school as a teacher assistant and one with the Red Cross after Hurricane Katrina.  ​In graduate school I did an internship at the Museum of Photographic Arts in Balboa Park and another at a public library.

SDSU CS: What is your favorite aspect of instructing your internship course?

​I really enjoy working with students and seeing them progress through the different stages of their internship. It’s rewarding to see a student who was nervous or anxious at the beginning become confident in their internship and really learn from the experience. My favorite part of my job is when a student tells me the internship resulted in a job after graduation!

SDSU CS: What is your biggest challenge related to student internships?

The biggest challenge I have is student safety for internships abroad. Anytime students are going abroad there are health and safety concerns that need to be addressed. With internships abroad there is the added concern associated with a work place abroad. The other challenge I face is finding abroad internship placements for students. I spend a lot of my time communicating with company, university and provider partners to make sure students have several options to choose from.

SDSU CS: What are the strengths of SDSU International Business students?

The students in this program have a business mind but also have a cultural awareness and sensitivity needed to work in a global business world. The International Business students are particularly successful in internships abroad. I get lots of compliments from companies abroad, they love that our students are proficient in the foreign language and can integrate and start work on day one.

SDSU CS: In your opinion, what is the ideal internship experience?

The ideal internship experience is one which is an extension of the classroom and offers an opportunity for the student to learn something measurable and significant. I find sometimes students are eager to learn one specific thing related to their major. At the end of the internship they realize they not only learned business practices they can apply, but also have learned professional business, communication and networking skills.

SDSU CS: What advice would you offer to other department internship faculty and staff?

Network, ask questions and enjoy what you do!

The more contacts you have (on and off campus) the easier your job will be. I work closely with career services, study abroad office and other departments on campus. I also attend conferences and internship related events which have been instrumental in helping me stay current with internship trends and create partnerships both on and off campus.

I really enjoy my job. It’s a unique position on campus and I get to be involved in many different aspects of internships.

SDSU CS: Who is your hero?

At the moment my hero is my 87 year old grandma who has never stopped traveling, learning and enjoying life!

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