By Tori Gray- Staff Writer
For many students at Long Island University’s Brooklyn Campus, internships are often a critical stepping stone to finding a preferred job after graduation. And whilea growing number of internships provide some form of compensation in the aftermath of lawsuits, the vast majority of them are unpaid and offer academic credit along with the chance to work in a professional environment.
As the debate about the notion of unpaid internships continues, some students who have had them – both former and current – proudly endorse them.
Candace Mosal, 22, graduated LIU Brooklyn in 2018 with a major in journalism and a minor in political science. While at LIU, the former lacrosse player also wrote articles for Seawanhaka and supported herself by working at a Plan B Burger restaurant in Connecticut each summer. Just prior to graduating, Mosal earnedan internship at BRIC Arts Media, a cultural non-profitorganization in Downtown Brooklyn whose outlets include BRIC-TV.
For three months, Mosal – who currently works as a proposal analyst for Aetna, a CVS health company in Hartford, Connecticut – says that the BRIC internshiphelped her to build her sense of confidence. “It opensa door that allows young adults to get a small taste of what life has to offer after graduation,” she said. “When seeking out an internship, make sure that you are going to be in a role that allows for you to learn, actively participate, and gives you an opportunity to have a sense of responsibility.”
After two weeks at BRIC, Mosal made a direct request to do more work. She began by sitting in on meetings and working on smaller projects to gain more experience. “Although I was majoring in journalism, my role [atBRIC] was as a social media marketing intern,” she said.“Some of the things I learned in my time was in having a sense of awareness. I became aware of how details really matter in everything we do.”
Kelly Frain, a 20-year-old junior majoring in English and business at LIU Brooklyn, is scheduled to graduate in 2021. Last semester, Frain interned at Olswanger Literacy LLC in Manhattan. While at the literary agency, she helped to organize manuscripts and responded to emails.
Frain encourages students to be self-assured. “Don’t be afraid to speak up. Ask questions, write things down, try to be a sponge and absorb as much as you can,” she said. “Even though I don’t plan to work on children’s books after I graduate, there was still a lot that I learned just from being in that environment. One internship is better than no internship. You can always learn more anywhere you go.”
Jacob Matkov, a graduate advisor in the Englishdepartment at LIU Brooklyn, believes that studentsshould keep an open mind while pursuing internships.“It’s hard to find an internship that matches yourenvisioned career path, especially in competitive fields,”he said. “Look at internships as a way to build skillsboth in and out of your field. Don’t be afraid to advocatefor yourself.”