How a small college shifted its internships online

Le Moyne College program will help students to tell a better story about their COVID experience

Internships, just like many other aspects of U.S. higher education during COVID, have gone virtual at Le Moyne College in upstate New York.

The just-launched Le Moyne Community Internship Initiative is giving first-year students on-the-job experiences they might have missed due to the pandemic. At the same time, strained local businesses, govenrment agencies and other organizations are getting much-needed help, Le Moyne President Linda LeMura says.

“Our city and county are struggling with COVID,” LeMura says “We want to bring youthful enthusiasm and ideas, and keep students engaged in remote internship with organizations that desperately need new ideas during the COVID and post-COVID eras.”

First-year students will spend 30 hours a week in these “micro-internships,” which count for one credit.

More from UB: 8 ways COVID has changed campus career recruiting

Organizations that have already partnered with the college include the city of Syracuse, the local district attorney’s office, a local newspaper and a graduate who manufactures sporting equipment, says Leslie Streissguth, who oversees the program as associate director in Le Myone’s office of career advising and development.

The interns will conduct market research and help small businesses with social media, among other roles, Streissguth says.

“One of the things we’ve heard from virtually every employer is that students will need to have a story of what they’ve done during COVID,” Streissguth says. “We are going to help our students with their stories.”

The program gives these students a jumpstart on career planning skills such as networking, interviewing and resume building, and will also help them narrow down their majors.

“We don’t want student wallowing in the negativity that is part of COVID, but to try to help others,” LeMura says. “For student, this will contextualize their own issues and worries as they’re helping someone move their business forward.”

More from UB: Students face an ‘opportunity gap.’ Here’s how to close it.

UB’s coronavirus page offers complete coverage of the impacts on higher ed.

Matt Zalaznick
Matt Zalaznick
Matt Zalaznick is a life-long journalist. Prior to writing for District Administration he worked in daily news all over the country, from the NYC suburbs to the Rocky Mountains, Silicon Valley and the U.S. Virgin Islands. He's also in a band.

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