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UMGC Global Media Center
Internships Help Students Gain Experience and Career Confidence

Liz Connolly-Bauman
By Liz Connolly-Bauman

Internships provide students with real-life work experience, help build their skills, and give them exposure to career fields that interest them. In conjunction with National Internship Awareness Month, University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC) has turned the spotlight on the plethora of internship and other employment resources students can tap through the Office of Career Services.

“UMGC Career Services offers CareerQuest, a portal with high-touch and high-tech resources and services to inform, prepare, and connect students and alumni with career opportunities for life,” said Director of Career Services Cathy Francois.

Within CareerQuest, UMGC students and alumni can utilize artificial intelligence to receive instant feedback on their resumes and interviewing skills. They can also see a job board with thousands of postings, track upcoming career events, and preview the UMGC community of career champions.

InternPlus, another program in the CareerQuest portal, is geared for working adults and offers a variety of connections for prospective interns including full-time, micro, and project-based internships. “Students can participate in a navigation quiz and receive recommendations of opportunities that fit a student’s life or situation,” Francois explained.

Career Services is also piloting a virtual job simulation that enables students to complete an online task and then choose if they want to share it with a particular employee. Based on the result, the employer may invite the student to apply for a job or interview.

“We try to focus on other nontraditional experiential learning opportunities that our students can gain experience in and also career confidence,” Francois added.

Recently, UMGC welcomed 55 employers for the annual Virtual Career Services Fair in late March. The annual event is the largest of the university’s quarterly career fairs.

Meet a few past interns who used UMGC’s career services resources to advance their employment goals.


Christina Barlas ’23

Bachelor of Science in Web & Digital Design (minor in marketing)

Q.    Why did you enroll at UMGC?

A.   After gaining a cosmetology license in high school and working at a salon for a year, I was ready for a change and started exploring college options. The affordability and the convenience of UMGC was perfect because I could still work without the hassle of having to go somewhere in-person or spend a fortune.

Q.    What led you to your micro-internship?

A.    I found out about my micro-internship after joining the American Marketing Association, and I was the vice president of membership for the UMGC chapter. As a member, I received emails from the organization and found out about the internship that way.

At the time of my internship, I was working two jobs, so I wanted to branch out and get a different experience with a diverse organization. Many internships required more hours than I could fit into my schedule, so my internship options were somewhat limited. I happened to discover micro-internships, which were a great fit for my schedule since they required less hours, were more flexible, and less demanding.

Q.    Your micro-internship was sponsored by Parker Dewey, which helps to pair students and organizations. Tell us about how it worked for you.   

A.    Last spring, I did my micro-internship and finished up the program in June. Maryland Sportsplex offers summer camps and different athletic programs or spaces where people can hold their practices. They were looking to improve their marketing plan and tasked me with creating a marketing plan.

I think I gave Maryland Sportsplex a clearer picture of how exactly they can go about making new marketing efforts, more current ideas, and trends. Another area I assisted with was offering them a lot of pointers on how to develop more of a brand for their company, which is one thing that can make their content more recognizable.

Q.    How did the micro-internship affect your career plans?

A.    This experience really confirmed to me that I absolutely love what I was doing, and I am pursuing the right career path. I was able to have the freedom to explore different things that I don't get to do every day, even in school. Because I was covering all different areas of marketing, it really gave me a chance to research a ton of different areas and see new perspectives and ideas and strategies.

When I graduate, I hope to transition into a digital media marketing position, and my ultimate goal is to work as a digital creative director, preferably for a large entertainment or travel company.

Q.    Any advice for UMGC students considering an internship?

A.    I thought I was never going to be able to do an internship, but the micro-internships are awesome. Search for a company or position that really is geared toward what you want to continue pursuing, and don’t be discouraged if you apply for several positions and you aren't selected. Do your research, see what opportunities are available, and focus on finding a position and organization that most closely aligns with your goals and skills.

Nadine Polynice ’17

Master of Science in Human Resources Management

Q.    How did you know about UMGC’s career programs?

A.    When I completed my undergraduate studies at Trinity Washington University, I decided that I wanted to pursue a master’s degree and I was looking for that flexibility, instead of going in person. I've known folks who went to UMGC, and they told me great things about the school.

Q.    Was there a professor or department that was integral in helping you find the internship?

A.    I found my first internship on my own and my second internship was through the assistance of Cathy Francois with [UMGC] career services. She knew of someone who needed a human resources intern or associate.

Q.    You had two internship experiences. Tell us about them.   

A.    The first internship I did was with a government staffing agency, and my tasks pertained to human resources, recruitment, and onboarding.

The second internship was with a health care organization, and I was working in the Human Resources Department. The organization had shifted from one organization to another, and the HR manager was new. I was hired to assist with sorting employee files. 

I started my first internship shortly before I graduated in late 2017, and my second one began in April of 2018. After both of these roles and a few other positions with a staffing agency, I found my current position with NRI Staffing.

Q.    Do you have any advice for UMGC students considering an internship?

A.    I would suggest doing your overall research and apply. Never give up because I know it's not easy, especially going to school and then trying to get your foot in the door at a company. It's very challenging, but never give up and keep on pushing, eventually the right opportunity and doors will open for you.

Tiearra Mable ’25

Bachelor of Science in Computer Science (minor in mathematical sciences)

Q.    You enrolled at UMGC during the pandemic. Tell us about that decision.   

A.    It all started during Covid-19, when I was laid off as a preschool teacher and I was exploring other options including coding. I decided at this point I wanted to complete a college degree and study computer science.

Q.    What made you pursue an internship?   

A.    I thought an internship would be a great way for me to get my foot in the door to gain some experience. I signed up through UMGC’s Career Services to get job postings, and Cathy Francois contacted me about a tech-sales internship with SV Academy through their partnership with Diligent Corporation. [SV Academy matches tech interns to companies.]

The application process consisted of an essay, application, and interview with one of the program managers about my goals. I selected the customer success track, and they had a lot of virtual meetings in advance of starting the internship on what to expect, which was great.

Q.    How did the internship work?

A.    I started by doing a training program with SV Academy and completed that in a month. Once you finish, you get to interview with Diligent Corporation.

The next steps were completing Diligent Corporation’s training program for five months. But I actually graduated early from Diligent and started my full-time employment with the company.

When I officially began full-time with Diligent, I was an associate services specialist and now I’m a training specialist.

Q.    You ended up with a full-time job. Were there other benefits from the internship? 

A.    Helping me improve my presentation and technical skills. As a preschool teacher, I talked to little people every day, and now I speak to adults daily to train them on how to use our company software. Plus, my manager is very understanding of my course load and providing me time to do my homework.

Q.    What advice do you have for other UMGC students considering an internship?

Don't be afraid to start over, because at first, I was hesitant about it. When Cathy first reached out to me, I didn't just jump at the opportunity. I had to think about it as I was kind of afraid to start over. It ended up being the best decision that I made for myself.

Tiffany Torres ’18

Master of Science in Cybersecurity

Q.    You interned with SAIC, a Fortune 500 company that provides government services and information technology services. Was there a professor or department that was integral in helping you find that micro-internship?

A.    There was. His name was Andrew Seely [adjunct associate professor]. The internship that he posted for SAIC was out of my league as I didn’t have much experience or certifications. But the interview went so well, that he gave me a shot and I still work for the company that he hired me for.

Q.    What was the best thing about the internship?

A.    The internship that I took with SAIC was the most beneficial as I still work for them. They helped me greatly in regard to my professional experience, as well as growing my own personal network of other cybersecurity professionals.

Q.    What impact did the internship have on your career goals?

A.    It helped me grow professionally into my current career with SAIC.

Q.    What advice do you have for students considering an internship?

A.    Don't be afraid to take a shot at something higher than what you believe. You never know how things will end up.