You know you’re onto something good when even your commute inspires you.
“I take the R train and I get off at Cortlandt Street,” says communication major Paisley Bittner ’15, who works in Manhattan at The Knot, a top publisher of multimedia content for weddings and other major life events. “New York City in the early morning is incredibly different than the typical hustle and bustle of the daytime. It’s so peaceful and relaxing to walk along the water in downtown Manhattan, hear the waves breaking and see almost no one.”
And if the event concierge needs another dose of that inspiration during her workday, all she has to do is look out her window, which offers a stunning view of One World Trade Center.
“I feel so energized and motivated by the atmosphere of New York,” says Paisley, whose dreams of working in this city began during a Stonehill College internship.
Already well networked in Boston for internships and careers, Stonehill College long ago recognized the value of creating similar networks in New York, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. Over time it has created specific programs that not only connect students with internship opportunities in those cities but also provide logistical support — like arranging housing — and contacts with alumni who can help them settle in and succeed.
The programs not only give Stonehill students the practical experience they need to launch careers and enter graduate school but also the cultural experiences that allow them to expand their perspective, collaborate with different people and become global thinkers.
“The students go through a great deal of personal and professional growth through these programs,” says Kristine Shatas, employer relations manager in the Office of Career Services. “They come back much more confident, mature and independent.”
Although the experience can lead them to success on any career path, it’s not unusual for students to launch their career in the city where they interned. It happens in part because the programs are tailored to maximize the specific opportunities available in the three cities.
Some students choose a program based on where they want to live after graduation. But that’s not always the case.
“When I came to Washington, D.C. to study and intern for a semester I had no idea it would end up being the city I wanted to work in,” says Alaina Dahlquist ’15, who is now a federal public policy assistant at the National Federation of Independent Business. “I had never been to D.C. but after a few weeks I realized that this city was filled with amazing opportunities you might not be able to find elsewhere.”
Alaina discovered this through Stonehill’s Hill to Hill Program, a weeklong externship for students interested in a career in government, politics and nonprofits in Boston or Washington.
“It was one of the best decisions I made since arriving at Stonehill,” says Alaina. “It was a great networking tool and one of the alums I connected with through the program referred me for my current job.”
The other option for students is the Stonehill in Washington Internship Program, which for more than 30 years has placed students in high-profile internships and put them face-to-face with people in the highest levels of national and international leadership such as senators, presidential cabinet members and Supreme Court justices.
“It’s the best place in the country if you’re interested in domestic politics and its relationship to history,” says Political Science Professor Peter Ubertaccio, who coordinates the program with Shatas. “My hope is, as this program continues to grow, we will see more students from other humanities majors complementing students who are interested in politics… because D.C. has a lot to offer from those other perspectives.”
One program that humanities majors are already flocking to — along with students in our business programs — is the Stonehill in LA Internship Program, started five years ago by Communication Professor Ron Leone and economics major Chris Gagne ’09. The program has placed Stonehill students in positions with such well-known Hollywood entities as CBS Films, MGM, Warner Brothers and the Conan O’Brien Show.
Chris, now a marketing assistant at Universal Pictures where he routinely rubs elbows with marquee celebrities, says Stonehill helped him find the self-awareness he needed to find his true passion. He now gives back to his alma mater as Stonehill’s Los Angeles internship coordinator, expanding the Stonehill network and finding internship opportunities for current students.
“Chris has been an amazing resource, both for our interns and new graduates,” says Shatas. “He’s always been available for any questions that they have and has maintained a network of other Stonehill alumni in Los Angeles who are always willing to help as well.”
Kaitlyn Spinali ’12 says those kinds of connections and the friends you develop can have a profound impact on program participants. “The LA internship program changed the course of my life,” says Kaitlyn, who interned at CBS Television and is now a talent relations assistant at Fox. “The experiences that I had, the mentors that I gained and the friendships I developed in those three months have been invaluable.”
And those friendships don’t just broaden a student’s social circle.
“Students in these programs build professional networks much larger than if they were to intern locally, as all three of these cities host students from all over the world,” notes Shatas. “When the students return to campus — and eventually continue on to employment, graduate school or service — they are set up for success.”
New York City
The other is the New York City Externship Program, an intense weeklong networking experience where students meet with successful alumni to gain insight into a variety of career opportunities.
“Alumni share their career paths and what it is like to live in NYC financially, socially and professionally,” says Andrew Leahy, associate director of Career Services. “It is not uncommon at all for former externs to land an internship or job with contacts they met during the Externship Program.”
Paisley Bittner is one of the recent examples but there are similar stories every year. Leahy points to Kaitlyn Rose ’10 and Sean Lowry ’12 who were both intrigued by an alumni presentation at Thomson Reuters during their externships and both ended up working there.
Adds Shatas, “All three of these programs provide students with the opportunity to land their dream internships. Whether it’s Atlantic Records, the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the White House or Mount Sinai Medical Center, they can really make it happen.”
“I had the opportunity to collaborate with professionals and interns in all of the firm’s major global offices,” says Dan Doherty ’15, who completed an internship at Goldman Sachs that led to his current job as a securities analyst. “I worked with some of the most interesting people I have ever met and made long-lasting friendships.”
Paisley says that regardless of which option a student choses, these experiences can be as formative as any that the College has to offer.
“I wasn’t ready to go abroad and move to another country for a few months, but I found the NYC program, which was the perfect in-between option for me,” she says. “My advice is to find something you're passionate about (even if it’s just one thing) and run with it.”