When Rebecca Brackett ’19 was 11 years old, she told her father that one day she would appear on her favorite show, Say Yes to the Dress, and work at Kleinfeld Bridal in New York City. What she didn’t know was that the Stonehill New York Internship Program would be the catalyst to fulfillment of her dream.

“My dad laughed because I was young and we lived in Gloucester, Massachusetts, so it wasn’t realistic,” said Brackett.

During Brackett’s sophomore year, Dean of Meehan School of Business Debra Salvucci told the marketing major and economics minor that past students had secured placements at Kleinfeld Bridal. It was when Brackett landed a coveted internship at the internationally renowned boutique that she realized her childhood dream might come to fruition.

“It was amazing,” she said, referring to both the internship and her time in the city. “My internship provided a learning experience, but there are also other amazing opportunities for growth in New York.”

Alumni network helps students find perfect internship placement

New York City is the largest city in the United States and the New York Internship Program provides students of all majors with the chance to learn and lead in coveted internships.

“The vast number of internship opportunities for students in New York is unmatched,” said Kristine Shatas, employer relations manager at Stonehill’s Career Development Center (CDC). “Students have access to some of the largest entertainment companies in the world, global organizations such as the U.N., nationally ranked medical centers and even small nonprofits.”

It’s a powerful opportunity for students in any major offered at Stonehill.

“I came out having a solid understanding of how a publishing company works,” said Aimee Chiavaroli '16, an English major who interned at book publisher Glitterati and is currently the education reporter at a daily newspaper in New Bedford, Massachusetts. “I polished my writing and editing skills, and I gained technical skills through updating the website and social media.”

For Brackett, preparing her resume and networking with Stonehill alumni was key. Both Salvucci and Shatas provided alumni contacts who could help in the process. “It gave me confidence,” said Brackett.

Shatas says networking with alumni also gave Brackett an insider’s perspective on the interview process.

“Our past interns had been such standouts at Kleinfeld that the site was eager to take on another Stonehill student,” she said. “Our NYC program alumni have, in many ways, paved the way for future students to participate in highly competitive internship programs that are often difficult to break into.”

Students use externship program to find the right fit in a new city

One exceptionally valuable tool for students seeking to network or secure an internship is the New York Externship Program, an intensive, weeklong experience that focuses on career exploration. Each year, a small group of students travels to New York to meet with successful alumni in a range of professional settings.

“Alumni share their career paths and what it is like to live in New York – financially, socially and professionally,” said Andrew Leahy, associate director of the CDC. “Some former externs have landed internship and job opportunities through contacts they made during their time in the Externship Program.”

One example is Sean Lowry ’12, of Butler, Pennsylvania, and now an account manager for key strategic accounts at Refinitiv in New York City. He made a contact at Thomson Reuters during the externship program, which led to an internship and a full-time offer after graduation. Lowry has worked for the company – under both names – for more than six years and now hosts Stonehill externs, providing insight into what it’s like to work at a global financial technology institution.

“Stonehill's externship program exposed me to a variety of career paths and increased my awareness of summer internship opportunities,” said Lowry. “It introduced me to a network of supportive Stonehill alumnae in the New York City region, who have become colleagues and friends.”

Time spent in a new city leads to personal, professional growth

While in New York, students work full time in the midst of a fast-paced city while living in a residence hall with students from around the world.

“The students go through a great deal of personal and professional growth,” said Shatas. “They manage their own schedules, commute during rush hour on the subway, work full time and study in the evening at Fordham University. They come back more confident, mature and independent.”

Chad Mead ’19, an economics major and business administration minor, says his experience interning at the New York City Department of Investigation helped him decide on the path he will take after graduation.

“I now plan to pursue a career in law enforcement,” he said. “The internship helped me recognize the great work that people in this field do, and I want to make a similar difference in the lives of others.”

New York City also affords students the chance to explore unique opportunities in the most populous city in the United States.

While in New York, Brackett modeled during New York Fashion Week and for a Make-a-Wish Foundation charity event organized by Nigel Barker of America’s Next Top Model. She also visited some of the city’s most iconic sites, attended a Patriots vs. Giants game and saw Broadway shows.

“I wanted to make the most of my time there and do something I wouldn’t normally have the chance to do,” she said.

Shatas notes, too, that New York City encourages an unparalleled opportunity for students to immerse themselves in a rich, culturally diverse environment.

“One of the most important pillars of an education at Stonehill is that we educate not only the mind, but also the heart,” said Shatas. “New York is an amazing place for students to develop both personally and professionally, and to gain a better understanding of how they can become compassionate leaders out in the world.”