San Diego student’s struggle for pandemic internship and college counselors’ suggestions


College students are still seeing the ripple effects when it comes to getting internships during the pandemic, as many companies have adjusted their internship programs.

SAN DIEGO – It’s not that getting an internship was super easy before the pandemic, but the landscape is different now. Everyone is applying online for an opportunity which can still be online, in person, or a mix, and that is if the student candidate gets a response at all.

“If something happens, they say they will contact you, but I’m not sure when they will contact me, says Roxanne Victoria, a third year student at UC San Diego.

Since classes returned to campus in September, Victoria has been awaiting a response from the 10 internships she applied for, including big names like Google, TikTok and Facebook.

Victoria is a major in applied mathematics looking for an internship in data science or data analytics, but she believes the pandemic puts her at a disadvantage when an application asks her for experience or volunteer work that she does not want. has not.

“I just feel like they expect a lot more than what we’ve been given the opportunity to receive,” said Victoria.

In the meantime, Victoria tried to spruce up her resume and cover letter.

“I go to the career center once a week to correct my resume so that I can perfect it as much as possible and give myself the best chance,” said Victoria.

Inside UC San Diego’s Career Center, Executive Director of Career and Professional Development Hassan Akmal said his office has seen an increase in the number of students needing internship help. .

“I can tell you when the pandemic first occurred, the whole recruiting cycle was disrupted. Many internships were completely canceled, and so we had tons of students, who were just on the job. point of graduating or had just graduated, and they were out of luck, ”said Akmal, who was a featured speaker at TEDx.

College counselors faced a new challenge in how to prepare students for interviews that were not in person.

“We teach students to look into a camera in the eye instead of the zoom window, so it’s a different kind of approach,” Akmal said.

The University of San Diego Career Center has also seen an increase in the number of students needing help.

“I have a team of 20 people, and everyone’s gotten to contact groups of students,” said Robin Darmon, senior director of the Career Development Center at the University of San Diego.

Darmon says 92% of U.S. students in the Class of 2020 were placed in internships or research or volunteer experiences, and 88.6% had graduate jobs or plans when they graduated.

“We engage with them from the get-go, so as soon as they come onto campus as freshmen, we have a strategy for each year they’re here,” said Darmon, who is at the school. ‘USD for eight years but in higher education her entire career.

With more internships offered online due to the pandemic, some students were able to complete multiple internships at the same time, but it all depends on the industry.

“There are some industries that are struggling to catch up. These include sports, events and those like hospitality. These have obviously been hit a little harder,” Darmon said.

The multinational aerospace and defense technology company Northrop Grumman continues to need interns in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

“At the moment, we are in recruiting mode, and there are still opportunities for the summer of 2022,” said Alfredo Ramirez, vice president of engineering for Northrop Grumman in San Diego.

Ramirez says 71% of Northrop Grumman interns become full-time employees.

“We matched our interns very successfully, we had about 100 interns for Northrop Grumman developing into STEM-like careers,” Ramirez said.

Interns work in mechanical, electrical and cybersecurity jobs. Ramirez says there have been hybrid options for internships, “but a lot of the work we do here has to be on site.”

The San Diego Chamber of Commerce is looking for several interns for its Marketing, International Business Affairs and Public Policy departments.

“We are looking to hire our intern starting in January and our applications will close on December 30,” said Summer Bales, policy coordinator for the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Bales just graduated from UC San Diego in June and landed a job with the Chamber of Commerce, where she interned during the height of the pandemic.

“I certainly understand, it was my experience with you struggling in the middle of a pandemic to make connections and just get out, so something I would recommend is when you apply for internships if you can find someone. one that you can reach directly, I’ve had students do this with me before and it really stands out for those who go beyond just applying and requesting an informational interview about the opportunity, ”a Bales said.

College counselors suggest reaching out to alumni for help, refining your social media presence, and even starting your own internship.

While waiting to hear from an internship program, Roxanne Victoria became a math tutor for 13 students. She teaches multiplication to first graders and calculus to students via Zoom in her own business which has been word of mouth.

“Since it was difficult to find a job or to go out, I was okay, I can help the students since they are at home like me, and I can create my own program and help that way”, Victoria said.

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