Lydia Mollerup, a marketing major at Sam M. Walton College of Business, recently won national recognition from the Cooperative Education & Internship Association as the winner of the 2022 Peggy Jarvie International Work Experience Award for her two-month internship through the Virtual Corporate Pilot of the international internship program.
Unlimited by traditional geographic boundaries, students like Mollerup engage in virtual cross-cultural learning experiences – collaborating with international NGOs to solve complex global issues and increasing their career readiness and cross-cultural skills through a project-based work with international organizations.
The Internship Pilot Program was created to connect 10 outstanding current U of A students with overseas graduates for an internship. This national award recognizes the distinguished excellence of a student who has completed an international work experience in a cooperative education program, outside the country in which they are studying, in the field of education cooperative and internships.
In honor of his outstanding accomplishments, Mollerup received a plaque and a monetary award of $500, and will receive official recognition at the association’s annual conference in April.
To further acclaim the success of this collaborative and innovative approach to global learning, Megan Hull, Deputy Director of Study Abroad, and Kayla Woessner, Program Manager and Career Coach, will represent the U of A at the conference. Annual CEIA 2022, presenting this work in a session entitled Collaboration, Adaptability, and Global Internships: A Case Study.
The pilot program required a strong spirit of collaboration between Rodolfo Leitón (MBA ’97), CEO and Managing Director of Coamesa in San Jose, Costa Rica, Walton Career Services, Office of Study Abroad & International Exchange, and Academic Programs International (API ).
“Business development requires a lot of courage, perseverance and optimism,” Leitón said. “It’s easy to get discouraged because rejection is common. And the pandemic hasn’t made it any easier in this business. Lydia has been exceptional in that regard; she persisted and went above and beyond what we expected. She even won an offer from a partner to do business with our company, which we are currently evaluating.”
Global/Cross-Cultural Fluency is identified by the National Association of Colleges and Employers as one of the key skills associated with career readiness.According to NACE research, students who demonstrate readiness skills are better prepared for a successful transition into the workforce.
During her two-month international virtual corporate internship, Mollerup focused on business development to identify companies, including food brands and personal care brands, that would like to work with Coamesa’s supply chain. .
“Even though I couldn’t be in person, I still felt like I was part of the company,” Mollerup said. “I also learned a lot about culture, which is so important to opening up and learning about how other people live. I got to see a ‘hands-on’ perspective of how all the subjects I learned in the past play a role in a business.”
Sarah Malloy, Director of Study Abroad and International Exchanges, said efforts are underway to host an in-person intern for the summer 2022 term. Additionally, the International Students and Scholars Office at the U of A has joined this venture in hopes of expanding virtual internship opportunities to more international alumni.
“We can see the program opening doors for many more students to develop soft skills that employers look for when hiring, such as international cultural literacy,” Malloy said. “We know that these international connections will allow our students to be better prepared and better equipped for the future.”