A college degree opens many doors when trying to score a job in the real world, but how does one obtain the experience so many employers are looking for? Internships provide many Nazareth students with on-the-job training, both in the Rochester area and around the country.
Amy Floeser ’10, a business administration major who now works as a human resources generalist at Manning & Napier Advisors, said she benefited from those connections during her senior year, when she held two internships in human resources at the Fortune 500 firm Paychex. They first placed her on the recruitment team. “It was neat to see the work you do to bring people into the company, but I realized that I prefer working with people who are already employees.” Floeser’s second internship gave her just that kind of opportunity, as she joined the leave-of-absence team. Floeser performed so well in these internships that Paychex offered her a part-time job in human resources in August 2009 and another part-time position after graduation in the travel, event, and meeting services department.
Floeser’s first stop in arranging her internship was with Albert Cabral, associate professor of management and director of Nazareth’s internship program. Cabral, who will move on to other responsibilities at the end of the fall 2011 semester, has helped students establish internships since he arrived on campus in 1984. Back then, the program was limited to business administration majors and accommodated only about 50 students at a time. Since that time, the program has grown to a college-wide professional internship program serving more than 150 students annually.
The program is unique, says Cabral, in that ownership is shared. While Cabral coordinates all campus-wide requirements, individual departments manage job development, conduct site visits, and grant course credits. “That puts the internship right where it belongs—in the curriculum,” Cabral says. “No other college in town that we know of does site visits by faculty. That’s how we’ve been able to grow the program—it’s very collaborative, and it has become an academic program that the faculty sees as viable and important.” In addition, Nazareth partners with Walt Disney World in Florida on a combination of education and work experience, and the College offers overseas study abroad semesters with built-in internship opportunities.
With Nazareth’s help, students can design the internship that works best for them, and many students are increasingly networking, exploring options online, and driving the process themselves. Most internships, however, are local, part-time, and one semester. Community interest in the program is so broad that Cabral has more positions to fill than students ready to take them.
School of Management Dean Gerard Zappia feels the program’s area connections reflect its real strength. “Al has built tremendous relationships with local organizations,” he adds.
Cabral remains a persuasive advocate of the experiential learning—and the adventure, as Floeser would surely add—that a good internship can provide. And although the program that makes those experiences possible for Nazareth students is very much his baby, Cabral looks forward to turning it over to a new person with a fresh perspective. “I like doing this, and I like moving on,” he concludes. “Let’s see what someone else can do.”