Flashternships give students opportunities to gain professional perspective

Kristin Williams, executive director of Career Exploration and Development.

Margaret Baah

Freshmen and sophomores have the opportunity to gain experience in a professional work setting before they complete actual internships.

“Flashternships” are micro-internships targeted toward freshmen and sophomores. Students get to spend either one day or five days shadowing a professional in the field of study or organization of their choice, said Kristin Williams, the executive director of Career Exploration and Development.

It is meant to be exploratory. Students might get a tour of the organization, meet with individuals in their department and get a history of the organization over lunch break. Students might sit in on standard meetings and see interactions between professionals if they are there for five days, Williams said.

“This is really to give you some insights into what kinds of opportunities, what kinds of work happen in this organization,” Williams said. “And what is that culture like, does it feel like a place that I might enjoy coming back and having an internship experience at?”

James Compeli, a junior accounting major, participated in a Flashternship with FedEx Custom Critical during spring break last year.

“It opened up my eyes to what a real business actually does,” Compeli said, “without you having to fully commit to working or interning there.”

Students learn from alumni and partners from organizations about their college experience. Alumni get to share how they got to where they are now and what roadblocks they had during their time in college.

“We met with the Human Resource manager and each day was broken into sessions to meet with different departments of the company,” Compeli said.

Meeting with professionals, learning their day-to-day activities, having his resume critiqued and getting interview tips were all parts of the experience, he said. He was there with two other students from Kent State.

Freshmen and sophomores should take advantage of Flashternships, Compeli said. The experience makes it comfortable for them to work or intern in a company.

“It was a subtle transition from doing this and eventually interning and eventually getting a job,” he said.

Flashternships are unpaid and students do not get internship credit hours, but they do get $50 in FlashCash.

Students can visit Handshake for listings of organizations or go to the CED office to talk to staff in the office about Flashternship opportunities. Students who do not find organizations of their choice in Handshake can email the Flashternship-specific email to be linked to the right sources.

Flashternships focus on freshmen and sophomores, but juniors who need the experience can visit the CED office and speak to an advisor.

Margaret Baah covers jobs and money. Contact her at [email protected]