The set of the sci-fi film “Incubator” had a whole lot of shaking going on.
And as an intern, Katrina Castro ’08 was one of the primary movers and shakers. Her job was to gyrate a stationary RV so it looked as if it were in a police chase.
“It was kind of ridiculous,” she laughs, “but we were making movie magic.”
Castro, an electronic media and film major, was also forging her future.
Nice Work If You Can Get It
Her work on the set so impressed David Reiss, the film’s producer and director, who is also a Towson professor, that he hired her after graduation as a teaching assistant at a TU summer camp. Now
the 25-year-old is teaching a high-level visual effects course to film students on the Towson campus.
Castro’s internship sharpened her multimedia skills, transitioning her from a student in the classroom to a professional in her chosen career. “It’s essential to get some work experience,” she notes, adding that relying solely on a bachelor’s degree is not enough to land a job. Lorie Logan-Bennett, director of TU’s Career Center, agrees. What employers most often want is “relevant experience,” she says.
Helping students get that experience is a top priority for Towson. “One-third
of our students complete an internship or off-campus learning experience,” says TU’s President Maravene Loeschke ‘69/’71. “Our goal is to provide even more internships for Towson students because it is one of the primary factors to successful employment after college.”
Building on Success
While many of TU’s colleges have a tradition of on-the-job training—student teaching or scientific research, for example—TU’s Career Center seeks placements for students in every major.
Logan-Bennett is expanding relationships with nonprofits, for-profit organizations and government agencies, “to really give students a broad choice and to introduce as many external folks as possible to the talent that’s here at Towson.”
The internship opportunities are as varied as the students themselves. Towson students have interned at top accounting firms, USA Today, nonprofit visual art programs and on Capitol Hill, to name a few.
When Schuyler Millham ’13 interned at the Office of U.S. Congressman Kevin McCarthy, “I learned everything from handling constituent concerns to the history of our nation’s capital,” he says. He also discovered that internships “not only add to your resume, they provide connections, life direction and additional career opportunities.”
Internships also help students evaluate career paths. Being on the job helps them decide: “Is this truly what I thought it was going to be? Is this actually going to fit what I’m good at, what I like to do?” says Logan-Bennett.
“You really have to see what [the job] is like and if it’s what you want,” explains Michael Calabrese ’12, who landed a full-time position at the New York office of McGladrey, an accounting firm, after completing an internship there. “You have ideas and dreams, but until you get in there and do the actual work, you don’t know.”
In addition to being a clearinghouse for internship positions, the Career Center offers a free online searchable database, Hire@TU, where employers can post opportunities and students can post resumes.
Students can also receive practical help through mock interviews or from an extensive career resources library.
Early and Often
When it comes to real-world experience, the Career Center’s motto is “early and often.” The more students can get their feet wet, the better prepared they will be after graduation to find a job.
While internships are the most obvious route to practical know-how, Logan-Bennett says experience can also come via community service, campus activities or part-time jobs.
Logan-Bennett explains that whatever builds a student’s job experience, resume, marketability and network is a plus. The ultimate goal is to get them from learning to earning.
This story by Wanda Haskel originally appeared in the Towson alumni magazine. It was edited by Ginny Cook, Towson editor. Photos by Kanji Takeno.