It’s not all xeroxing and memos

JCU students with unusual summer internships share their work experiences
September 24th, 2009

The summer provides many opportunities for relaxing and beach bumming, but it could also help you make connections and gain resumé experience that could set you apart from others in a struggling job market.

Before Tom Parish ever set foot on John Carroll’s campus, the freshman was in Austin, Texas, shooting a major motion picture. Parish had a weeklong internship with Troublemaker Studios filming the movie “Machete,” which could be released as early as Spring 2010. Not only did Parish get to rub elbows with writer and director Robert Rodriguez and martial arts icon Steven Seagal, but Parish was also able to work directly with the stars of the movie.

Molly Gradowski spent the summer working with children for University Settlement.

Molly Gradowski spent the summer working with children for University Settlement.

“Basically, I would show up around six in the morning and attend to the needs of the stars; fetching a bagel for Mr. Seagal, getting a soda for Ms. Lohan, etc,” said Parish. “Then as the day progressed, I oftentimes worked on lockups, where I would make sure that no one walked into the shot or no one was in the blood-spatter line; we’d be done around nine or so.”

Parish was invited back to Austin next summer to work on another movie set, and is excited about working behind the spotlight again.

Lauren Stayer, a senior, worked with different types of stars at her internship at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. Stayer took a class last year through the Career Center and figured “if I am going to do all this work, I might as well put it toward something.” Stayer was hired by the museum to take care of their 83 Ohio native animals. She was also responsible for training them, doing animal shows and performing basic husbandry skills.

The animal shows ranged from audiences of over 100 people to more intimate groups of 20 or 30. Stayer said, “We showed the people how to interact with the animals. When most people see animals in the wild their first thought is ‘Oh my gosh we need to kill it or get it out of here.’” Stayer’s specialty was working with the skunk and black rat snake. At the end of the summer, Stayer was hired as a part-time employee and now works one day a week at the museum.

Through the Poverty and Solidarity Internship at JCU, Molly Gradowski got to not only work at a nonprofit, but made a difference in Cleveland. Gradowski, a junior, worked at University Settlement in the Slavic neighborhoods of Cleveland. She said, “It is really unique because it is the only community center of its type in the area.” Gradowski specifically worked with University Settlement’s 21st Century and Strive Programs.

With 21st Century, Gradowski taught ninth graders English, multiplication and division skills and attempted to “make school fun.” While the Strive Program worked with children ages 5 to 17, taking them on field trips to their first baseball games, the Science Center, and fire houses, but most importantly providing the children with a safe haven.

Gradowski said, “My goal was just to be happy and be smiling, just so the kids could have a good day.” She said, “I grew in many different ways. Seeing such poverty in Cleveland, in the U.S., I felt as if I was in another country at times. Just thinking…Oh my gosh, there is so much to be done.”

Holly Duns, a senior, acquired a local internship this summer as well. Duns lived out her love for music by interning at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.

Duns said, “Music has always been a big part of my life. I love the Rock Hall and their mission to preserve these historical artifacts and educate new generations about rock and roll.”

Duns learned about the internship through the Career Center and Career Connection. At the Rock Hall, Duns was a human resources intern and was responsible for assisting in updating files, interviewing and contacting candidates, and reviewing resumés. She said, “I also was able to volunteer on the Rock Hall floor.”

Duns summed up the importance of internships when she said, “Internships provide students great opportunities and contacts to gain both work experiences and to help narrow their career paths.”