University of Pittsburgh
August 27, 2012

Pitt to Guarantee Every Undergraduate the Opportunity of an Internship

New program thought to be the first of its kind
Contact:  412-624-4147

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PITTSBURGH—In an effort to help University of Pittsburgh students obtain a competitive edge and prepare for life after graduation, the University’s Office of Career Development and Placement Assistance (CDPA) is unveiling an initiative that guarantees every undergraduate the opportunity of an internship. 

Starting this fall, any registered Pitt undergraduate on the Pittsburgh campus is eligible to participate in the Internship Preparation Program (IPP), which is the first step in a student obtaining an internship placement.Cheryl Finlay

“We are pleased to offer this opportunity to all of our undergraduates. Internships, like undergraduate research and study abroad, provide students with opportunities to deepen their understanding of what they have learned in their classes and are an important component of ensuring that Pitt graduates make wise career choices and are adequately prepared for the next phase of their lives,” said Pitt Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor Patricia E. Beeson.

 “The University’s Office of Career Development and Placement Assistance has developed a thorough preparation program for students wanting to obtain an internship placement. Pitt’s internship guarantee is one of the University’s many offerings intended to meet students’ academic and career needs,” Beeson added.

 As one of the nation’s leading public research universities, Pitt places a high priority on having its students engaged in experiential learning, said Cheryl Finlay, director of the CDPA, whether that means conducting research with world-class faculty members or performing internships designed to build on what students learn in the classroom.  

“Employers are looking to hire new graduates with experience, so we are working diligently with employers to make more internships available and accessible to our students,” said Finlay. “At the same time, we want our students to understand the importance and value of completing successful internships.” 

The IPP will include a series of six sessions that can be completed during walk-in appointments made at a student’s convenience. Each session addresses a different aspect of preparing for an internship: résumé formatting and content, résumé review and internship focus, preparation for an internship interview, networking skills, and internship search, as well as a session focused on succeeding in the internship. 

Once students complete the IPP, they meet individually with CDPA staff for personal résumé reviews, mock interviews, and support in identifying strong matching opportunities for internships. Finlay said the guaranteed internship opportunities will begin for students in the spring and summer semesters of 2013.

Alyson Kavalukas, CDPA internship coordinator, said the internship guarantee program could be the first of its kind. 

“To the best of our knowledge, after researching this issue, benchmarking at other schools, and through outreach at national conferences, we believe the University of Pittsburgh is unique in guaranteeing experiential learning for all undergraduates who complete a preparation program,” said Kavalukas.

CDPA, which was recently ranked as one of the best career services departments at a college or university in the 2013 edition of The Princeton Review’s annual college guide, will encourage students who haven’t yet determined their career paths to use internships as a chance to explore potential career fields, their individual strengths, and work dynamics.

Finlay said the effort to help students gain experience-based learning helps the University reach its goal of 95 percent employment placement for new graduates. She said the closer her office is to attaining that goal, the better Pitt is able to recruit and retain top students and to maintain an engaged alumni population. 

“Experiential learning provides students with skill sets and professional savvy that they will use in their careers, and these experiences are highly desired by employers,” said Finlay. “It also helps students identify their true passions and strengths in order to make smart academic decisions and choose the right career paths.”

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8/27/12/amm/jer/jdh

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