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Patrick SmithPatrick Smith, a freelance photojournalist, covers the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan region and beyond. He was named 2014 Sports Photographer of the Year by Pictures of the Year International, and his images have been published by ESPN, The New York Times,Sports IllustratedThe Baltimore Sun, CNN, and Newsweek among others. A collection of Smith's sports photography is on display this fall in the St. Paul Companies Pavilion on the Greenspring Campus titled Sport: Near and Far.

Smith started working professionally while still a college student at Towson University, working for Towson's independent student newspaper The Towerlight, interning with The Baltimore Sun, and freelancing, all before graduation.

He's taken some time to answer a few questions and provide tips for breaking into the industry. ...Click here to read more.

Participating in an internship is the perfect way for students to apply what they have learned in the classroom to real work experiences while networking and learning from professionals in their industry of interest. Internships come in all shapes and sizes: they may be completed for academic credit or as a non-credit experience; they could have part-time or full-time hours; they may take place on- or off-campus; and, as recent reports of numerous internship lawsuits have reminded us, they can be paid or unpaid.

So if internships can be paid or unpaid, what do we need to know? Well, a few things:

1. Academic credit does not equal compensation. Employers should support students that wish to receive credit for their internship, but credit should not be confused with or offered in place of compensation. Granting credit for an internship connects the applied learning experience to the student’s school, while providing the intern with a faculty internship coordinator and structured assignments related to the internship experience – but it does not pay them.

2. If you are a private, for-profit employer, you should be aware of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The U.S. Department of Labor created the FLSA to serve as a guide when determining if an employment relationship exists between an intern and the employer, ultimately telling if the intern should be paid. The criteria are:

  1. The internship, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar to training which would be given in an educational environment;
  2. The internship experience is for the benefit of the intern;
  3. The intern does not displace regular employees, but works under close supervision of existing staff;
  4. The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern; and on occasion its operations may actually be impeded;
  5. The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the internship; and
  6. The employer and the intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time spent in the internship.

It’s important to note that most career centers disagree with the fourth criteria stating that employers derive “no immediate advantage from the work of the intern,” as the work of interns typically do provide a direct benefit to the employer. This is perfectly fine, and is in fact encouraged since students should be engaged in projects and tasks that contribute to the professional work of the organization. What’s key is that the work allow for the application of academic knowledge and is supported by the remaining five criteria. 

3. Non-profit and government agencies are not required to pay their interns. The FLSA makes a special exception for individuals who volunteer to perform services for a state or local government agency, or religious, charitable, civic, or humanitarian purposes to non-profit organizations. Unpaid internships in the public sector and non-profit charitable organizations are generally permissible, as long as the volunteer-intern understands that they will not receive compensation for their service.

4. Stipends are a great way to pay interns, but make sure it’s a fair amount. The easiest way to make sure it’s a fair amount? Do some simple division and find if the stipend amount, divided by the number of hours worked, equals at least minimum wage (currently $7.25 an hour in Maryland, rising to $8.00 an hour on January 1, 2015).

5. Posting a paid internship opportunity draws a better pool of applicants. By posting a paid internship, all students have the chance to apply, not just those that can afford to work for free. As an employer, you won’t want to miss out on a great intern – and perhaps future employee – because they had to choose the part-time job over the unpaid internship. Plus, since internship programs make for a great pipeline for new full-time hires, companies can save money on recruiting costs in the long run.

Internships are a great way for students to identify their strengths, hone their career interests, and apply knowledge gained through coursework. As long as the position meets the criteria of the FLSA and provides a legitimate learning experience for the student, both paid and unpaid internships can serve as a great introduction to a student’s field of interest.

If you have additional questions about internships, please contact the Office of Career Services at 443-352-4477.

This September the Office of Career Services hosted Senior Seminar, an interactive event for students preparing to graduate next spring. The event was broken up into employer presentations followed by group workshops lead by volunteers in a variety of industries with the goal of giving students real industry advice from an employer's perspective.

Session and workshop topics included: Developing Your Professional Brand and Pitch, Networking in Your Job Search, Understanding the Recruiting Process, LinkedIn from a Recruiter's Prospective, Interviewing to Make a Positive Impression, followed by a panel discussion and Q&A.

Jody Costa, Director of Marketing for Barcoding Inc. was among the panelists. In this video, Ms. Costa offers advice on how to choose the right career and what she looks for in an employee.

Stevenson University is greatful that professionals such as Ms. Costa take the time out of their busy schedules to volunteer and help guide students as they enter their careers. We would also like to express our deepest gratitude to: Enterpise Holdings, TEKsystems, Prometric, Carefirst BlueCross BlueShield, KDG Advertising, and Defense Security Systems.

The Individualized Career ArchitectureSM Plan (aka ICAP), enables a student to start thinking, planning and building upon a career path from day 1 (or week 1, 2, 3…), with the help of a student’s career counselor or coach. It is our philosophy at the Office of Career Services, that not only should a student receive an academic advisor from day one at Stevenson, but they should also receive their career counselor/coach. Our goal is to try and meet every first-year student at least once a semester in order to build a relationship with our students and help them navigate through the Career ArchitectureSM Process.

In this initial ICAP meeting we ask questions such as why the student has chosen a particular major, what their parents do and, how sure they are about the major that they would like to pursue?

You will be surprised at the number of students that say that they would like to pursue a specific major, but when, I ask them, "Do you know what that major consists of, in terms of the actual classes involved?" The answer is typically no! I think, one of the biggest mistakes that students make is not knowing what classes are involved in taking a particular major and how does that relate to their strengths and interests, because after all a major only consists of the classes that involved in a particular major.

Here is what student David Grant had to say about his experience with the ICAP…

What year and major are you?

I am a junior Computer Information Systems major ( Forensics Track) with a minor in Psychology

When you were first introduced to the ICAP?

I was first introduced to ICAP by Mrs. Vohra during my Business First Year seminar class that is required for all first-year students at Stevenson University.

How helpful/beneficial was the ICAP appointment to you?

It was extremely helpful. It was a time for me as a student to meet with a career adviser and start creating a career path which I think is really important for a freshman to have.

How often did you meet with your counselor/coach?

I met with my counselor at least once every two weeks in my first semester. I then just checked in with Mrs.Vohra whenever I needed help, which was about twice a semester.

Why did you continue to meet with your counselor/coach?

Finding internships alone can be very difficult, so by having an adviser that can find opportunities that you qualify for is reassuring in this competitive job market.

What are your career goals?

I already work for the government and that is what I wanted to do with my degree. So I plan on staying on the path I am currently on and earning a couple of degrees.

How did you get your internship?

I got my internship through the National Security Scholarship Program (NSSP), which my counselor told me about and encouraged me to apply. This involved an extensive application and background clearance, which allowed me to get a scholarship and a paid summer internship at Leidos, a government contracting company.

Was there anything that surprised you about the ICAP appointments?

I was surprised how dedicated the adviser is and how focused they are on helping find the perfect internship for you.

What was your impression about the ICAP and how has it changed you?

I liked the option to create appointments online. Most importantly you are greeted with a smile and is very organized. I feel I have gained confidence in my abilities, especially after receiving the NSSP Scholarship award and my internship.

It’s the very first week of the fall 2014 semester at Stevenson University, and the campus is buzzing with activity. The Welcome Picnic, a perennial hit among incoming Mustangs, is a great chance for new students to connect with leadership and members from a variety of clubs, student groups, and departments of the University. The Office of Career Services always has a presence at this event, sharing information about all of the upcoming career events and programming, but this year, for the first time, we invited recruiters from local employers to join us and engage students directly about some great part-time employment opportunities.

Everyone knows that Stevenson Mustangs are some of the hardest working, most career-minded students around, and area recruiters from T. Rowe Price, The Maryland Zoo, Girl Scouts of Central Maryland, and The Black Olive showed up hoping to leave with some promising candidates for their positions. In addition to attracting these well-known organizations, we also looked a little “closer to home” to invite neighbors; Noodles & Co., Stone’s Cove Kitbar, and The Shafer Center. Instructors from Reisterstown’s No Limits Training Gym wowed onlookers with demonstrations of mixed martial arts sparring, while sourcing applicants for administrative/clerical as well as instructor positions. Other partners for this event included: The Y of Central Maryland, Fastenal, Towne Park, Alethas Institute, Zeffert and Gold Catering, The Classic Catering People, Fun Photos 4 U, Squisito, SECU, and the Stevenson University Student Employment Office.

On average, employers talked to about 20 prospective applicants a piece, and most came away hopeful about interviewing and/or hiring a student they had connected with. Many recruiters in attendance were especially pleased to be included in the Welcome Back picnic festivities, which also offered them a chance to see what student groups and clubs are active on campus.

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