LEWISBURG, Pa. - For two days during her 2007 winter break, Lauren Gibbons ’09, an English and psychology major, joined the Washington, D.C., press corps as a reporter for the Washington Times. The story she wrote was published, with her byline, in the Jan. 14 edition of the influential daily newspaper.
At the same time, Harry Kastenbaum ’09, a history and political science major, spent part of his winter break sitting at the options desk of Northeast Securities Inc., a boutique financial firm based in New York City.
(Listen to Kelly Boswell '09 talk about her externship experience.)
Both Gibbons and Kastenbaum had these “real-life” experiences as participants in Bucknell’s Career Development Center’s (CDC) new Externship program, which gives sophomores a two-day opportunity to explore a variety of career fields by “shadowing” professionals — mainly Bucknell alumni, parents, or friends — in their workplaces.
Key program “We picked the sophomore class intentionally,” says Melissa Gutkowski, manager of externships. “First-year students have orientation; juniors are gearing up for that important internship or research opportunity that could lead to a full-time offer; and by the time you’re a senior, you’re looking for work or preparing for graduate education. The sophomore year didn’t have a key program.”
The externship program was launched in fall 2006. During the winter break, 212 students completed externships, which were sponsored by 146 organizations.
“That’s just the beginning,” Gutkowski says. “Our goal is to bring more students into the program. We will continue to work with sponsors to develop the quality of the experience. We see externships playing an integral part in helping students with their career decision-making.”
Wall Street experience Kastenbaum found his Wall Street experience edifying.
“I watched two days of mergers and acquisitions. I researched Brazilian sugar cane ethanol, and I got advice on how to get into the financial business. It was an eye-opening experience," he says. "It helped me realize that I have options, and it’s not too late to change my mind about careers.”
Gibbons never dreamed she’d actually be a reporter during her externship.
“I just figured it would be a chance to try something different,” she says. “I’m interested in law, but I’m also interested in writing and journalism. I had to call D.C. and Baltimore officials, say I was a reporter for the Washington Times, and then interview them. It was intense — an awesome experience. As a result, it definitely made me more interested in the field.”
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