Put them together and what do you get? Internships.
Alcon. Lockheed. Ericsson. Bell Helicopter. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Social service agencies. Governmental agencies. Law firms. Engineering and architectural companies. Radio and TV stations. All offer internships that shape students' careers and provide crucial connections between corporate America and the University.
"Student interns benefit because they gain real world experience, and the University gains because those students bring back a sense of what educational experiences they need to prosper in today's swiftly changing economy," said Jeff Serrano, UTA's development director for major gifts.
|Ericsson is a big believer in on-site classes, and I was plugged right in to those. That experience along with the other things I learned at UTA created a package that was very attractive to a lot of employees.
Software engineering graduate Rehman Ali
And if those corporate contacts result in the funding of grants or research projects, so much the better because this also benefits students, faculty, the funding corporations and often society itself.
"One of my focuses is opening the doors in the corporate community for the University and hopefully building that partnership," Serrano said. "We're constantly demonstrating what a tremendous asset our students are."
Such internships can lead directly to jobs with the sponsoring corporation or other opportunities. Consider Jason Williamson, a biochemistry graduate and former intern with Alcon Labs-now his full-time employer. Or senior Ryshawn Joyce, who's interned at five companies, including his current employer, Carter & Burgess, Inc.
Then there's Rehman Ali, a recent software engineering graduate who followed a business-oriented internship at IBM with a technical internship with Ericsson. That's two internships with Fortune 500 companies-a powerful learning experience.
"Ericsson is a big believer in on-site classes, and I was plugged right in to those," Ali said. "That experience along with the other things I learned at UTA created a package that was very attractive to a lot of employers."
Ali had numerous employment options and originally was offered a postgraduation job with Ericsson. "But that was before the great dot.com meltdown," he said with a laugh.
Instead of Ericsson, Ali now works for Texas Systek Corp., an instrument control engineering firm. He functions as a liaison between hardware and software, making sure they mesh.
"It's a best-of-both-worlds deal for a guy like me who's interested in the big picture," he said. "But I needed the internships to get me here."
Junior political science major Kecy King wants to be a lawyer, which is how she ended up as one of the youngest interns ever with Dodge, Fazio, Anderson and Jones in Dallas.
"It was real experience, actually doing a lot of the legal work itself," she said. "I was filing documents and doing courthouse research as if I were an entry-level attorney. It was the best hands-on learning experience I've ever had."
This fall King hopes to gain criminal law experience with an internship in a district attorney's office.
"I believe I'm eventually headed for a specialization in real estate law," she said, "but my intern experiences are definitely giving me a career advantage."
KRLD Radio almost always has one or two UTA communication interns on board. Says General Manager Jerry Bobo: "Opportunities in media particularly are limited, so it's important from a corporate citizenship standpoint for students to look forward to an internship to see how the corporate world functions."
And, Bobo admits, it's also crucial for a company like his to maintain close contact with the soon-to-be-affluent, upwardly mobile college graduate.
"Interns are one of the ways we stay in touch with the real world, too," he says.
The bottom line on internships: Good for students, good for sponsors-and a vital contact point between the University and the community it serves.