A Reflection Series of Summer Internships, Part 1 

By Mandy Plybon, Assistant Director/Internship Coordinator, Center for Career Development 

 Internships are a common choice for students when they want to take an active role in determining their short-term and long-term career plans. A recent review of our student internships completed Summer 2017 to Spring 2018 show skills enhancement, practical experience, and college credit as the top three reasons an internship was completed. The beauty of internships is that they serve different purposes for each student. They can help students become aware of the variety of organizations that exist in their field, build entry-level professional experience, determine what the student does and does not want to do in a job, helps bridge the gap between classroom learning and “real-world” application, and assist students in beginning to build their professional network. This summer Mandy Plybon, Assistant Director of the Center for Career Development and Internship Coordinator will visit ten Westminster students who are interning in the mid-Missouri/St. Louis area. Recently, she visited two students in Jefferson City, Missouri. Below is a summary of their experiences. 


Rebecca Roth, class of 2019, Missouri State Recycling Program, Jefferson City, MO 

Rebecca Roth ’19, an Environmental Science major, has an internship with the Missouri State Recycling Program located in the Truman Building in Jefferson City. In addition to monitoring and managing an email listserv which processes hundreds of used office supplies and surplus items daily, she is also working on a special project for the Jefferson City High School (JCHS). Using this project as a case study, if it succeeds the Missouri State Recycling Program will begin implementing the project within the state government offices. Rebecca shares how her Westminster courses have familiarized her in how to read, analyze, and formulate case study experiences and, in turn, how this has helped her to excel with the JCHS project. She recommends this internship for any student majoring in Environmental Science. Rob Didriksen, the Program Director, mentions a student who really cares about recycling, no matter their major, is welcome to express their interest. 

I have learned there is a lot more to state government and the whole recycling process than I ever would have thought. It has been a fun learning experience working in Jeff City for the MO Recycling Program! – Rebecca Roth, class of 2019 

Jonathan Lee ’18, a Security Studies major, is interning at the U.S. Marshal Service office located in the Federal Court Building in Jefferson City. Two highlights of Jonathan’s experience so far are the exposure to other law enforcement professionals and the vicarious learning through observing court proceedings and listening to deputies report back about their field experiences. He has also learned a lot about the procedures and guidelines involved in the federal court system. Jonathan notes that the security studies coursework prepared him well for this internship, particularly the familiarization of sensitive and serious subject matters. He recommends this internship for any student majoring in Security Studies and others interested in the law enforcement field.  

 Besides talking with students about their experiences, Mandy also met with the site supervisors to receive their feedback on Westminster’s Internship Program. Both supervisors identify the same two qualities when they were considering a potential intern. They are 1) how a student presents themselves in their interview and 2) academic coursework related to the internship duties. Both supervisors felt the Westminster interns fulfilled these qualifications. 

 Westminster’s Center for Career Development is committed to engaging, preparing, and empowering students to succeed in today’s highly competitive and ever-changing global community. Staff are available to help students discover a career path, develop resume writing skills, interview skills, and more. To learn more about internships, contact Mandy Plybon at mandy.plybon@westminster-mo.edu or 573-592-5382. 

More information for students on Westminster’s internship program can be found here. 

Employers wishing to offer an internship can find out how here. 

Be on the lookout for Part 2 and Part 3 of this reflection series. 


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