As we dive into a new school year, you may be thinking, “It is too soon to think about what I am doing over the summer,” since you are still recovering from this past one. Well let me tell you, it is never too soon to start sifting through your options.
Illinois College has a wonderful program called the IC Explorers. It is an internship program that offers twenty-four positions ranging in eight different locations. According to JJ Sadler, head of the program, “Internships are very important because they provide experience while in college to utilize in obtaining future employment or graduate school admittance, they introduce students to a wide network of professionals in the field they are considering, and they help students understand what they want and do not want to seek in a future career or professional program.” One important thing going through everyone’s minds is, “Do I get paid?” Yes, you will be paid. Each intern gets a stipend of $2500 for the 300 to 400 hours of work they dedicate to the ten week internship. Now to dig even deeper into the IC Explorers program, let’s go to the zoo. Read carefully, any of you education, biology, or environmental majors, this internship would be perfect for you!
The Henson Robinson Zoo is located in Springfield, Illinois and is the home to over 90 species from many different countries. The zoo offers the chance for visitors to see animals they normally do not get to see on a day to day basis, while learning about the animals’ characteristics and ecosystems. The zoo even goes as far as having amphitheater programs which give the visitors a chance to see the animals outside of their habitats. These are just some of the exciting tasks IC Explorer Shelby Thompson got to do during her ten weeks as an intern at the Henson Robinson Zoo.
Thompson is a double major in biology and Spanish, with the aspirations to go on to veterinary school once she graduates in 2018. This is what she has to say about her experience: “My experience has benefited me in more ways than I initially thought. I have an internship experience that will give me a step up on my resumé for other jobs, scholarships, and vet graduate school applications, not only because I’m working around animals all day, but because I’m learning a lot of useful information about them too. Many of the zookeeper interns want to be veterinarians or zookeepers after college, and that’s a great learning experience too, but I actually get to handle animals, learn tons of information about them and their ecosystems, and use that knowledge to educate visitors and children. I’m also getting a personal benefit through this internship by being able to develop my communication skills. Teaching visitors and assisting in programs requires a lot of development and preparation, especially when you have to try and prepare for questions that you could be asked about the animals you’re talking about. My social and speaking skills are put to use throughout each day, allowing more and more improvements over time. I also got a bonus benefit of realizing what I wanted to do with my future after college is over. I knew I wanted to be a veterinarian and help animals, but I wasn’t sure what direction I wanted to take it in. A few weeks into this internship I discovered that I loved learning about and working with the exotic and endangered animals, realizing that I wanted to focus on being a vet for endangered species in other countries and help get their numbers back up in the wild.”
This is an internship where you get to work with children, animals, and many visitors of all ages. Do not worry if you are thinking this might not be the right match for you. Remember there are eight IC Explorer Internships and countless others out there. For more information, talk to JJ Sadler at Career Services or visit their website at http://www.ic.edu/internships.
Jessica Sanders, from Woodstock, Illinois, is a junior majoring in English with a concentration in Secondary Education. Jessica is a member of the IC Women’s Chorale and is the Editor in Chief of The Rambler.