National Internship Awareness Month: Strategic Partnerships helps students engage with industry professionals
College students are often told that finding internships are the key to launching their career after graduating. For students at University of Houston-Clear Lake, getting connected to an internship opportunity can be as simple as attending a Hawk Venture tour, offered through the Office of Strategic Partnerships. The tours allow external partners to showcase their facilities and operations to students, as well as a chance for both sides to network.
Last week, 14 UH-Clear Lake students participated in a Hawk Venture tour of the Ion Building, a creative office building located downtown designed to bring Houston’s entrepreneurial, corporate and academic communities together. The Ion offers office space to first-time tech start-up companies as well as Fortune 500 companies like Microsoft, providing support and community for collaborative, innovative work.
“Internships provide a space for our students to engage with industry professionals and apply what they have learned in the classroom,” said Office of Strategic Partnerships Program Manager Bernadina Streeter. “Experiential learning is a great use of our students’ time before they graduate because they move outside of their comfort zone and stretch themselves to acquire new skills.”
Atzel Arias, a senior pursuing her Bachelor of Arts in Communication, said she wanted to work for a tech company and wanted to go to the Ion Building to gain more insight into the field. “I learned there is not just one type of industry that I could go into. There are multiple options,” she said. “I’d really like to work at Microsoft. I did meet someone there while I was on this tour, so I was able to do some networking.”
Although the Ion Building contains tech companies and start-ups, Atzel said that she could see possibilities for herself as a communications major. “These tech companies need communications and marketing people, so this is not just for students who are in a tech-related degree program,” she said. “They also need people in communications and design. It was good to know they need those people.”
She said she currently was interning elsewhere, but was looking to change to something more in alignment with her interests in the tech field. “Seeing Ion’s office space was inspiring,” she said. “I’ll be working with Strategic Partnerships to find something, because they have more connections and it’s better than just looking online.”
Streeter said that Strategic Partnerships focuses on curating partnerships where there were none before.
“The more businesses, agencies and organizations we partner with as a university, the more experiential learning opportunities we have found for our students,” she explained. “I recommend students participate in as many of our Lunch and Learns and information sessions as they can fit into their calendars. Connecting with industry representatives is helpful to securing an internship.”
The Office of Strategic Partnerships hosts a series of outreach events throughout the year to connect the UHCL community and industries, offer opportunities for networking, and share career insights. For more information, go online.