Summer Internships Give Seniors A Glimpse Into Post-Grad Life

by Samantha Walla, Production Manager

Manhattan College students enjoy many distinctive perks as a result of their Bronx location, perhaps the most rewarding being the opportunity to gain work experience at leading employers within their field.

As full time students, a summer position can not only put skills learned in class to use, but open a door to full-time positions post-graduation. Although these opportunities are respite from the routine course load of the semester, summer internships are a glimpse at post-grad life.

Senior Mike Hackett, a communication major, utilized his public relations training at Toledo Geller, an interior design company.

Hackett was not a stranger to the routine of a summer internship. Prior to this summer, Hackett worked in marketing and social media at BellaVita, full-service fitness and wellness company, and Ballantine, a direct mail and digital marketing agency in New Jersey.

Despite his experience in a workplace environment, Hackett’s weekly Tuesday through Thursday posed new challenges.

“The most challenging moment was not being familiar with the interior design terminology when it came to creating content because it was a new industry for me,” said Hackett.

Hackett’s daily tasks included creating content for the company’s social media platforms, particularly Instagram, for which fluency in interior design language is vital.

After posting the content he generated, Hackett would develop new social media campaigns and reach out to magazine editors regarding potential collaborations.

Although the interior design industry has specific distinctions from the other industries Hackett had experienced, engaging with the public is a skill he will utilize in any industry.

“I hope to enter into the field of communication which is involved in pretty much any industry you can think of,” said Hackett. “It definitely made me so much more excited for the future because I was able to gain insight into some of the things I might do once I enter the professional world.”

For some, summer internships are an opportunity to explore the field they study closely. Brendan Hanney, a media production concentration within the Communications Department, disembarked from the No. 1 train to ISH Entertainment, a full-service production company.

Hanney spent at least three days a week assisting with the production of various projects, working from 10 AM to 6 PM, with additional hours as needed.

“The internship gave me a good idea of what I think that I’d like to do in the future,” said Hanney. “I got to get a look at many different sides of production and it’s helped me narrow down what I’m interested in.”

Hanney handled administrative tasks in addition to work on set. Hanney cited tracking down groups to sign non-disclosure agreements as one of his more challenging tasks.

Working as a PA, or Production Assistant, delivered the most rewarding experience for Hanney during his time at ISH. While producing “This Week at the Comedy Cellar,” a show for Comedy Central, Hanney had the opportunity to meet big names in stand up comedy, such as Aziz Ansari.

“This experience has given me confidence to aim for whatever I want,” said Hanney. “Being able to work on the types of productions that I have always wanted to seems more like a reality now.”

For other students, summer internships are a chance to learn what will not be an option for them in the future. Erin McWilliams, senior chemical engineering major, relocated to Pennsylvania to work at Gardner Cryogenics, which falls underneath Air Products and Chemicals, Inc.

After interviewing for the position on campus when an Air Products representative visited, McWilliams was scheduled to work 40 hours per week, mostly going over drawings for liquid hydrogen and helium trailers, and inputting the information into a spreadsheet to make sure new parts were ordered when they needed to be.

Data analysis was also a large part of McWilliams’ role, for which she created a program in Visual Basic for Applications, known as VBA. This program extracted isobaric data from the NIST Thermophysical Properties database for helium, neon, and parahydrogen. McWilliams’ coworkers then used the data to create a curve that would streamline a calculation performed in the cryogenic container chapter of the ISO Standards.

“The most challenging moment I experienced was troubleshooting the code,” said McWilliams. “I had to dig back to my freshman year ENGS 116 knowledge, and supplement that with information online. But when the code ran, I felt like a million bucks! It was super rewarding.”

After experiencing the roles of different engineers, McWilliams was given a better understanding of work experiences she would be more likely to seek out in the future. McWilliams interacted with design engineers, engineers with positions in Salesforce, and many variations in between.

“During my time at Air Products, I was able to reach out to the network at headquarters and speak to professionals in Environmental Health and Safety roles,” said McWilliams. “While I don’t think the job I was doing this summer was something I want to pursue as a career, I was able to learn about other roles that are more aligned with my interests.

Summer internships may not always be an exact dry-run of post-graduate life for students, but a glimpse into the vastly different opportunities for students. Although they might not be exactly certain of what the future holds, the three young pre-professionals agree that their intern experiences have positioned them for future success.