Kayla Ambrose, a teacher’s aid for Montebello Elementary and Middle School, in her virtual internship on Sept. 28. (Photo by Jamira Newby)
By Jamira Newby
Special to the AFRO
COVID-19 is not stopping college students from landing internships. The searches have not been easy, but apparently, they have not been impossible.
“Many internships were affected by COVID. Some programs delayed their start dates, some switched their programs to remote programs and some chose to not offer their programs at all. On a positive note, as a result of COVID, students are now able to participate remotely in internships across the nation,” said Seana Coulter, director of the Center for Career Development at Morgan State University.
Among those college students who can relate and actually scored an internship is Kayla Ambrose, a senior elementary education major at Morgan and teacher’s aid. She works for Montebello Elementary and Middle School in Baltimore City, helping her mentor as she needs it.
“We make it work. We try to make it as engaging as we can, being interactive for the students. We just try to stay strong and motivated for them,” said Ambrose. “It’s going to be a little tough, especially because it’s a pandemic, and a lot of people aren’t going to work with you hands-on, but I say hang in there and stick it out because in the end, it’s really worth it.”
Still, some programs are being cautious about their internships. Terrell Bratcher, a history teacher and Howard PRIDE internship recruiter at Howard Community College specializes in recruiting college students into his program.
“Typically, we hire student interns for the academic school year in the field of marketing and advertising. Unfortunately, due to the coronavirus pandemic, we were unable to hire any student interns to the program. The college has made the determination that a marketing intern is not necessary at this time,” said Bratcher.
Yello, a recruiting team specializing in campus recruitment, conducted a survey with 900 current college students to see how the pandemic impacted their internships. According to the survey, 51 percent of current college students were glad their internships were not canceled. In addition, four percent were glad they did not have to travel given COVID-19.
In order for students to have face-to-face internships, many companies say they mandate following The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines that include employees wearing a mask, practicing social distance in shared spaces, frequent hand washing and not sharing equipment.
“I personally feel that if people are willing to abide by the CDC guidelines, then we can definitely get back to in-person meetings and internships,” said Autumn Johnson, a nursing student from Morgan. “I am trying to remain optimistic and hope that we can regain some type of normalcy soon or within the next year.”
Ultimately, career specialists also recommend that students not panic. “I would advise that students looking for internships during the pandemic should remain vigilant and find creative ways to display their marketability and accessibility in a virtual setting,” said Bratcher.