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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Students set sail with externships

Abby Trout presents externships in JRC 101. Photograph by Joanna Silverman

By Danielle Williams

Last year, the CDO decided to revive the Externship Program, which offers an opportunity for students to explore tentative career fields by shadowing alumni.

“It’s a program for students that are exploring, who maybe don’t have a really good sense of what they want to major in, [or] what they want to do with their lives and it’s also to give students who don’t have experience an easy way to get some experience,” said Abby Trout, Assistant Director of Career Development and Exploration.

Last year, Katherine Sittig ’14 completed an externship with Margret Bogie ’76, Director of the Pharmaceutical Education and Research Institute (PERI), in Washington D.C.

“Before I did my externship, I was undecided as to whether or not I wanted to pursue an MD or a PhD,” Sittig said. “By doing the externship, I was able to talk to people in the pharmaceutical industry and hear what they had to say about getting a PhD in Chemistry and going on to do synthetic research. It helped me understand what someone who has a PhD in Chemistry might do and therefore it helped me figure out where I wanted my path to lead.”

Morina Vongsa ’14, another past participant, went to Thailand to explore her interest in the Southeast Asian culture. Her advice to this year’s applicants is to be real.

“You don’t have to be the perfect applicant; this is not about perfection,” said Vongsa.

Trout was thrilled with last year’s successes.

“[Last year’s externs] all have really positive experiences from the program. A lot of them either got the clarity they were looking for or got a tangible thing—an internship, a job, picked a major—because of this program.” Trout said. “The program will help students clarify how they’re using their classroom experience and just give younger students more of a chance to have experience to talk about to get them that next thing that ultimately catapults them into a very successful career path.”

The application instructions and materials can be found on the Grinnell webpage under the CDO section. Students will also find this year’s list of hosts, their fields and their locations on the website. The deadline to apply is Wednesday, February 13 at 11:59 p.m.

Students have the choice of participating in externships domestically in locations such as the District of Columbia, Minnesota and Hawaii, and internationally in China and Thailand. Everyone is encouraged to apply, but priority will be given to first and second years.

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