Student News

Turning Internships into Opportunities

Internships can be an enriching part of a college education, and that has held true for Bethany Hampton, a Software Engineering student in Dunwoody’s School of Engineering.   

Her current course of study — a full pivot from pursuing a degree in the medical field — is a result of the college where she was previously studying shutting down, giving her time to reevaluate her goals. 

“If I was going to have to start over, I wanted it to be something I enjoyed doing,” Hampton said.  

“I knew I liked tech, and I knew I liked building things,” she said. “I just was trying to combine my interests and landed on Software Engineering.”  

Now in her third year of the program, Hampton wasted no time in securing internships to broaden her experience. The summer after her first semester she worked for an insurance company doing software automation. Next, she took a position working for a sensor -based company in Plymouth.  

This summer she secured a position as a Software Engineering intern in Washington, D.C. for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). It is an agency created by Congress in 1974 that regulates commercial nuclear power plants, and licenses, inspects, and enforces uses for medical purposes.  

Bethany Hampton works in the Software Engineering lab in the School of Engineering.

She is excited about how this experience may help her with her career goals.  

“Eventually I think I would like to experience more of the government sector-type employment,” Hampton said. “I think this internship will be a good entry point in order to do that.”

While an internship is not a requirement for the School of Engineering, other programs of study at Dunwoody do require one as a condition to satisfy degree requirements. 

This is the case for students in the Automated Systems & Robotics (ASRO) and the Electronics Engineering Technology (ELTT) programs.  

“All ASRO and ELTT students complete internships as a part of their fourth semester in the Associate of Applied Science Degree,” Tom Zawadski, Automated Systems & Robotics instructor said.   

The program is in such high-demand that most of these students are already employed in the industry in some capacity when the eight-week internship section of the class begins. The time they spend working full-time gives them the needed hours to graduate.  

The industry connections the College and its faculty have built during the past century has paved the way for students to access the immediate jobs and great careers a Dunwoody degree makes possible. Students are also able to take advantage of these connections during the College’s career fairs, which are held twice a year. 

Students seek internship and job opportunities with Industry professionals during a recent Career Fair.

Many students who pursue summer internships are hired by — and will continue working with — that employer through the remainder of their education.   

“We change lives. Not just with the schooling, but with what comes after that,” Polly Friendshuh, Dean of Construction Sciences & Building Technology said.  

For her, it is important students find a career path that will be both a good fit and one they will enjoy.  

Polly Friendshuh, right, gives guidance to some of her students at a recent Career Fair.

“We are small enough to where we can provide that guidance,” Friendshuh said. “Students aren’t a number at our college. They never have been. They are individuals who have their own hopes and dreams. It is our job to help them realize it.”