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UD summer interns score high in self-initiative and communication

A total of 47 University of Dallas students participated in the Career Services internship program this summer, working in fields ranging from finance, law, politics, public policy, oil and gas, non-profits and media.

The participants, about two-thirds rising seniors, worked in a wide range of industries, but the most popular sectors were government, finance and non-profits, particularly education and pro-life organizations.

The students earned up to three credits towards their degree by completing weekly journal entries, a performance evaluation from their supervisor, and an overall report of their experience.

The supervisor evaluations and reports from the interns revealed a deep understanding of business issues, strong communication skills and self-initiative, said Internship Coordinator John Christensen.

“UD students are especially good when it comes to communication and serving: They don’t have to be told what to do,” Christensen said.

Gonzaga Gutierrez, a senior economics major, worked for his second year in a row at the Federal Reserve in Washington, D.C., alongside interns from Princeton, University of Virginia and University of Pennsylvania.

He helped senior staff in the banking and regulation division of the Federal Reserve to implement rules surrounding the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, a bill passed to regulate the banking industry after the financial collapse of 2008.

Besides having the opportunity to meet Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, Gutierrez said he learned extensively about the financial sector during his internship.

“It’s not the most beautiful thing in the world, and it has a lot of things that need to be fixed,” he said about the industry. “But it really fascinates me.  I now really understand how it works.”

The Fed in Washington, D.C. hired Gutierrez back this summer after his good performance during the summer of 2010. Originally, he entered the internship program through the online application process and the help of a contact who worked in the Fed. He hopes to be hired by the Fed after graduation in May 2012.

Junior politics major, Jonathan Wolfe, also worked in D.C. this summer writing letters, taking down constituent concerns, and giving tours of the U.S. Capitol on behalf of freshman U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR).

The toughest part of the job for Wolfe consisted of giving a Capitol tour to a “very energetic” five-year-old girl who would sprint in the opposite direction whenever he would enter into a room of the building

During his internship, Wolfe witnessed the historic vote in the House of Representatives to raise the debt-ceiling in early August and also had the opportunity to sit in many congressional hearings and briefings.

His liberal arts education proved to be key in the job.

“The University of Dallas really teaches you how to write well, and that was one thing that differentiated me from the other interns,” Wolfe said. “My supervisors were really impressed on how well I could write letters on behalf of my senator.”

The internship program continues for the fall and spring semesters of the current academic year.  For Christensen the one element that needs to improve is student participation in the program.

“I just wish more students would get involved,” Christensen said. “Career Services is trying to promote it a little bit more so that more students will get involved.”

Most students found their internships either because they knew somebody back home who arranged a job for them or because they took the initiative to apply to a particular internship program and made it in, according to Christensen.

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