Changes to summer Rome program and summer internships

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Photo by Colin Lancaster

After the shelter-in-place orders in Texas were extended for the month of April, the uncertainty of the global pandemic of COVID-19 caused the University of Dallas students to alter their plans for the summer, especially in terms of internships in Dallas and summer abroad programs.

For some students, such as junior computer science major Michael Andaloro, the social distancing rules meant searching out new summer internships which could be fulfilled remotely.

According to the University of Dallas website, a Bachelor of Arts degree in computer science requires practical experience in the computer science field, either in an internship, a research project or a large programming project.

Andaloro began applying to internships in September. When the coronavirus started posing a serious threat in the United States, Andaloro applied to more than thirty places.

Around the week of March 23, “I began to be notified of cancellations,” Andaloro said. Many of the jobs offered were on-site and could not be converted to operate remotely.

Fortunately, “a number of places are still doing remote internships,” Andaloro said.

Last week, Andaloro was interviewed through video chat for an internship with Northrop Grumman, an international defense and security company. If he is accepted, he will be able to work remotely and fulfill his computer science internship credit.

On the University of Dallas student-career platform, Handshake, only a few of the internships have been posted as canceled if they previously required an applicant’s on-site presence.

Other career platforms, such as LinkedIn or the company’s official website, should provide the most recently updated information about the jobs they are offering.

However, over two dozen remote jobs are still listed under the computer science industry on Handshake in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Handshake continues to list available jobs and internships, but they might not be updated to reflect the company’s policies concerning the pandemic of COVID-19 or to answer whether or not they qualify as essential services.

The Office of Personal Career Development is continuing to offer online resources and workshops via Handshake and the UD website to aid UD students seeking to build their careers.

Besides summer internships, other students had to adjust their summer plans after the cancellation of the Summer Rome Program.

Freshman politics and Italian major Alexa Hassell was informed of the cancellation on April 3.

By this time, “We had not been given roommates or course assignments, but we had completed all of the travel requirements [and] forms,” Hassell said.

Hassell had been waiting for a decision from UD concerning the summer study abroad program as other colleges quickly shut their programs down during March. Hassell was planning on spending most of June and July on the UD Rome campus.

“I was supposed to be in Rome for all of the summer before I came back to Dallas,” Hassell said. Hassell was going to move back onto the UD campus early since she was accepted to be a Residence Associate (RA) next year.

After the UD administration switched the rest of the spring semester to online courses, Hassell waited to see how she was going to spend her summer.

When the news reached  Hassell, it  was “comforting in a way.”

Hassell admitted that she was still disappointed. “I won’t have the joy of learning Italian in Italy or of visiting Rome for another year, but I know I will get to go someday so I’m not too upset,” Hassell said.

Following the update to the Summer Rome Program, Hassell has been applying to remote and on-site internships. The study abroad program was going to fill up most of Hassell’s summer, so she had not initially searched for summer positions.

If Hassell is unable to find a job, she plans on taking summer courses offered at UD that contribute towards her degree.

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