Friday, June 7, 2013

Go Wild to Get Credit

Internships are an important part of a student’s educational process. Luckily, Anderson allows students to marry work and school with their internship-for-credit program. Find an internship you like, find a faculty member to sponsor you, fill out five minutes worth of paperwork, and you are on your way to an educational, engaging, and (in my case) enlightening semester experience.

My experience started, as most stories do, with an inciting incident. In my case, I needed a class to meet my concentration (marketing management) requirements. The problem: the spring schedule did not have a single class that would satisfy the requirement. Not one. So, I could either postpone graduation until the fall, or look into this “Get Academic Credit for your Internship!” email that I had been getting on a recurring basis for the past two years. I chose the latter. I had recently attained an internship with the marketing and graphics department at the ABQ BioPark. It was fun, and I was learning a lot in my limited hours there. So, why not get credit for the fun I was having? Why not add a few hours (10 per week) to my school schedule and call it a degree? My supervisor was happy, my graduation checklist was satisfied, and I was on my way to a cap and gown.

In my 160 hours at the BioPark, I moved alligators, saw an orangutan ultrasound, watched an elephant channel its inner Picasso, and fed a polar bear a peanut. I found out how and why we are saving the Silvery minnow, and I made a video to hopefully help other people understand too. I shot videos, edited videos, wrote press releases, designed banners and posters, researched crises, wrote crisis communication plans, and attended important meetings with head honchos. My favorite thing: I got to be a part of the welcome party for a then two-week old Chopper, our baby white rhino. Internships don’t have to be getting coffee and sorting mail. Mine wasn’t. I got three graduate concentration credits for having fun, learning things I needed to learn before I graduated, and adding things to my personal portfolio in the process. It was an intensely rewarding experience, and I would recommend it to anyone at Anderson.

Sean Anderson graduated from Anderson with his BBA in marketing.

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