First-year undergraduates are often faced with a double-bind: the need for professional experience in order to gain professional experience. Compounding this challenge is the fact that when vying for summer internships, first-years find themselves in competition with more experienced sophomores and juniors.
Recognizing this unique situation, the Career Center established First-Year Internships at Duke, a competitive program that matches first-year students with project-based internships throughout the University and Medical Center.
Now in its 9th year, the program offers 35 students substantive, project-based professional experiences within 21 departments and offices across Duke. As you read this, these students are engaged in planning major events, creating a documentary film, developing a marketing plan, as well as working in public relations and videography. Over the years, interns and their mentors have developed several permanent Duke programs.
There are many benefits for participating in this program. By taking on a substantive project, First-Year Interns gain skills and experience they can market to future internship managers and employers. Students in the program also begin to gain clarity around their professional preferences: the kinds of work functions they enjoy, the work environments in which they thrive, their management styles they prefer, and more. Many also report a greater sense of connection to Duke through the experience of working closely with their project supervisor/mentor. Additionally, through early exposure to professional environments, students gain an understanding of professional etiquette and office culture while honing transferable professional skills like communication, research, planning, interpersonal relations, organization, decision-making, and time management.
"My first year internship at the Fuqua School of Business was one of my semester's highlights. The internship experience was as real as any job I've ever had, only unlike my jobs my decisions during the internship were affecting hundreds of people around the world. In addition, the contacts I made at Fuqua have already influenced my Duke career for the better." --Kenny Gould, former First-Year Intern.
For more information, please visit: http://studentaffairs.duke.edu/career/programs/first-year-internship-program
Program and Marketing Coordinator
Duke Career Center