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Internships lend real-world experience in spring 2023

Published on May 01, 2023

Internships lend real-world experience in spring 2023

Internship graphic

Nearly 100 Eastern Connecticut State University students completed internships in the spring 2023 semester. Students explored a variety of opportunities on and off campus that related to their fields of study and allowed them to explore future career options.

Tyler Hood ’23, a criminology major, completed his internship at the Second Chance Re-Entry Initiative Program (SCRIP) in Hartford. The program focuses on the successful re-entry into society of formerly incarcerated and marginalized individuals with trauma.

Tyler Hood '23.
Tyler Hood '23

“I pursued this internship because I have a passion for assisting others in becoming successful,” said Hood. “It has created (for me) a more rounded sense of the sociology field as well as the understanding of how a legitimate sociology business operates. ... I've been able to relate (these field experiences) to some of the topics discussed throughout my required coursework.”

Hood described the experience as “extremely beneficial” for providing firsthand insight into the fields of criminology and sociology. “I look forward to utilizing the skills and knowledge I have gained from this experience in my future endeavors,” he said.

Janine Ramirez Gutierrez ’23, a social work major, interned with the Connecticut Community for Addiction Recovery (CCAR). Throughout this internship, Ramirez Gutierrez’s responsibilities included facilitating recovery meetings, providing administrative support through data entry, promoting volunteer outreach and contacting and supporting community members both in person and through the Telephone Recovery Support (TRS) service.

“I pursued working with Willimantic’s CCAR because of how unique and different it was to me. I also didn’t realize it then, but the center has really shown me how important and needed it is for the community of Willimantic” said Ramirez Gutierrez, whose work with CCAR began as a volunteer in 2020.

“This experience added to my Eastern college experience by showing me and teaching me how I yearn to make connections with the community," she said. "It has given me another empowering reason to pursue my degree and career in social work. With everything that I’ve experienced and seen at CCAR I will continue to pursue my interest in addiction and recovery and keep an open, acceptable and teachable mind for years to come.”

Rebecca Ristow '23.
Rebecca Ristow '23

Rebecca Ristow ’23, majoring in theatre, worked with TheaterWorks in Hartford, a professional theater company. One of Ristow’s most notable experiences during this internship was her role as assistant director for the company’s production of “Queen of Basel.”

“I was lucky to be able to experience the entire rehearsal process at a regional theater company, seeing the project come to life from its first stages,” said Ristow. “This was invaluable to me as a theatre student who wants to pursue directing as a career path.”

Through this internship, Ristow pursued multiple networking connections, which led to her first professional contract with The Hartford Stage, a regional performing arts theater in Hartford. Ristow spoke highly of her internship, which “gave valuable insight into what the non-collegiate world of theatre is like and provided connections with industry professionals that have already given me a jumpstart on my career post-Eastern.”  

Nicholas Chiacchia ’24, majoring in communication, interned with Eastern TV (ETV) Sports. Chiacchia attended and captured video of the range of athletic competitions that occur on Eastern’s campus. “I pursued this internship opportunity primarily because it offered much hands-on experience in the communications field while highlighting the feats of hard-working student athletes, and gave me a chance to hone my team-building and oral communication skills within an organization."

Chiacchia said that his internship provided much more than just experience, but community and connection as well. “Working alongside the talented people that make ETV Sports possible has made my junior year much more fulfilling and rewarding,” he said.

“Over the course of attending and capturing footage of all kinds of athletic events, I have viewed this internship less like work and more like a chance to support and give back to the university. I was welcomed with open arms when I started in January, and now I feel I am a dependable part of an efficient, cooperative group of people. I genuinely feel I made the right choice in interning with ETV Sports, and I am glad to have been a part of the team that supports Eastern athletics.”

Martha Franco Quiroz '24.
Martha Franco Quiroz '24

Martha Franco Quiroz ’24, double majoring in criminology and sociology, completed her internship as a board member for Perception Programs, Inc. The nonprofit, which provides therapeutic options for local community members, had a mission near and dear to Franco Quiroz’s heart. “Nonprofits have a special place in my heart being that I was supported by them from my fourth-grade year up to my senior year in high school ... they are essentially how I was able to pursue higher education," she explained.

Through working with the Willimantic community, Franco Quiroz has gained greater understanding of how a nonprofit operates. “This experience so far has allowed me to learn more about the community and has helped contribute to my growth as a student. I've picked up on real-life skills and have been able to apply them to my courses. Through this experience I’ve developed a deeper connection and a more meaningful connection with Eastern as well as the Willimantic community,” she said.

Jacob Boutote ’24, double majoring in elementary education and history, was able to prepare for his future career as an educator through his internship. Placed at George Hersey Robertson Elementary School in Coventry, Boutote was able to gain experience in lesson planning, small group instruction and full-class instruction.

“The reason I got into education was because I am someone who loves to help people, and working with kids is something I enjoy. With both of these in mind, I decided to pursue a career in elementary education,” said Boutote. “Through my internships, I have gained experience in a classroom setting. I will be continuing with pre-student teaching in the fall, followed by student teaching in the spring.”

Meredith Sylvia ’23, double majoring in criminology and sociology, interned within the state’s judicial branch in pre-trial services. Sylvia spent most of her internship with the bail commissioner’s office, where she assisted in arraignments and diversionary programs for those who were charged with an impaired driving offense.

Melody Ochoa '23.
Melody Ochoa '23

Learning about law, community and the way the court system functions has connected many of the dots from theories taught in her criminology and sociology classes, said Ochoa. “I’ve seen situations firsthand after learning about them in the classroom," she said. "I have found that I see some of the criminological and sociological theories play out in real life. It also has shown me what we need to work on as a society and how we should go about helping those struggling with addiction and other mental health illnesses.” 

Melody Ochoa ’23, double majoring in environmental earth science and economics, completed her internship on campus at Eastern’s Institute of Sustainability. Ochoa focused on composting, working on a number of initiatives, including creating a group of students on campus who were passionate about composting and food waste.

“Every other Thursday we would collect the compost and bring it to a location off campus to add the collection to the compost,” said Ochoa. “We are promoting town wellness and community.”

While the internship has provided preparation for future career, Ochoa said the experience has provided much more than that. “This experience has created a very strong community and has allowed me to create values for myself and the institute. Being an active member of the community outside of campus has made me really understand what Willimantic has to offer. I have met so many new and amazing people throughout my internship, I am very grateful for this experience.”

To read about other internship experiences this spring, visit Merit.

Written by Molly Boucher