Erin Berthon, MA                     Career Advisor, Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, at Chapman University

One of the most impactful experiences during your time as an undergraduate student is completing an internship. Gaining work experience is key for boosting your employability, especially as a liberal arts student. As the career advisor for Wilkinson College, it is important that I make connections with organizations and companies that can provide a great experience for both employers and interns alike.

The global pandemic has presented no shortage of challenges, raising one particularly interesting question: just what does a remote internship look like? During a recent conversation, some Wilkinson students shared with me their experiences of being an intern, both “in-person” and remote. 

Mira Eissa ‘22

Mira Eissa, Political Science Major.

Over the past year, the national law firm Higbee & Associates (based out of nearby Santa Ana), has accepted more than a dozen of our students as interns.  The internship program at Higbee & Associates is especially comprehensive, giving students an opportunity for an immersive experience working in a dynamic law firm. The internship program has eight distinct tracks: six tracks focusing on law, one on Web & Graphic Design, and one on Human Resources. This incredible internship program allows students to explore different areas of law, attracting students to experience working in an industry that they may not have thought relevant to them.

Mira Eissa ‘22 (Political Science), started off in the Higbee & Associates main office.  She explained, “I had never done a desk job for 5 hours straight as I did. It has definitely taught me a lot, and I learned so much about myself and the type of environment I could work in.  As much as I know how essential computer or paperwork is, I know that I love talking with people and working with them. The way the internship is set up is very nice, though, because you are not stuck in a cubicle but are sitting next to other interns.”

“I wanted to try it out because I had never done a desk job before, and I wanted to know whether or not this type of work would suit me,” Mira Eissa comments on her internship. 

Switching to remote internships, however, posed a new challenge for the firm.

Luke Edwards ‘21 (Political Science)  said, “Higbee & Associates has never done remote internships before, so they spent a long time figuring out how to keep internships happening in the summer remotely. They set up Zoom, and so far they have been running pretty smoothly.” Luke is

Luke Edwards ‘21

Luke Edwards, Political Science Major.

especially appreciative of the skills he’s learning as he researches copyright violations by those who use images without paying artists required permission fees. 

In-person or remote, a great internship provides the knowledge and skills required to succeed in your career with a running start. When searching for an internship, it is helpful to have goals established, a mentor, and eventually, professional connections. While following up with our students at Higbee & Associates, this is something that I found they have provided for our students. Roxy Amirazizi ’22, political science and philosophy major, emphasized her

Roxy Amirazizi Political Science and Philosophy Major.

Roxy Amirazizi Political Science and Philosophy Major.

positive experience. “I learned how to conduct myself in a professional environment,” Roxy said, “I learned how to work with amazing coworkers and heads of important businesses. While I don’t miss waking up at 8 a.m. to work

before class, I miss my time at the firm a ton. I feel like this internship really gave me the insight I needed to have into a law firm and the ways it can be run in a modern way.”

I appreciate Higbee & Associates, not only because they “Think Chapman First,” but because they think of Wilkinson College, the heart and soul of Chapman University, first. Whether our students have completed in-person or remote internships, Higbee & Associates has made it possible for our students to add a professional internship to their resumes and leave with so much more than they expected. Companies across the nation are asking themselves similar questions about how to provide remote internships and it is encouraging to see Wilkinson students rising to the occasion, facing today’s challenges as opportunities for personal growth and success. Just a reminder to check out our newsletter, This Week in Wilkinson, for all your available internship listings.