Saint Mary's University Campus News
By Abbie Fangman ’17
Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota strives to build confidence in students and prepare them for meaningful careers after graduation. The Career Services and Internships Office is a major player in helping undergraduate students on the Winona Campus successfully search for postgraduate opportunities.
Director of Career Services and Internships Michael Hagarty often says, “We take you from here, to career.” Whether he says this to prospective students and their families or graduating seniors, there’s a sigh of relief and sense of comfort knowing the high level of attention and support Saint Mary’s students receive. Students are encouraged to take part in internships because they act as the stepping stones from the classroom to career.
“Students who do internships get hired sooner and get paid more than students who don’t do internships,” Hagarty says “This is the number one reason to do an internship.” Another reason, he says, is that employers look for “good employees,” not just “good students.”
One student who has benefited from internships is Emily Ahart ’17, an Accounting and Finance double major. Ahart has completed three internships and has worked various other jobs throughout her time at Saint Mary’s. She has interned for Winona Knitcraft Corporation as an accounting intern, Clifton Larson Allen in Austin as a public accounting auditing intern, and Home Federal Savings Bank in Rochester as a credit analyst intern. Ahart is excited to enter the working world and the sky seems to be the limit. She already has a job offer, a full year before graduation.
Internships provide students with valuable work experience and the opportunity to foster relationships and network. Saint Mary’s vast alumni network of more than 42,000 serves as a resource for internship opportunities and connections. The surrounding communities are another great source of internships. A plethora of businesses offer students valuable experiences in Winona, Rochester, La Crosse, and elsewhere.
Winona is a convenient hot spot for internships throughout the school year. It is also rich with possibilities throughout the summer. For example, Emily Loof ’18, a Literature with Writing Emphasis and Public Relations double major, has an internship with Winona’s annual Great River Shakespeare Festival. Also staying amid the bluffs for the summer is Bill Arvinius ’17, an Accounting major who is part of Saint Mary’s Polish exchange student program and interning with Wells Fargo.
Summer is also an excellent time for scientific research and field work. Maetzin Cruz-Reyes ’17 has had the opportunity to investigate many of the directions she can take her Biochemistry major, including cell biology, molecular biology, and inorganic chemistry. Last summer Cruz-Reyes studied cell biology at the Hormel Institute, concentrating on cancer cell research.
This summer she is taking a different approach to cancer from a molecular biology perspective at the Gundersen Medical Foundation/Kabara Cancer Research Institute. Cruz-Reyes is also working on three semester-long research project focused on inorganic and organometallic chemistry, under the direction of Saint Mary’s Brett Bodsgard, Ph.D.
With the support of her professors—and her own drive and passion for science—the internships she has obtained have enriched her time at Saint Mary’s and have provided her with “lots of hands-on experience and helped me decide what path to follow for graduate school.” After graduate school, Cruz-Reyes plans to become a scientific researcher.
Hagarty says that one of the things he loves most about students’ internships and career-exploration opportunities is hearing the stories that come from the experiences. Internships, he points out, provide real-world learning, exploration of interests and abilities, and the opportunity to cultivate relationships and network before graduation.
For more information about internships available to Saint Mary’s students, visit the Career Services Office.