By Samantha Berkhead, ’14
St. Bonaventure’s Career and Professional Readiness Center (CPRC) and department of Alumni Services are working in conjunction to introduce the Alumni Internship Program.
The program originated out of a mutual desire to organize and formalize the professional connection between working alumni and current students seeking internships, according to Monica Mattioli, executive director of alumni operations.
“We wanted to tap into a resource that was always there,” Mattioli said. “Our students need internships to graduate and get jobs and our alumni want to provide professional experiences.”
Pamela Ferman, career counselor and employer relations coordinator of the CPRC, said she hopes the program will become another way for alumni to get involved with their alma mater.
“It’s a great potential resource for students, especially those who need internship hours to graduate,” she said. “It’s also a great way for alumni to give back to their alma mater.”
Senior marketing major Cody Clifford participated in the Alumni Internship Program’s pilot program last summer, completing a sales and marketing internship at Nissan North America’s Northeastern Regional Office in Somerset, N.J.
The CPRC and Alumni Services reached out to a targeted group of alumni, and in a short time Gary Frigo, ’81, regional vice president of the Northeastern Regional Office, responded with an opportunity. Students were notified of the internship through email and encouraged to apply through the CPRC, which was where Clifford discovered the internship.
“When my company announced that our Northeast Regional Office would have a summer intern, I immediately thought of St. Bonaventure,” Frigo said. “I thought it would be an excellent opportunity for a student who was interested in marketing and sales to have a month or two ‘in the real world’ and to experience the very competitive automobile industry. I know I would have loved an opportunity like that when I was at Bona’s.”
Clifford said his experience with Nissan gave him an opportunity to strengthen his understanding of how marketing works outside the classroom.
“It was really cool to work with an alum and see his career path post-Bona’s,” Clifford said. “I also gained an understanding of how complex the automobile industry is. I got to do things like examine service trends and work with customer retention and marketing infractions. I also got a lot of chances to network and meet other professionals in the field. I’m very thankful for the opportunity.”
Frigo praised Clifford’s work ethic and drive that he observed during his time with Nissan.
“Cody is very sharp, very intelligent, very driven to succeed and most of all very likable,” Frigo said. “Our entire office grew to really like him and he helped many of the managers on some key marketing tasks. It was a great experience for Nissan and for Cody.”
Ferman said the CPRC is trying to expand the Alumni Internship Program by going to various alumni events and gatherings, including a holiday break event in the Rochester, N.Y. area, and through outreach via email and LinkedIn. Many alumni have come forward with opportunities, as well.
“We’re trying to reach out to alums who are in key positions and have the clout to be able to offer these internships that will be specifically targeted toward Bonaventure students,” Ferman said.
Mattioli expressed the necessity of a thriving and involved alumni community for a program like this to succeed. “We have around 27,000 active alumni all around the world,” she said. “On the university website’s front page, we say that 95 percent of graduates are employed or in graduate school within six months of graduation. It is our responsibility to come through on the brand promise. That said, our alumni love students and will find any way to interact with them. They’re completely interested in showing them what it means to be part of the Bonnie culture. That’s why we think the Alumni Internship Program will ultimately be a success.”
For more information about the Alumni Internship Program, contact Pamela Ferman, Career Counselor and Employer Relations Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Samantha Berkhead is a senior journalism and mass communication major from Rochester, N.Y. Currently the editor-in-chief of the Bona Venture, Berkhead enjoys reading, tea, cats and creative writing.)
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