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Foster McKay
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Alyssa Jalowicz

Liberal Arts Major(s): Psychology
Minor: Spanish
Hometown: Wayne, NJ

How did you learn about this opportunity?

At the start of the 2017-2018 academic year, I was eager to acquire a summer internship that would equip me with valuable, hands-on experience within my desired career path. To do so, I sought out the help of the Liberal Arts Career Enrichment Network, where I met with Susan who was enthusiastic to help. At the meeting, we reviewed and strengthened my resume in order to ensure that my experiences and accomplishments from my time at Penn State were best showcased to employers. Upon revising my resume, I searched on Network Simplicity (now Nittany Lion Careers) for internship listings, as well as other job boards such as Indeed and Glassdoor. Eventually, I encountered an advertisement for this particular internship opportunity on a job board where I submitted my resume. After a few phone and Skype interviews, I was offered a position as an intern for the summer of 2018. Following my acceptance, I inquired about potential funding opportunities, where I learned about the Virginia Todd Chapel Executive Internship Program. This particular scholarship provides financial support to Liberal Arts students interested in pursuing careers within the business/private sector. After applying, I was fortunate to have been selected as a recipient, further solidifying my confidence in myself both as a student and as a soon-to-be professional.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

This summer, I interned at Foster McKay, a 47-year old boutique executive search firm that specializes in recruiting in both accounting and finance. Throughout my ten weeks, I engaged on numerous projects, learned about an industry I previously knew nothing about, and got a preview of what life post-college could potentially look like (rush-hour traffic and all!). In the time I spent at Foster McKay, I learned all about the recruiting industry, what constitutes a strong candidate, and how to best succeed in sales. Some projects I worked on included a business development project, in which I researched companies in the New York Metro Area; a brand recognition project, where I worked to improve the online presence of the firm; and an ongoing recruitment project, in which I contacted and recruited candidates to fill job openings. This experience allowed me to apply insights gleaned from my academic classes at Penn State as well as grow within a professional setting.

How did this experience impact you academically?

My academic courses taught me a myriad of theories imperative to success both throughout my time at Penn State and after I graduate. My experience interning at Foster McKay provided me with an outlet to apply these concepts to the real-world. Broadly, many of my Industrial/Organizational-related Psychology courses assert the importance of skills such as team, leadership, and communication for individuals pursuing careers within the business sector. Through my time at Foster McKay, I took advantage of the opportunity to cultivate these critical skills, as well as learn more about this particular field. Specifically, a large ideal at Foster McKay is teamwork and assisting others to promote the overall success of the company. In working at a small firm, I continued to improve my abilities working as a cohesive unit and contributing to a positive team atmosphere. Additionally, because a large portion of my duties involved communicating with others both within the firm and to outside clients, I improved on my communication skills and learned how to best correspond with others. Finally, this internship afforded me the opportunity to sharpen my leadership abilities through active project engagement and bringing fresh insights into the company. While my classes equipped me with knowledge necessary for my future endeavors, this enrichment experience provided me with insights that no textbook could give.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

Typically, an internship is considered a trial-run as well as an opportunity for students to learn more about an industry and job function, and ultimately decide whether a particular career path is a good fit for them. Similarly, experience in this internship equipped me with a better understanding of corporate work and recruiting. This experience solidified my interest and aspiration to continue working within the business sector, particularly, in a career related to Industrial/Organizational Psychology.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

Not only would I recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students, but I would also encourage them to seek out similar opportunities. Through my time as an intern, I was constantly engaged and learning. Going into my final year at Penn State, I now have professional experience and confidence that will help me complete my Psychology degree and pursue a career in my desired field. Overall, there are a plethora of opportunities for Liberal Arts students at Penn State. I recommend that all students take advantage of all that the Career Enrichment Network has to offer.

For more information on internships for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.
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