CDPA details new internship program

By Andrew Shull

The University announced on Monday a new program that would guarantee every student an…The University announced on Monday a new program that would guarantee every student an internship.

The question is, “How?”

Alyson Kavalukas, the internship coordinator at the Office of Career Development and Placement Assistance, said that their new, free of cost Internship Placement Program will use the CDPA’s experience and network to place students with employers.

“To the best of our knowledge, we are the only school in the country doing this,” Kavalukas said.

She said the first step in the process is to register on FutureLinks, a portal on students’ my.pitt that offers career services, and upload a resumé. Using FutureLinks, students can then register for six hour-long group sessions that will cover networking, resumés, interviewing and search strategies. Following those sessions, students enrolled in the program will have individual resumé reviews and mock interviews.

Kavalukas said the CDPA will then work extensively with students to help them find internships. To do so, she said the CDPA is “tripling” its networking efforts. The office will also offer guidance to students who are looking for the best fits for them.

Maria Felton, who is in her second year of pharmacy school at Pitt, said that she thinks the new program will be great if all goes according to plan.

“I know it’s hard to find internships in Pittsburgh with all of the colleges here,” she said.

But this isn’t a quick process.

Kavalukas said that the program guarantees placement in an internship “if [the student participants] put in the effort and come to the sessions, but the timing has to be right.”

For instance, Kavalukas said somebody who came into the office at the end of the fall semester couldn’t expect to be placed in an internship for the spring.

That time constraint worried Pitt senior Jordan Restaneo.

“I think it would be useful if it works,” he said. “It may not be plausible with a full schedule and work.”

However, Restaneo, who interned with Dick’s Sporting Goods over the summer, said that his experience interning was overwhelmingly positive. He said that interning was critical to finding a job after college “unless you have something in your sleeve that puts you head and shoulders above everybody else.”

Kavalukas said that this new effort by the University is aimed at increasing Pitt’s post-graduation placement rate from 91 percent to 95 percent this year.

According to CDPA documents provided by Kavalukas, the CDPA bases its placement rate statistics on students who respond to their post-graduate survey.

Graduates who are employed full-time, employed part-time in a position related to their undergraduate major or minor, continuing their education full-time, combining employment and continuing education, volunteering in a service program, serving in the military or delaying their career or educational plans are considered successfully placed after graduation.

For the class of 2011, 41 percent of students responded to the survey.

The introduction of this program came on the heels of another big announcement for the CDPA. The Princeton Review ranked Pitt No. 19 in the country for career services earlier this month.

Cheryl Finlay, the director of the CDPA, said that being recognized by the Princeton Review was a true honor.

“I can honestly say that our staff is absolutely ecstatic about being named in the top 20 career services programs by the Princeton Review,” she said.