UHV students prepare for careers through spring internships
For several University of Houston-Victoria students, their recent internship experiences have helped them gain insight into their future careers, thanks to donations and grants from local foundations.
This spring, eight UHV students were able to have real-world job experience in funded internships spanning from politics to museums, with several more students scheduled to intern at public service organizations this summer. The funding for the internships was allocated from grants and donations from several foundations and nonprofits.
“We are so delighted to see our students apply what they’re learning at UHV and contributing their knowledge for these employers,” said Amy Hatmaker, director of the UHV Career Development Center. “These opportunities are invaluable for our students and help set them up for success after graduation. Being able to get paid for their work and efforts while in these internships is a gamechanger, and we are very grateful to our donors.”
The UHV Career Development Center works to connect students, as well as alumni, with employers and help with cover letters, resumes and interview preparation. While not all UHV degree plans require an internship course, the experience can provide students with opportunities to apply those skills learned in the classroom in a work-based setting, and it helps them to begin to develop a network of professionals in their fields.
After the center previously received a grant to fund internships last year, Hatmaker was interested in providing more paid internships as many students are unable to work without receiving pay. She worked with the UHV Office of University Advancement for opportunities for funds that could be used for internships. The office was able to work with donors to help provide funding for several internships, including from the M.G. & Lillie A. Johnson Foundation, the Trull Foundation and the O’Connor & Hewitt Foundation. The funding was allocated depending on the degree path of the students and their hometowns.
Working with the Career Development Center is a great way for the university to connect with employers and learn about the employment needs of the local economy, said Amber Countis, UHV vice president for advancement and external relations. The university can help be part of a solution while also providing students with a competitive edge for when they apply for jobs after graduation.
“Our students are our top priority, and the role of an internship cannot be understated,” Countis said. “We are grateful to our generous donors who are willing to help support these opportunities for our students. These donations continue to have a positive and meaningful impact on our students, and we will continue to support our students in any way that we can.”
Christian Palacios was able to work in an internship he had wanted since starting college. The Ganado native recently graduated with his Bachelor of Science in political science in pre-law and spent several weeks this spring as an intern for U.S. Rep. Michael Cloud’s office. He was excited to hear about the internship opportunity with Cloud’s office because he wanted to gain experience in the political field.
During his internship, Palacios worked three times a week with the office and was able to speak with constituents and help with research and reporting. He also was able to work on the congressional art contest, which involved speaking and working with several school districts. He enjoyed the work and appreciated that everyone in the district office trusted him and treated him like an equal.
“Christian Palacios did an outstanding job for us during his internship,” said Mark Longoria, district director for congressman Michael Cloud. “He is a fast learner and has a great attitude. With the discipline and great attitude he lives with, I see him being very successful at whatever career he decides to pursue.”
He also appreciated the support of his professors, especially Saidat Ilo, an associate professor of political science, who was understanding of his goals and work schedule and helped him grow as a student. Palacios would like to continue working with Cloud’s office before he makes his way to law school, where he intends to study either constitutional or litigation law.
“This has been such an amazing experience that I have been wanting to do for years but couldn’t either because I didn’t have the time or money,” Palacios said. “I would like to thank the sponsors for helping me with this opportunity because this experience truly changed my life.”
UHV senior and Victoria native Consuelo Leos has spent her time since last summer volunteering with Victoria College’s Museum of the Coastal Bend. She was excited to learn there was an opportunity to turn the volunteer time into an internship, which would count as course credit. Leos is studying history and is considering a career working in museums. Being able to intern at the museum has helped prepare her for what working in a museum would be like, which she really enjoys because every day brings something different for her.
During her internship, she assisted the main curator and was able to work on two projects, including creating a digital catalog of previous displays of artifacts to add to the museum’s website. Leos also worked on a separate project where she created and organized a catalog of all the display cases and created an artifact sheet for emergencies.
“Consuela’s work at the museum has been instrumental in advancing our goal to create a publicly accessible online database of artifacts and in updating our emergency plan for artifact evacuation,” said Dr. Heather Para, Exhibits & Collections Manager for VC’s Museum of the Coastal Bend. “We are grateful to UHV and the program donors for making this possible.”
Leos appreciates that Hatmaker helped her with her internship and that her classes at UHV helped prepare her for her time at the museum.
“I feel really lucky to have had this opportunity because I know it’s something I can put on my resume,” Leos said. “This internship has helped me gain even more skills that I will need in this career, and it helped me with my school expenses, too. I am thankful for this experience.”
Those who are interested in providing or sponsoring UHV students with an internship can contact Countis at email@example.com.
The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973 in Victoria, Texas, offers courses leading to more than 50 academic programs in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as an instructional site in Katy, Texas, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.