Oxy’s InternLA Program: Personal and Professional Growth (With a Paycheck)

Laura Paisley

Over the course of 10 weeks, Oxy’s signature internship program offers students real-world experience, professional development training and a chance to explore their career interests as undergraduates.

This summer, 38 professional organizations across greater Los Angeles hired more than 40 Oxy students from diverse academic disciplines to work as paid interns in a variety of capacities.

2019 marks InternLA’s sixth year, and the program has expanded impressively. Nine new employers this year included First5LA, Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and Bet Tzedek Legal Services. Returning employers included City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center, the L.A. Mayor’s office, Southern California Public Radio, the GRAMMY Museum, the Los Angeles County Natural History Museum, Council for Watershed Health and many others.

In addition to their full-time internship, InternLA participants received professional development training through weekly Impact Sessions that took place on campus and featured expert speakers from the hiring organizations. Topics ranged from business communication to global and intercultural fluency, leadership and empathy training, working effectively within a team and writing personal statements.

A closing luncheon on July 26 celebrated the accomplishments of the interns and honored the employers for their commitment to the professional development of Oxy students. Oxy Board of Trustees member Lori Hunter ’79 P’08, executive vice president at Worldwide Facilities, Inc., gave a keynote speech to more than 80 attendees.

Jamir Munoz ’20 served as a sound intern at The Independent Shakespeare Company this year. He was in charge of setting up and taking down all sound equipment before and after each performance, mixing and monitoring the live sounds used during the show, and designing sounds used in the show during the production phase.

“I gained a lot of hands-on technical knowledge about live sound equipment and mixing techniques,” Munoz says. “I also got insight into the thought processes of the creative minds behind the direction and sound design of these amazing theater productions, as well as awareness of and appreciation for the scope of the fundraising efforts necessary to support these free productions.”

Evie Wasson ’21 served as a community management intern at the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI). She was involved in organizing events and programs that seek to diversify the ecosystem of entrepreneurs at LACI and in the green economy.

“[This experience] has truly changed my life,” says Wasson. “I experienced extreme growth both personally and in my professional skills. I cultivated relationships with people that I will treasure and work to maintain. I did not know very much about entrepreneurship and the tech industry before this internship, but I have been able to go to events focused on tech and entrepreneurship, do research on these topics, and speak with company founders. I am now so interested in pursuing these fields that I am considering a minor in computer science.”

Jane Crosby-Schmidt ’20 worked as a media and marketing intern at Red Hen Press. She spent the summer publicizing book reviews and events, compiling newsletters and press releases, and developing additional marketing tactics for two newly released titles.

“I rightly anticipated that my InternLA experience this summer would be a fantastic learning opportunity for me,” Crosby-Schmidt says. “The most important thing that I will take away from my internship is an understanding of how my liberal arts education will help me in my future career, whatever that may be.

“I am still unsure of what I want to do after I graduate. As a double major in economics and media arts and culture with a German minor and an interest in the performing arts, there are a lot of different career paths that I could choose. However, my internship and my time at Oxy has shown me how to integrate different skill sets and ways of thinking into my problem solving approach and working effectively in a team.”