The Daily Gamecock

Program offers internships for scholars

Capstone partners with Career Center, connects students with community employers

The Capstone Scholars Program is partnering with the Career Center to offer a new benefit to its students.
The Capstone Community Internship Program has been recently developed to provide internship opportunities specifically for freshman and sophomore Capstone Scholars.
Funded by Capstone and facilitated by Career Center’s services, the program will help scholars prepare for and secure paid summer internships, according to David DeWeil, assistant principal of the Capstone Scholars Program.
“I’m really excited for the students. As much as the university talks about outside of the classroom education and experience, this is meeting that need in another way,” DeWeil said. “I think for current Capstone Scholars and for prospective students, it’s another great way to build someone’s employability to make them a strong candidate for when graduate.”
According to DeWeil, students will work 240 hours for 12 weeks over the summer, and Capstone will match the employer’s funding for students’ pay to equal at least minimum wage.
Depending on Capstone’s funds available for the program, which are still being determined, the program will sponsor internships for a minimum of four students, DeWeil said.
Beyond the funding aspect, the Capstone Community Internship Program will operate essentially the same as the Career Center’s general Community Internship Program.
“What we’re doing is remarketing this as an exclusive Capstone opportunity,” DeWeil said. “Any student can go to the Career Center and apply for internships. What we’re doing is saying we’re going to carve out a certain number for Capstone Scholars. And marketing it that way, it seems like students take advantage of it more when it’s kind of more of a specialized opportunity.”
The Career Center will do most of the “legwork,” DeWeil said, including helping students make employer contacts and prepare for interviews, providing a training session for students after they’ve been hired and before they begin work and providing a follow-up workshop in the fall.
Carly Edwards, a graduate student of higher education and student affairs who is helping take the lead on the implementation of the project, said she likes seeing the collaboration between Capstone and the Career Center to cater to the educational needs of the Capstone student population.
“Students feel more comfortable accessing and utilizing those resources within a known community,” Edwards said.
To be eligible for the Capstone Community Internship Program, students must be freshman or sophomore Capstone Scholars, set up a JobMate profile and attend an information session on Feb. 21.
DeWeil and Edwards said Capstone students have already received preliminary information about the program encouraging them to begin the internship-seeking process using JobMate and the Career Center’s preparation resources.
Employers will be informed about prospective students by the first week in March, they said, and students can then begin applying for the internships through the Career Center. Students should know of their internship status by mid-April, in time to complete the Career Center’s “Realities and Rewards” training workshop which will prepare them to gain the biggest benefit from their workplace experience.
The majority of the funding for all Capstone Scholars programs, including the Community Internship Program, is provided by the $100-per-semester fee that Capstone students pay, DeWeil said.
The new internship program will complement special services already being funded by Capstone, including special study abroad and research grants for scholars.
“It’s a way to make our Capstone students have more special opportunities just for them,” DeWeil said. “We use our funding to be able to carve out additional grants for Capstone Scholars, because many offices just don’t have the budget to fund as many as we want. So we throw in some money and create a special marketing plan just for Capstone students.”
DeWeil said the special grants and programs are draws for potential new students and their parents.
“If we just said, ‘Hey, come to USC and live in a building’ — you know, that doesn’t really matter,” DeWeil said. “It’s the educational experience behind it. Making students feel like they belong, that they have someone to talk to no matter what; that’s what makes them attracted to this program alongside the opportunities.”