Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Entry 6/Final Entry
First of all I would like to thank student intern, Rachael Jahr and SCSU Career Service Center for having me write about my internship experience. It has been my pleasure and I hope students looking for an internship find this helpful. Good work Career Services!
Now coming down to my final entry, I would like to summarize my internship experience in the next few sentences. Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making was my main goal as I started my internship. I focused on selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things. One of the challenges was to use logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems. I believe I gained what I wanted out of my internship experience. I had a real world experience of my future job that I anticipate to have and currently working towards. I learned skills that were not taught by teachers that you gain at real work settings.
I believe having an internship is always beneficial and that sets you apart from most applicants for any job you will go for down the road. Personally, I feel juniors and seniors should focus on looking for an internship. To get started, SCSU Career Service Center (CSC) is the best place you can go to. I recommend my fellow friends to have their resume and cover letters ready and have those critiqued by the staffs that are at the CSC. Also learning and researching about the particular internship job duties, company goals and even scheduling a tour of the company is highly recommended. Learn about the interviewing techniques and master all the tough interview questions that you might possibly get. Again going through the mock interview process at CSC will help you a lot.
Good Luck !
This week at my internship site, I focused onselecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning new things. One of the challenges was to use logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems. With hands-on experience and the training my supervisor guided me with, I gained insight. Basically, I was working on the computer doing data entries. I read source documents such as weekly reports, daily and monthly reports, or individual test results, and then entered the data in specific data fields for subsequent entries, using keyboards or scanners. Data entry requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks. It also requires being reliable, responsible, dependable, and fulfilling obligations. I believe I learned to pay extra attention to detail and dependability.
I compiled reports on chemical inventory, Minnesota Department of Health’s- chlorine, bacteriological and turbidity report, distribution report, Sauk river report, Fedrich Park project report for the city, processed control logs and completed Quality Assurance (QA)/ Quality Control (QC) procedures on various laboratory equipments. I learned to analyze information and evaluate results to choose the best solution and solve problems at the same time while communicating with people outside the organization, representing organization to consumers, the public, government and other external sources. I also provide information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person which helps me improve both my written and spoken communication skills.
I would like to divide my internship experience from last week in to following categories:
Research: The Environmental Studies Student Research Group at St. Cloud State University is a small but intense research group for undergraduate students interested in the field of environmental studies. As a co-leader of the group, I am currently working on a research project, ‘City of St. Cloud Water Treatment Processes and Chemical Analysis’. For my research, I am collaborating with the city and my internship at local water treatment facility was supportive enough to let me use the laboratory for my analysis. I utilize the lab at my work to run tests after hours and utilize research books in the lab as my references. My supervisor is always there to help me and is excited to see the outcomes of my results of the research which will be presented at the Research Colloquium in April 2010.
Network: I had a chance to attend a retirement gathering for one of the employees at the Water Plant, I get to do a casual conversation with the people from several other departments within the plant. I shared my experiences, education and my future goals. People at the gathering were friendly and were interested to learn more and some even offered me a career path they think I will best fit in.
Community Involvement: Tuesdays at water plant are called ‘sampling day’, where my supervisor tours around the businesses and houses around St. Cloud collecting water samples and bringing them back to the lab and running tests on them. Last week I had a chance to go with my supervisor. It was interesting to be out and do something different. People in the community would welcome and sometime comment about the water quality issues. I toured around the city and was able to get myself familiarized with the city and the neighborhood.
Moving on with the internship experience at the water plant, last week was a little more busy than past two weeks. Maintaining water quality to the residents of St. Cloud and St. Augusta is a challenge! With the spring coming, spring runoffs have started. During the spring, you may find that the color, smell and taste of the water changes due to spring runoff. The water quality remains excellent during this time and is safe for all to use and enjoy for the residents. Spring runoff refers to the high water flowing in rivers and lakes when warmer temperatures cause the snow to melt. The higher than normal water levels can cause flooding in low-lying areas. The water from these flooded areas and from melting snow carries extra organic materials such as leaves and grasses, as well as mud and silt stirred up by increased water flows. Everyone at the water plant seems concerned and I get to learn the important steps in this kind of situation.
Some of the new skills I was interested in and was able to do were: interacting with computers, updating and using relevant knowledge, documenting and recording information, inspecting equipments, evaluating information to determine compliance with standards and processing information. I have learned to listen and understand the processes and procedures from the beginning of the treatment process to the final end product; clean drinking water. As an intern, I believe it is very important to listen to your supervisor and do things the way he wants you to do, but never hesitate to offer a better solution if you have any. Coming early and leaving late might be one strategy to improve your relationship. I make sure that tasks are proceeding on a timely basis.
I have been learning the new ways of doing things by taking notes and watching the right way to perform efficiently and effectively. Second week at work, I was toured around the water plant, did some paperwork to get enrolled in the city system, visited other employers at their work station, introduced myself, and basically got familiarized with the plant and other employees. Some of the basic laboratory procedures that I learned are:
1. Report all accidents regardless of how minor to your supervisor.
2. Clean the lab bench top and your glassware.
3. Use goggles and lab aprons
4. Upon completion of work, wash and dry all equipment, your lab bench and your clean-up area
5. Follow the safety guidelines in case of accidents
6. Always ASK questions if unsure about anything/procedure
Written and oral communication skills are very important in today's high-powered workplace, but employees must also be able to use modern technology to communicate. The technologies most often used for communication are voice mail, E-mail, fax, and word processing. I now utilize communication means and technologies to maintain open interaction with my supervisor and other co-workers. Although workers need to develop skills in communication and technology, obtaining the job is the first hurdle. And the process of getting a job is grueling. Competition is stiff. Almost all the recruiters resort to "eye scanning" a resume, skimming it to find the key words related to the position and power words that indicate the applicant is capable and hardworking—words like "adaptable, innovative, problem solving," and skills like "oral communication, ability to delegate." The managers in a hurry want one-page resumes. Recruiters and personnel managers also have preferences about paper, format, even font. Employers focus on teamwork, flexibility, and communication. It was very important for me to do some research about the field and program I was enrolled in. After completing my research I went to an interview and gave it my best shot!
The internship position at the local water treatment facility opened on May 2008. This position was for a laboratory assistant and was posted on the ETS department bulletin board. I made a copy of the job description and prepared a resume and had it proof read several times before I mailed it to the employer. With my previous lab experience, educational background and eagerness to work as an intern, I researched through the books and internet about water treatment and went through the interviewing process. Before the interview I did a little homework and researched the company and the position, as well as the people I will meet with at the interview. I reviewed my work experiences. I was ready to support past career accomplishments with specific information targeted toward the companies needs. Basically I had my facts ready! During the interview I related my answers to the interviewer and the company. I focused on achievements relevant to the position.
As an Environmental Studies major, my future goal is to provide quality drinking water for the people of Nepal. I want to prepare myself for the work that I want to accomplish in the future. My goal is to establish a surface water treatment facility in Nepal. My immediate future goal is to continue on my studies and do research on water quality. This intern position has been very helpful and the knowledge and experience that I have gained from this experience will be very useful in my field of study.
Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making was my main goal as I started my internship. I focused onselecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things. One of the challenges was to use logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems. With hands-on experience from the first day at work, I gained the insight and with the help of my supervisor, I started learning new things.
I learned things by taking notes and watching the right way to perform efficiently and effectively. First week at work, I was toured around the water plant, did some paperwork to get enrolled in the city system, visited other employers at their work station, introduced myself, and basically got familiarized with the plant and other employees.