Internships are lighting the way for our students’ future, offering them the opportunity to learn the job application process, try out a potential career path, and even help them land their first job!
By Claire Kowalchik P’22
Career readiness is part of the promise of the Moravian University experience. Moravian students develop the skills that employers look for in job applicants, including proficiency in communication, critical thinking, leadership, teamwork, inclusivity, and the use of technology. Internships take these skills to the next level, honing them in the workplace, and they can launch a student’s future career success.
“Internships give students the opportunity to enhance their communication skills and interactions with others and apply what they’ve learned in the classroom to a job, but they are also the best way for a student to gain clarity on a career field before committing to it long term,” says Kathleen Barr, director of career development. Internships offer students a chance to try out different work environments to see what fits best. “I recommend students try a couple of situations—a small nonprofit feels very different from a large corporation,” adds Barr.
Students earn course credit or payment for their work, or sometimes both. In the case of a nonpaying opportunity, stipends are available through the generous gifts alums contribute to the Alumni Sponsored Internship Stipends fund. “I received stipends for my internships at Humanitarian Social Innovations and New Hope Integrated Behavioral Health Care,” says Madison Van Duzer ’22, who is working toward a career in the nonprofit sector (see her story below). “These stipends allowed me to focus on my internship experiences so that I could give more hours to these organizations rather than take on a part-time job.”
Van Duzer’s and other students’ internship experiences show just how valuable these opportunities are to their future.
Madison Van Duzer ’22
A Passion for Nonprofit
Moravian’s 1742 Experience—a week of volunteer work before first-year orientation—sparked Madison Van Duzer’s interest in the nonprofit sector. During her sophomore year, Van Duzer was intent on getting a full-time summer internship with a nonprofit organization, but by the end of that academic year, COVID forced the world into lockdown. “It was devastating,” she says, “but I wanted an internship, even if it meant that my experience would be virtual.”
Van Duzer reached out to Barr, who pointed out an opportunity with Humanitarian Social Innovations (HSI), an organization that provides needed back-end support to nonprofits, allowing them to focus on their goals and maximize their impact. “At HSI, we connected with different organizations to create resources on online platforms that they could use,” says Van Duzer. “I learned the importance of donor management, organization, communication, marketing, and creativity in coming up with ideas for fundraisers and resources. I was pushed out of my comfort zone and challenged to think in new ways.”
The internship with HSI boosted Van Duzer’s confidence and motivated her to reexamine her career path. A psychology major, she thought she would become a counselor, but the HSI experience showed her a different direction.
She searched for other internships with nonprofits that would be in person, and she discovered Oasis Community Center, an organization that supports and educates families who have lost a loved one to substance abuse and those whose lives are negatively impacted by someone’s active addiction. “Their mission resonated with me deeply,” says Van Duzer, who served as an intern at Oasis during the fall semester of her junior year and received course credit through the psychology department. “I was able to participate in outreach by going out into the community. It was an amazing experience.”
Van Duzer’s nonprofit work didn’t end there. The summer before her senior year, she interned at New Hope Integrated Behavioral Health Care, which offers residential and outpatient treatment for people struggling with addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders. “I was always interested in pursuing substance-use counseling, so I decided to intern there to gain some exposure to the field.”
During that summer, Van Duzer reflected on her internships and the civic engagement work at Moravian and saw a passion for working in the nonprofit sector. “I want to pursue a life and a career that is dedicated to helping others.”
This month, Van Duzer has begun an almost yearlong commitment with the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) in Aurora, Colorado. She and other team members will be engaging in a variety of service projects for several nonprofits in the Southwest. Van Duzer hopes to go to graduate school someday, but for now, she’s very excited about AmeriCorps and whatever the future holds. “I cannot wait to see what opportunities and experiences lie ahead!”
Jacob Fried ’22
Headed for Human Resources
Jacob Fried ’22, a business administration major with a focus on organizational leadership, needed an internship to get into Moravian’s graduate program in human resources. He saw an opening at the Mountain Creek Resort in Vernon, New Jersey, near his home, walked in one day, and asked to speak with someone in the human resources department. “I inquired if they had an opportunity in project management,” says Fried.
They offered him a paid full-time internship in the team logistics department—a branch of human resources—for the summer of 2021. In his role, Fried updated databases with new employee information, used enterprise resource planning systems to track attendance and scheduling, gathered payroll data, screened applications and résumés, and scheduled team member shifts.
“I learned how to work with different leadership styles and use interpersonal skills effectively, and I saw how much a shared vision can propel a company on the pathway to success,” says Fried. “This opportunity gave me my first real-world experience in my field, and it made me hungry for more.”
The next real-world experience came about serendipitously.
Moravian University trustee Thomas Ike ’90 invited the Blair family to tour Moravian’s campus. Ike is executive vice president at Lutron Electronics, and Ed Blair is president at Lutron. Blair’s son was in the midst of his college search. Having served four years as a tour guide, Fried was asked to show the group Moravian’s campus.
“It is customary at the beginning of a tour to share your major, three roles on campus, and what career you plan to pursue. I mentioned that I would be going to graduate school in the fall for human resources,” says Fried. “At the conclusion of the tour, Tom and Ed gave me their business cards. I sent Tom my résumé, and he asked HR to send me a co-op application.” Unlike internships, which are generally part-time, a co-op is a full-time paid position.
The summer after graduation, Fried started with Lutron in the human resources department helping streamline operational procedures and updating training material for other departments. That co-op will hopefully transition to a full-time job supporting employees through Lutron’s benefits department. As for graduate school, Fried will complete his master's in human resources in May of 2023.
“I’d love to go into recruiting,” says Fried. “Supporting people, helping them get through something, and seeing them develop—that’s where I want to be.
“And I couldn’t have achieved all of this without Moravian.”
Jillian Ferrara ’21
A Crusader for Justice
Toward the end of her junior year, political science major Jillian Ferrara received an email from Christina Haddad, professor of political science, with an internship posting from the Lehigh Valley Justice Institute (LVJI), an independent, nonpartisan research, policy, and advocacy organization. “It seemed to really align with my personal values and academic interests,” says Ferrara. “A former Moravian classmate of mine worked at LVJI, and I asked her about the position.”
Ferrara was offered the internship, which ran from June through August of 2021. The position was unpaid, but Ferrara received course credit and a stipend from the Alumni Sponsored Internship Stipends fund for students participating in unpaid or low-paying internships. “This was extremely helpful in allowing me to spend my summer focused on my work with LVJI,” she says. “I’m really thankful for the generosity of the Moravian alumni who provided me with financial support during my internship.”
Ferrara served as a qualitative data researcher. She investigated various issues, policies, and solutions pertaining to the criminal justice system in the Lehigh Valley. “Specifically, I spent time researching successful youth diversion programs across the US that are meant to help divert at-risk youth from formally entering the justice system and help end the school-to-prison pipeline,” says Ferrara. “Additionally, I researched various reentry programs across the nation and their impact on recidivism rates.”
She observed the Northampton County Drug Court, and she had opportunities to speak with a variety of people associated with the justice system—formerly incarcerated individuals, judges, and state representatives—to learn more about the criminal justice issues plaguing the Lehigh Valley. “My internship also provided me the opportunity to give back directly to the Lehigh Valley—the very community that fostered my intellectual growth and development during college, which made for an incredibly meaningful experience.”
Ferrara’s biggest project culminated in the publication of a 22-page report, “Governmental Disclosure on Use of Force Data.” It discusses police misconduct and the use of excessive force in the United States as well as the public’s demands for governmental agencies to be more transparent about police use-of-force statistics.
“Our report advocated for the creation of more city, county, or state-wide public databases that track police use-of-force incidents,” says Ferrara. “We argued that making this data publicly accessible would promote greater transparency, safety, and accountability within law enforcement agencies and, in doing so, foster a stronger sense of trust between police and the communities they serve.” The report, which was published on LVJI’s website, was also shared with every police department in the state of Pennsylvania for review. (You can find the full report at mrvn.co/lvji.)
“My internship at the Lehigh Valley Justice Institute helped me gain hands-on experience and allowed me to apply the knowledge and skills I developed at Moravian in a real-world setting,” says Ferrara, who is currently working as an academic tutor while she studies for the LSATs and prepares to apply to law schools.
Though she doesn’t know specifically what career she will pursue, the internship confirmed her desire to find her place in social or criminal justice. “Being involved in the work at LVJI deepened my passion for helping fight against inequitable laws and policies that undermine basic human rights in our society. I am considering becoming a lawyer, potentially in civil rights or public-interest law, but I think I’d also enjoy being in some form of public policy research, advocacy, or education work. Regardless, a law degree will be beneficial in all the careers that interest me. As I learned from my internship at LVJI, being informed on how our justice system works is key to being able to effect meaningful change within it.”
Ben Walek ’22
Majoring in economics and political science, Ben Walek thought he might pursue a career in finance. Then he happened upon something more interesting.
In the spring of his junior year, Walek searched LinkedIn for a summer internship and saw that Samsung offered one in finance. He applied, but the position had been filled. The hiring manager was impressed with Walek’s résumé, however, and asked if he would consider a different position—a product management role. “I didn’t know much about it,” says Walek, “but I took it and ended up falling in love with it.”
As a B2B product planning intern, Walek supported the software side of Samsung’s business. “As a product manager, I got to work with engineers, the finance team, sales, and marketing.” Contrast that with finance where, as Walek puts it, “you sit on Excel all day.”
The role drew heavily on the communication skills that he learned at Moravian and for which he is grateful. “At a smaller school like Moravian, you know how to reach out to other people because you have to—you’re often working on group projects and collaborating with peers. In my classes, I’d be with 15 other students having group discussions. Playing a sport also helped because you have to communicate with others.
“Every manager and VP I’ve worked with has complimented me on my soft skills—being a good communicator, empathetic, and mature,” adds Walek. “People had no idea I was 22.”
Come August, Walek’s supervisor transferred over to the mobile team and asked Walek to join him. The position would entail working more with hardware than software. Walek made the move and worked part-time for Samsung throughout his senior year. He found he enjoyed this side of the business even more than the software side. “I worked with the Mobile Product Management Team to launch our latest smartphones, including the S22, S22+ and S22 Ultra.” He learned how to put together competitive analyses, how to build out specification sheets, how to take products to market, and how to forecast sales, making sure the product is marketed correctly while hitting the market price achievement goals and trying to hit the stretch plan at the same time.
“The experience was immeasurably valuable. I learned how to adapt to the corporate world and the pace of working in the tech industry and how to work under tight deadlines while providing meaningful data, projects, and insights to executive leadership,” says Walek. “Perhaps most important of all, I figured out how to create balance between a demanding, high-pressure job and my personal life.”
And the final reward of these internship experiences—Samsung offered Walek a full-time job. In August, he moved to the company’s Dallas office.
Brendon Ward ’24
Digging into History
As a freshman, Brendon Ward, a student of history and anthropology, was eager to jump right into an internship. He researched local history opportunities and discovered that the National Museum of Industrial History, a Smithsonian Institution affiliate in Bethlehem, was looking for an intern to serve as an archivist. “I wanted to gain experience early in my undergraduate career, and I found this internship the most interesting,” says Ward.
During the summer of 2021, he cataloged donations to the museum into the online database, maintained the proper temperature of the exhibits, and helped prepare the museum for the 1876 World’s Fair Weekend, June 11–12, 2021, during which pieces from the Centennial Exhibition were on display and reenactors spoke about that period in history. Ward assisted in creating the pamphlets for the kids’ activity area, and during the weekend, he worked that space, interacting with the younger visitors and engaging them with the event.
“This was a valuable experience for me since I am interested in going into the field of archaeology,” says Ward. “The curator, Andria Zaia, studied archaeology and gave me many helpful tips and insights about archaeology and museum curation.” Ward learned about the processes that take place when artifacts are taken off-site and how curators set up exhibits. He witnessed digitization of photographs, which makes them accessible to the public, and he learned about the planning involved in creating an event that would draw the public.
Ward has been working with the museum since the summer of 2021 and plans to continue his involvement with the organization. Looking ahead postgraduation, Ward has his eye on graduate school in archaeology and believes his internship will boost his credentials. “I think that this experience enhances my candidacy for graduate school since it displays my dedication to gaining experience in archaeology and museum curation.”
Not to mention that the National Museum of Industrial History has been very pleased with his performance.