My Internship at PUC’s Nelson Memorial Library

Ryan and PUC’s archivist Katy at the “Visions of the Holy” exhibit.

By Ryan Chang

My time at Pacific Union College has been one of the most challenging yet informative stages of my life. The funny thing is, I actually started as a biology major when I entered freshman year in 2013, but a year later I made the decision to switch to the history, political studies and ethics major while keeping my pre-medicine program (it is doable, by the way!). One of the main components of my major, also known as a capstone, is an internship for a minimum of 90 hours. Yearning for a worthy place of work, I looked through a variety of options to choose from, such as libraries or museums in Napa Valley. After mulling over my choices, I ultimately chose to intern at PUC’s own Nelson Memorial Library, specifically in the archives. With this decision, I wanted to be able to give back to the campus, and I figured this was a great way to do so. Accomplishing this internship has been one of the highlights of my student career. Yet, it is important to mention just how this can positively benefit prospective students as well.

I interned under Katy Van Arsdale, who is probably the most understanding supervisor I have ever had. The main components of my internship concerned the honored classes that were celebrated during this school year’s Homecoming Weekend and the special “Visions of the Holy” exhibit in the Rasmussen Art Gallery. Putting together slideshows, gathering images of students all the way back to the 1940s, and researching famous artists who taught at PUC are all just a few examples of the work I did for my internship, and it imbued in me a sense of awe at all the accomplished people who have attended Pacific Union College.

A woodcut from a 1519 Latin Bible in PUC’s archival collection.

The “Visions of the Holy” exhibit was a source of immense satisfaction, as being a part of an extremely well-done exhibit is quite exhilarating. Seeing your name as one of the contributors and knowing your thoughts and ideas went into the making of an exhibit seen by hundreds of people is not easily replicated in life, and so I highly recommend all future and current students take a break from their studies and try to be a part of something bigger. Of course, being able to list an internship along with a concrete exhibit will look great on any student’s resume, but the experience that came along with it is, in my opinion, even more important.

As I graduate from PUC this year, my time at this institution has given me many memories and experiences I would not trade for the world. Without a doubt, the internship was a learning experience that was not only educational, but also provided a great work environment. There were some challenging moments, along with some unexpected ones, but overall it has given me a new perspective on how to better myself, and I know for a fact it will be a positive experience to anyone wishing to learn.

Editor’s Note: Many majors at PUC require an internship. Even if your program doesn’t require an internship, it still may be recommended for you to complete one. You can learn more about the benefits of an internship by reading our “What an Internship Can Do For You” blog post, and by browsing through the Internship category on the blog, which features several experiences from biology students who recently completed internships.

Student Internship Profile: Amanda Garcia

Amanda Garcia uses a small syringe to feed a goldfinch chick.

Amanda uses a small syringe to feed a goldfinch chick.

Meet Amanda Garcia, a senior environmental studies major. Last summer she completed her internship at the Wildlife Rescue Center of Napa County in the Song Bird Clinic. Her goal is to someday work as a wildlife conservationist at Yellowstone or Yosemite National Park.

Tell us about your internship.

 As a volunteer intern, I properly prepared and cleaned bird cages for the hatchings, juvenile, and adult song birds. I gave oral medicine to the towhees, finches, and scrub jays.

What did you learn during your internship?

There needs to be a lot of people involved in order for the Center to run smoothly. At all times, there needs to be three people at the center to feed the small and large hatchlings every 30 to 45 minutes, one person to give medicines and stitch up birds that have been attacked by cats, and one person to feed and take care of the juvenile and adult birds and help with the birds of prey. I learned the diet of different bird species, and I learned how to mend broken legs and stitch up wounds.

How did PUC help prepare you for this experience?

The Vertebrate Biology class helped me identify the different species of birds found at the Center and helped me know what habitat they can be found in, to better know how to take care of them. The Biological Foundations labs helped me to record information accurately about the behaviors of the birds so the next volunteer could continue care for the birds, and knowledge of a microscope helped me to find any worms or parasites in the fecal samples in order to give the proper medicines to the birds.

To learn more about biology at PUC, visit the department of biology website

Student Internship Profile: Alicia Bedolla

Alicia worked with injured and sick waterfowl. In this picture she is holding a domestic duck who is a pet. Wild birds are not handled like this at the rescue center.

Alicia worked with injured and sick waterfowl. In this picture she is holding a domestic duck who is a pet. Wild birds are not handled like this at the rescue center.

Meet Alicia Bedolla, a senior environmental studies major at PUC, and has worked at International Bird Rescue in Fairfield, Calif., for her internship during the last two quarters.

Tell us about your internship.

For my internship I worked at a bird center rehabilitating injured and sick waterfowl and pelagic birds. We performed regular examinations for each bird “patient,” administered medications, and did common chores to keep the facility up and running. On a daily basis, we would also have to clean a variety of fish to feed the birds.

What did you learn during your internship?

While working at International Bird Rescue, I learned so much about pelagic birds by having hands-on experience. I learned how to properly handle birds for examinations and about different illnesses/conditions certain birds are more prone to. I also learned about specific fish each bird preferred. From this experience, I learned proper techniques of administering medications and also how to hand feed sick birds.

How did PUC help prepare you for this experience?

Prior to this internship, I took courses such as Vertebrate Biology, Ecology, and Marine Science, which provided me with background knowledge on common pelagic birds and waterfowl.

To learn more about biology at PUC, visit the department of biology website.

What an Internship Can Do for You

These days getting a job after graduation isn’t as simple as having a degree. Employers are not only looking for applicants with an education, but ones who also have real world experience on their resumes. That invaluable advantage of hands-on job experience is why many of PUC’s majors require an internship experience where students take what they’ve learned in the classroom and put it to use in real life work situations.

If you’re curious why employers value this experience these days – here are some of the advantages a student gains during an internship:

  • Real time at a real job. An impressive resume isn’t full of odd jobs like babysitting. That won’t cut it. An internship lets you work for a real company, doing real work for real supervisors and customers. A resume and portfolio that showcases this kind of work signals to employers you’ve already proven yourself in the real world.
  • Improve your skill set. A classroom and textbooks can teach you a lot – but there are still some things you can only pick up while you’re doing the work for real. Supervisors and co-workers can become mentors and teachers who can show you the ropes! Take advantage of any opportunity during your internship to learn new skills or sharpen skills you already possess – it may give you a leg up over the competition once you graduate.
  • Obtain references. Work hard and prove yourself! Having people in the industry you aspire to work in vouch for you is invaluable when you’re applying for jobs out of college. ‘
  • A chance to network. The contacts you make at an internship may come in handy. You know what they say – it’s all about who you know. Someone you work with at your internship could be the reason why you get hired later on. Who knows, you might also make a good friend!
  • Figure out if the career is right for you. Interning within the industry you want to work in is a great way to see if you love it. After months of working the job day in and day out you’ll know for sure if this is what you want to do for the rest of your life, and whether or not it’s worth the considerable investment of time and money you’re making.
  • Earn money. If an internship is paid, you will earn money to put towards your school bill and other living expenses. Some internships may even include benefits.

A survey conducted by Internships.com in 2012 found that an internship might be the easiest way to secure a full-time job. Sixty-nine percent of companies surveyed with 100 or more employees offered full-time positions to their interns that year. Additionally, it’s estimated nearly 75% of students at four-year colleges and universities have completed at least one internship while in school. Internships have truly become an important part of a student’s resume.

Check back in the next few weeks for a follow up post to learn about the internship opportunities available to students at PUC!