By: Rachel Chessky, DePaul University marketing and economics major ’16

Thank you to all who have applied for the 2015-2016 Professional Exploration Program (PEP). It was a great success! Not familiar with PEP? PEP is a one-day learning opportunity that offers students the chance to experience firsthand the life of a professional. The University Internship Program and the Employer and Internship Development Team were very proud to see how DePaul students took advantage and made the most of this opportunity.


DePaul students, Cassandra Baron and Jessica Brana, took part in PEP this year and shadowed at two very different organizations. Cassandra was given the opportunity to shadow at the Lincoln Park Zoo’s Urban Wildlife Institute with the Population Management Team, while Jessica spent the day at the Office of Congressman Mike Quigley.

They both had an excellent experience and would recommend PEP to any DePaul student. Here is what they had to say about their one-day learning opportunity:

Sneak Peek: Shadowing Lincoln Park Zoo’s Urban Wildlife Institute

Cassandra spent the day going to different nature preserves collecting hair samples, re-bating traps, collecting images taken from tree cameras and going to the lab to test the hair samples for a stress hormone as well as participated in an animal trading simulation. She was fully immersed in the Lincoln Park Zoo experience and was able to solidify that this is the career path for her.

When asked what she took away from the program, she responded, “the need and benefit of networking; I made so many great connections through this program, which will hopefully lead to an internship.” Cassandra went on to add how great PEP looks on a resume and how the experiences can help students get a feel for the career they hope to pursue.

Immersing yourself with professionals in your field of interest and witnessing firsthand their daily responsibilities will help you better understanding whether this career is truly right for you.

Sneak Peek: A Day with Congressman Mike Quigley

Jessica, on the other hand, spent her day learning about the different roles everyone plays in supporting the congressman. She also spent a lot of her time with Congressman Mike Quigley himself downtown and at different events throughout the community. While the day was busy from the very beginning, Jessica noted it was a great experience to see what a typical day looks like.

Similar to Cassandra, when asked what she took away, Jessica replied, “Networking is key!” Networking is an essential part in meeting professionals in your field who may one day offer you a job. As a result of her PEP experience, Congressman Mike Quigley offered Jessica an internship during winter and spring quarter!

If you want to spend a day shadowing someone in your field of interest, gaining new experiences, and building your network, don’t miss out on PEP! If you would like more information about PEP or scoring an internship, please reach out to us at UIP@depaul.edu.