By: Star Radzom, University Internship Program (UIP) assistant

Before becoming DePaul’s University Internship Program (UIP) manager, Erika Mercado (CSH ’16) dipped her toes into a few UIP courses herself as a student. Because of the UIP courses she took and the positive experiences she had at DePaul, she was able to discover her interest in the education industry. I sat down with Erika to gather key benefits of enrolling in a UIP course, aside from being able to cross off your Experiential Learning requirement. As the current manager of the program and fellow student participant, Erika had a lot to share

1. You’ll get help visualizing your future career: Erika said one of the reasons she wanted to work for UIP was because of a very beneficial experience she had as a student. Erika took the UIP 240 course Explore Your Career Options in her first year after transferring to DePaul. She felt it was a “great eye-opener” and allowed her to visualize future career goals. “UIP 240 helped me discover that I loved higher education and led me to pursue student jobs on campus, including front desk receptionist and peer career advisor roles,” Erika said.

2. You’ll be able to jumpstart your portfolio: Erika also took UIP 250 titled You, Your Work, and the World and enjoyed the ability to make an online career portfolio. Erika said she felt much more confident applying for jobs and going in for interviews after the class.

3. You’ll learn how to make the most of your internship or job: One of the things Erika really loves about UIP is that the program allows you to make the most of your internship or job. If you’re looking to fulfill your Experiential Learning credit, Erika said UIP is a great tool to “navigate your internship in order to stand out and make the most of the experience while developing job search tools to help you land your next position.”

4. You may just discover your career calling: “If it wasn’t for UIP and my positive experience working at DePaul, I wouldn’t have discovered that my dream job was somewhere in higher education helping out other students – you never know what you can discover through UIP and through an internship,” Erika said.

“It’s great to hear other students get excited to start UIP, and to start their internships,” Erika explained. “Having once been in their shoes myself, I understand how the process of finding and securing an internship can be stressful. But the experience you gain and the new skills you learn are worth it – and UIP is there to help!” If you have any questions about UIP orientation or enrollment, or any inquiries about the internship proposal process, Erika encourages you to get in touch with the team at uip@depaul.edu.