Here We Do: Students of Internship Plus (WQ22)

We know that not every student can afford to take an unpaid internship, which influenced our decision to establish the Internship Plus Program. This program awards up to $2,500 in financial assistance to students who have an unpaid internship opportunity and demonstrate financial need. Through this program, many students, like the ones below, have been able to gain important experience in their field of interest. Hear about it from them:

Haley Colegate interned at Arts of Life

My experience as an intern at Arts of Life consisted primarily of socializing with and assisting the artists in studio, as well as teaching weekly art history talks for virtual programming.

Choosing my favorite aspect of my internship is incredibly difficult, though I would have to say that forming relationships with the artists was definitely the most rewarding! For instance, one of the artists, Susan, sang to me a song that she had written about me, which brought a huge smile to my face. I have learned so much about each of their families, their passions, their pets—really anything that they wanted to share with me, I was happy to listen.

However, it was also hard at times. Sometimes artists would share very sensitive and upsetting events from their past with me. On one hand, I felt honored that they entrusted me with such information. However, I couldn’t help but be saddened by what I was told. When these sorts of topics came up, it helped test my skills with trauma responses and how to provide a safe place for artists to share.

As someone who is on track to become a therapist with a specialty in art, this internship at Arts of Life was a perfect fit for me.

I got to see first-hand how the creative process builds relationships, encourages independence, and provides a sense of fulfillment in these artists.

My experiences there also helped me to talk to other facilitators who worked there, many of whom are artists themselves. Meeting new people with similar interests/ career goals as myself is always beneficial.

In terms of advice, I would first recommend only interning at a place that you feel truly passionate about. If you don’t enjoy the work, the value of your experience greatly diminishes. Fortunately, Arts of Life combined two of my passions, which are special needs advocacy and art!

Without my Internship Plus award, I would have had a much more difficult time getting to and from my internship. Arts of Life is located on the west side of town and, without a car, was pretty hard to access by public transit. I am so grateful that I was chosen as a recipient, and I hope that this award will continue for others in the future!

Kendrick Bryant interned for RUN Sports

For my internship, I worked remote from home for a company in New York called RUN Sports. My official role working in the company was a mobile game developer/software engineer, and my work mostly focused on being the programmer for a mobile game.

Some of my responsibilities were handling the user interface, gameplay, and animations. What I enjoyed most about my internship were the people I got the opportunity to work with within the company. Everyone was very dedicated, enthusiastic about the project and remained motivated while working on the project to the end.

Some of my biggest takeaways from this internship were time management. During my internship, me and my group created meetings separate from our boss just so we could stay organized, and we created deadlines for ourselves to make sure we had extra development time. Everyone made sure that we accomplished our tasks ahead of time and this allowed us to have a very smooth development process.

This internship helped me get closer to achieving my career goals as it gave me more experience within the industry, more experience working with other people, and new tools to help me progress in my field.

My advice to other students would be, if you’re searching for an internship, find a project that you’re sure that you’re going to be passionate about. A lot of people get an internship, but then lose their motivation and get burnt out. If you find something that you’re passionate about, there will be less chances of you getting burnt out and bored of the project.

Being an Internship Plus award recipient impacted me positively as my internship was unpaid and required a lot of time and energy which would’ve gone into my part-time job. Receiving this award allowed me to focus more on my internship, my education and my career.

Malena Petronijevic interned at FashionBar Chicago

My internship at FashionBar Chicago in the Water Tower Place has given me the opportunity the gain a better understanding of the technical work a company needs to function efficiently. Not only did I get a finer idea of my management style, but also what I value in a work environment.

I engaged in many different parts of a business including marketing, finance, and management. Over the past few weeks I have been able to book designers for our upcoming April and October fashion shows, access and post on our TikTok and Instagram accounts, and manage mass communication emails. One of the most important and enjoyable learning lessons has been gaining a better understanding of entrepreneurial perspectives and how to eventually build something of my own.

Tony Long, my supervisor and the CEO, has structured all lessons with a common theme of applicability outside of FashionBar Chicago, which I have genuinely appreciated. My biggest takeaway in this internship has been learning about applicable work knowledge. Whether that was email etiquette, developing professional relationships, or setting boundaries, being able to learn about these rules in a work environment was very insightful.

I have also become very proud of my growing confidence inside and outside of the business. FashionBar Chicago, as a business administration major, has allowed me to reflect on what I would and would not want to apply in my management style. I hope that I can continue to explore alternative work environments but now know I work well in smaller teams.

My biggest advice for students seeking internships is to build connections with your business as best as possible. I had the opportunity to volunteer for Chicago Fashion Week back in October and because of my attentiveness then, was able to intern for them! As I continue to grow and constantly express my eagerness to learn, I have even had discussions with my supervisor regarding a potential job offer.

Do not feel afraid to ask questions. Your willingness to learn the industry will be very noticeable and influential. In regards to the Internship Plus award, the award has significantly impacted my financial stability this quarter. In December, prior to the internship, I broke my ankle in a mall shooting by falling down the escalators. Regaining my physical strength while working at an internship for free has been a unique experience! Being able to leave my part-time job was an easier experience with the award. Additionally, receiving the award was an immense honor considering my grade level and experience.

Anonda Tyler interned at Lincoln Park Preschool

My name is Anonda Tyler, better known as Nonie, and to the students I observed and taught Ms. Nonie. On Tuesdays and Thursdays , the school that I did my fieldwork hours at was at the Lincoln Park Preschool.

The school is smack in one of the busy places in the city and is a private school. This school is a dream location to me because it is right across the street from the Lincoln Park Zoo, where we always went to walk when we took the children outside for fresh air. The zoo was perfect to share intimate and angelic experiences that helped me build bonds with students more closely.

The days where I went to visit were during the school day, and typically their hours for school are 9 to 3 o’clock, where they take naps at 1pm, then wait for pick up at 2pm. I stayed from 7 o’clock till 12pm on most days and managed to get over 17 field hours.

The grade I was working with were preschoolers, who were called the 3s and 4s group. I enjoyed most visiting the zoo, and this internship allowed me to appreciate the art of play in teaching and why it is important to include multiple mediums with fine motor skills and gross motor skills activities.

This award impacted me in a good way financially, because it is very hard for my family and I to pay tuition, so it alleviated a lot of stress with worrying about proceeding in this field that I am passionate about due to not always having the resources to support that dream.

Employer Spotlight: Willie Love (Health Sciences ‘19), Howard Brown Health

The Health Care & Science (HCS) Career Community wants to introduce students to a wide range of careers. Students may be familiar with popular clinical roles (e.g., nurse, physician, veterinarian), but less familiar with jobs in healthcare data analytics, renewable energy, or biotech research.  

Willie Love (‘19 Health Sciences) is a Social and Behavioral Coordinator at Howard Brown Health serving the South Side community of Chicago. In a recent interview, Debbie Kaltman (HCS Employer Engagement Specialist) spoke with him about his day-to-day life, internship experiences, and advice that he would give to students. 

As a Social and Behavioral Research Coordinator, Willie recruits people for research projects surrounding topics in community health. He takes patients through the research activities and gathers preliminary data for researchers to analyze. His main goal is to create an environment of comfort within the research space. 

In his DePaul experience, he initially pursued the pre-medicine track but changed to focus on the community health perspective rather than the individualized perspective of health. He interned at the Cook County Jail in the Cermak Hospital, which was one of his most influential experiences. After graduating from DePaul, he worked at Baxter before transitioning into his current position. 

His advice for students interested in community health is to try everything and be curious. If you go off of your preconceived notions, this restricts you. Being curious and exploring the resources around you will benefit your career exploration! To connect with Willie and other DePaul alums, join the DePaul Alumni Sharing Knowledge (ASK) Network!

Employer Spotlight: Carlo Varquez (MS ’18) LifeStart

The Health Care & Science (HCS) Career Community wants to introduce students to a wide range of careers. Students may be familiar with popular clinical roles (e.g., nurse, physician, veterinarian), but less familiar with jobs like healthcare data analytics, health administration, or biotech research.  

Today, we highlight a certified personal trainer, certified nutrition coach, and small business owner. In a virtual interview, Debbie Kaltman (HCS Employer Engagement Specialist) spoke with Carlo Varquez (MS Exercise Physiology ‘18) to learn about his educational and career journey, insights into pursuing preventative health and fitness professions, and advice to students.

Carlo’s educational and clinical experiences in the healthcare industry shifted his perspective and career goals to focus on preventing rather than treating health issues. In the health promotion, wellness, and fitness industry, Carlos serves as a general manager for LifeStart and founder of Pride Wellness, a small business built to empower clients to invest in their overall health via online classes and coaching sessions. As a certified fitness trainer and nutrition coach, Carlos seeks to take care of other people’s health so they come to feel better about themselves, believe they’re part of something, and vision their life in different ways. He plans to keep learning to become a “master trainer” who has a well-rounded skill set and is well-known as a person who will work hard for his clients.

Carlo’s advice to students interested in preventative health, wellness, and fitness: “Invest in yourself first before you invest in others! A) It gives you credibility. You practice what you preach. B) If you’re not following the right steps to keep yourself healthy, it’s going to be hard to advise others to be healthy.”

“Take every opportunity no matter how big it may seem. If you feel like it’s the right thing in your gut, just do it. I’m a big advocate for that gut feeling. It doesn’t make sense, you don’t know why it’s making you feel this way, but it feels right at the same time. Just follow your gut and take care of yourself.”

How I got this job: Valentina Djordjevic Physician Assistant

During Spring Quarter 2021, the Health Care & Science Career Community team sat down with DePaul students to learn about the educational and career journey of DePaul alum, Valentina Djordjevic (Health Sciences, ‘16). After completing the Physician Assistant (PA) program at Rosalind Franklin University, she is now a PA-C at Able Psychiatry. Valentina shared her story of gaining research, work, volunteer, and clinical experiences while at DePaul, deciding to pursue a career as a PA, her current job responsibilities, and her future career goals. In this event, Valentina highlighted what being a PA means to her and the importance of pursuing your passions.

Words of wisdom from Valentina Djordjevic

Valentina on deciding to become a PA:

“For me it was pretty easy to be a PA because it was quick. Two years seemed pretty doable for me. It offered me the opportunity to work in multiple specialties which I liked at that time because I wasn’t exactly sure that I wanted to be in psychiatry. The GRE also seemed more doable than the MCAT for me. I also liked that there wasn’t a residency requirement for PA school. I really liked that I could get this degree and then start working right away. I wanted to stay in the sciences. I wanted to help people. I wanted to be financially independent and be able to have a good income. I think it was a pretty easy decision for me to go into the PA track.” 

Valentina on the importance of mentoring for a PA:

“A piece of advice about post-PA school is that you really want to find a job where you will be taught. There are a ton of opportunities for PAs out there, and they seem really appealing. They’re going to throw a lot of money at you, and just be careful that they don’t throw you out to the wolves because PA school is really fast. You’re getting this degree with the hope that you’ll be trained really well at your first job, but if you aren’t, you’re gonna have a huge stunt in your growth. It’s really important to have a mentor: someone that you can ask questions to, someone that is expecting you to not know what you’re doing. If it’s a good growth opportunity, that might be better than a more appealing pay stub at the end of the day because if you get good training, you can go anywhere.”

How I got this job: Nia Hurst Research Biologist

During Winter Quarter 2021, the Health Care & Science Career Community team sat down with DePaul students to learn about the educational and career journey of DePaul alumna Nia Hurst (’14). From an Environmental Sciences major to working as a Research Biologist in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Nia shared her story of getting involved at DePaul, gaining experience with research labs, and her current job responsibilities. In this event, she highlighted the power of networking because the connections she made  opened doors to so many opportunities.

Words of wisdom from Nia

Nia on building her network and maximizing connections:

“I think it’s really true that you have to expand your network and connect with people to let them know what you’re interested in. Expressing what your interests are to as many people as you can like your advisor and other graduate students. I would also really recommend going to events like conferences, luncheons, and other networking events.”

Nia on the primary responsibilities of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers:

“When there is a regional issue that needs to be addressed (e.g., wetland development to offset phosphorus pollution, mangrove forest development to alleviate hurricane impact), we conduct longitudinal research studies on best practices for that regional development project. There are a lot of different projects. It’s applied research that you do for the sake of knowledge.”

Nia on the diversity of scientific roles available in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers:

“I’m a research biologist, but we work with engineers, statisticians, computer specialists. There’s a lot of people to build out a team with, a lot of opportunities for a lot of different types of scientists.”

DePaul Career Center May Programming

We are excited to share our May 2021 programming schedule below! These regularly scheduled virtual events and workshops will help you stay on top of your career goals, gain new skills, and navigate the ever-changing job market.

Mark your calendars: The Virtual Spring Interview Day is on May 21st!

Our career advisors are also available remotely for one-on-one appointments and tailored advice.


Register for the Job Search Summit for Underrepresented Students on May 7th

Register for Spring Interview Day on May 21st


May 19: Careers in Law



May 25: How I got this Job: Lionsgate


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May 26: Preparing a Pitch Deck



May 4: Tech & Design Career Community Pop-Up Event: Playing Codenames

May 5: Case Interview Prep with Huron Consulting

May 11: Women in Business: Overcoming Challenges in the Workplace

May 12: Business Not as Usual

May 12: MCEA: Pop-Up Event

May 14: Signature Event: Explore Your Impact

May 19: HCS Community Pop-up: Healthcare Thank-a-thon

May 19: Let’s Talk Graduation: Recent Alumni Panel on Life After Graduation

May 20: Center for Sales Leadership Art of Persuasion