The Catholic University of America

Sept. 16, 2014

Internships Provide Career Experience for CUA Students

Even though many Catholic University students weren’t in classes over the summer, they didn’t take a break from learning. As the days lengthened and the temperatures rose, many students spent their time gaining career experience through valuable internships and volunteer positions related to their majors. Below are four students who put their summer breaks to good use by building their résumés.
 

 
  Mike McFarland

Mike McFarland, senior
Major: International Economics and Finance
Hometown: Huntingtown, Md.
Position title: Sales and trading summer analyst at Barclays Wealth and Investment Services in New York City

What were your main responsibilities with Barclays? This summer, I worked in sales and trading, which is what most people would think of as Wall Street. My main responsibilities revolved around making the salespeople as effective and efficient as possible. As such, I was frequently tasked with preparing them for investor meetings, which included research beforehand and follow-up afterward. I made several presentations varying from stock pitches to currency trade ideas.

How did you find out about this position? I found the internship through the CUA on Wall Street group, which brings together current students and alumni working on Wall Street. After networking with these alumni, they were generous enough to offer me advice and a referral, which is the key to obtaining a first-round interview.

How did CUA prepare you for the position? Without the connections that I made through CUA, it would have been impossible for me to obtain this internship. The people I met prepared me for my interviews and gave me invaluable insights into the industry, which gave me an advantage over other interviewees.

What did you learn? I learned a great deal about the intricacies of the financial markets, where the learning curve is very steep. One of the most important skills that I learned was how to effectively develop relationships with professionals in the field. The networking that started during the interview process became one of the most important aspects of the internship. Every day, I would sit with high-level employees and discuss the markets, while also developing a personal connection. These skills will stay with me for the rest of my professional career and will make me a more effective salesperson.

What did you enjoy most about the job? I loved the atmosphere on the trading floor. The floor is constantly buzzing, as salespeople yell their orders to their traders and people discuss the latest market development. The fast-paced environment drew me in immediately, and made my days pass in the blink of an eye, as there was always something new happening.
At the end of the summer, I received and accepted a full-time offer at Barclays, which I will be starting in July after I graduate. It's a great feeling going into senior year knowing that I already have a job.

 
Christina Heifferon  

Christina Heifferon, senior
Major: Politics
Hometown: Medford, N.Y.
Internship/position title: Student program analyst at the U.S. Department of State

What were your main responsibilities this summer with the Department of State?
I worked as a student program analyst in the Office of Information and Programming Services, which is responsible for the processing of Freedom of Information Act cases. I worked with a team that was, ultimately, responsible for declassifying and releasing Department of State documents.

How did you find out about this position?
I have been interning at the State Department since the end of my freshman year. During freshman orientation, I attended an event where the Office of Career Services was tabling and I spoke with Kathryn Marshall, associate director of career services, who told me the State Department was hiring. She encouraged me to apply and helped me through the application process.

How did CUA prepare you for the position?
Without the career services office, I probably would not currently be an intern. The politics classes that I have taken at CUA have helped further my understanding of the topics discussed and the role that the department has in international response.

What did you enjoy most about the job?
The Department of State has a lot to offer and one of my favorite things about this internship is having the opportunity to network with other professionals and challenge myself to learn about the different offices, positions, and projects that exist. Since the department is involved with so many different projects, there is always a chance to partake in events and attend discussions. In August, I had the opportunity to volunteer with the U.S. African Leaders Summit.

What did you learn? One of the most important things that the Department of State has taught me is the power of networking and getting involved in different types of projects. Every person that you meet and every event that you participate in can impact your future.

 
  Brooks Reagan

Brooks Reagan, senior
Major: Politics
Hometown: Silver Spring, Md.
Internship/position title: Parliamentary intern in London

What were your main responsibilities with Parliament? My responsibilities included responding to constituent correspondence and inquiries; researching constituency issues and providing briefings and potential questions to the Member of Parliament (MP) for motions to be put to the house; monitoring parliament activities, media coverage, and relevant legislation; and advising the MP on policy issues.

How did you find out about this position? Catholic University’s London internship program was one of the determining factors in deciding to enroll at CUA.

How did CUA prepare you for the position?
I have been privileged to have studied with excellent professors who have provided me with a strong and well-rounded knowledge base. Additionally, my part-time work in the career services office under Director Anthony Chiappetta helped prepare me for taking on a challenging position with high expectations emphasizing meeting deadlines, exhibiting sound judgment, and serving as an effective team member.

What did you learn? I learned the value of challenge. I appreciate the serious nature of high expectations, and the internship experience offered me a myriad of learning opportunities to expand my knowledge base. Working in Parliament was a defining moment in my educational journey that provided invaluable insight into the professional world and what lies beyond the confines of the classroom.

What did you enjoy most about the job? I enjoyed the fast-paced nature of the office, with deadlines to meet and a continuous connection to the constituents. No two days were ever the same and I was continually challenged. I met with constituents when they visited the Palace of Westminster and even traveled to Lincoln, U.K., to attend a surgery (a Q&A session with the Member of Parliament). I thoroughly enjoyed the work, the people, and the location. Nothing is quite like having breakfast overlooking the Thames!

 
 Stephanie Marull  

Stephanie Marull, junior
Major: Psychology, with a minor in Spanish, pre-med track
Hometown: Wellington, Fla.
Position title: Volunteer therapist at a psychologist’s office in Florida

What were your main responsibilities this summer? The main part of my volunteer work was keeping confidentiality. The psychologist trusted me with her clients’ cases and her clients trusted me with their personal thoughts and emotions.

How did you find out about this position? I heard about this psychologist’s private practice and received her contact information through a family friend.

How did CUA prepare you for the position? CUA encouraged me to find research and internship opportunities. After studying abroad in Madrid, I decided to make use of my skills with Spanish and work with a bilingual psychologist.

What did you enjoy most about the job? I enjoyed learning how to administer therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy. I learned about these therapies in my psychology classes and with my volunteer work I got the chance to walk in the shoes of a therapist and assist in administering the therapies. I also enjoyed utilizing my Spanish skills with clients who only spoke Spanish. It was a great opportunity to converse with someone who didn’t speak English and help him or her in therapy sessions.

What did you learn? I learned that I like working with adolescents more than adults. I also learned about what it takes to be a therapist in drug and alcohol rehabilitation.

 

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