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The Price of Paying Attention

What a Student Safety Intern Can Do For Your Company

With the college semester beginning, eagerness is in the air as students being applying for the ever-important internship for the upcoming summer. An internship is almost like a rite of passage in the collegiate world, something the student covets. This past summer, MEMIC’s safety department was lucky enough to have an intern of its own, Jennifer DeWitt. Before she left us, I asked her to share with me her feelings on her experience, as well as her thoughts on internships as a whole:

“Interns can do so much more than filing and running copy machines, especially the interns enrolled in the University of Southern Maine’s (USM) Environmental Safety and Health (ESH) Program.

As a USM student majoring in ESH, I can speak for my fellow classmates when I say we are eager for exposure to safety and health issues outside of the classroom. This is often referred to as ‘real work,’ and it is just that.

Here is a very short list of some of the ‘real work’ interns have done at MEMIC and other host organizations:

  • ergonomic evaluations
  • hazard communication and fire safety training
  • standard operating procedure development
  • data collection using noise dosimeters and air testing instruments
  • safety & environmental standards research

Of the two internships I have held, both host organizations invited me to stay beyond the internship period to work on various projects. It’s also no surprise that some of my classmates were offered full-time regular employment from their hosts. I must mention that nearly all of these internships are paid. What a great way for industry to preview the up-coming talent pool!

As simple as it sounds, it is a nice feeling when you know you can apply what you’ve learned in the classroom to a real life situation and visa versa. Not getting that chance until after graduation always concerned me, which brings us to the main reason why I chose USM’s program- it requires the completion of an internship to graduate.”

An internship in safety and health is a real win-win. If you’re looking for more information about the University of Southern Maine’s program, contact Richard Carter, Coordinator of Cooperative Education.

I encourage you to share your internship stories with us and any potential resources you may have for making the most of the experience.

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