Flashternships Illuminate the Path to Student Careers

Kent State freshman Elena Neoh Ern Hui knew that she wanted to major in business, but it was not until she participated in the Flashternship program last spring that her career path became crystal clear.

The Career Exploration and Development department arranged a Flashternship for Ms. Neoh Ern Hui at FedEx Custom Critical, and that is what guided her to the field of human resource management.

“The Flashternship was enriching, as well as mind-opening,” Ms. Neoh Ern Hui wrote via email. “I believe that experience is the best teacher – thus the rotational position was one that I did not regret being a part of.”

Career Exploration and Development’s Flashternship program provides students, particularly freshmen and sophomores, the opportunity to job shadow for a day, or serve five, half-day micro-internships. In turn, participating companies are able to start the recruitment process early on.

Last year, the pilot partner organizations for the Flashternship program included FedEx Custom Critical, the city of Akron and the Conservancy of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park’s Environmental Education Center, said Kristin Williams, executive director of Career Exploration and Development in Kent State's University College.

Flashternships help shift students’ knowledge about companies, Ms. Williams said. For instance, most students come into contact with FedEx as retail customers, unaware that the company has a myriad of behind-the-scenes operations.

But once students serve a Flashternship at FedEx, they see that the company employs professionals who have expertise in issues ranging from law to tariffs. Then, students pass on knowledge from the Flashternships to their peers.

“Peer to peer interaction is huge,” Ms. Williams said. “The students do the work of evangelizing what we as a staff of 13 can’t do.”

Last July, Kent State junior Anna Stanke had the opportunity to serve a Flashternship at Union Home Mortgage in Strongsville, Ohio.

The communications studies major, whose concentration is in organizational communications, has an interest in working in the human resources department of a corporation, but she’s not 100 percent sure this will be her chosen career path.

The one-day Flashternship gave Ms. Stanke a close-up view of a typical day in a human resources' department.

“I loved it,” recalled Ms. Stanke. “I really enjoyed meeting the employees there and they made me feel comfortable the entire time. It also helped a lot to learn more about human resources and the company as a whole.  Being able to be a part of a day in the workforce helped me learn more about what it is like and what I'll eventually be doing.”

Ms. Stanke said she would recommend the Flashternship program as a way for students to explore various careers and companies and to network with professionals.

“I received a business card from every person I met, and from there, I added them on LinkedIn,” Ms. Stanke said. “It is interesting to still be able to see posts from them and see what is currently going on in the organization. I also know I can reach out to any of them with questions at any time.”

Kent State's Career Exploration and Development makes a difference in the lives of students through Flashternships and many other programs.

For more information about programs to help students succeed in the business world and beyond, visit www.kent.edu/career or call 330-672-2360.

POSTED: Thursday, November 16, 2017 - 10:15am
UPDATED: Wednesday, February 14, 2018 - 12:20pm
April McClellan-Copeland