and the Real World
Internship Program offers students real-world experience with a real-world
While Amy Bertken 04 fights rush-hour traffic on her way back to
campus from her internship at Flintridge Consulting in Glendale, she sometimes
has to remind herself of what shes learning from the experience.
I know where Glendale is now, and thats half the battle,
she jokes. The commute home is the other half.
Daniel Chen '04
One of approximately 80 students working in various jobs this semester
as part of the Pomona College Internship Program, or PCIP, Bertken spends
seven hours a week compiling research gathered by her coworkers into a
database for the L.A. County schools. Despite the dreaded commute, she
says the experience is turning out to be a very positive one.
This business depends on the interns, and Ive learned what
consulting is about, she says. While this program wasnt
one of my first choices, I feel it really has a bearing on the greater
concept of what the field of consulting entails.
She even manages to be philosophical about the long freeway commute. I
made the horrible mistake of checking the box saying I could drive to
my internship, she explains. I definitely know now that I
dont want to commute. While its sort of an escape from the
bubble of Pomona, its just too long of a drive during
rush hour. But it definitely is a valid learning experience.
Of course, not all PCIP internships are at such distant locations. Daniel
Chen 04 has interned at Pomona Valley Hospital in neighboring Pomona
for the past three years, working at different times in the hospitals
Family Health Center, Cardiac-Cath Lab and Secure Care Center (Pomona
Valleys version of the ER). This year hes working with children
in the hospitals Pediatric Center, transporting patients and medications,
taking vital signs and assisting doctors in various procedures, among
This experience has solidified my desire to be a doctor, he
says. You have the option to interact with patients, especially
in pediatrics. For kids, youre there to make sure theyre comfortable
as patients in the hospital. Getting to know the patient lets them feel
like theyre in a friendly area.
The Pomona College Internship Program was established in 1976 to provide
Pomona students with valuable experience in the working world. PCIP is
open to students from their first year to their last, though it is most
frequently used by juniors and seniors. Best of all, at least from many
students point of view, the jobs come with real paychecks.
One of the best things about it is that it is paid, says Neena
Arndt 03. I feel like I can go out and get real-world work
experience, and not have to work another on-campus job. Thats a
big plus. Arndtwho has held previous internships as an aide
in a Claremont elementary school and as a docent at a childrens
museum in Pasadenacurrently works as a journalist for the Claremont
Courier, where she reads press releases and writes a regular summary
article. Its fairly low-key and informal, but I feel like
Im getting a good idea of how to put together an article and make
something interesting to the public, rather than making something interesting
to my professor. Its wonderful to get off campus and communicate
with someone who isnt a student or a professor.
Like Bertken battling rush-hour traffic, though, students sometimes find
that the experience isnt precisely what they bargained for. But
PCIP Coordinator Brian Cross points out that even a bad work experience
can be a valuable one if the student learns from it. While its
always good to have a positive experience, the primary goal is to have
a worthwhile experience and to learn something, he says.
Cross joined the Career Development Office a mere 13 months ago, but he
has already made significant changes in the programamong other things,
placing all internship listings on the Web.
Weve brought the program into the computer age to make it
easier for students to see what opportunities are out there, he
explains. It also eases the feedback process.
Today, the program offers approximately 140 internships each semester,
about half of which are in areas of non-profit or governmental agencies.
Pomona students naturally tend to gravitate towards these humanitarian-type
fields, Cross notes. We also have many positions in finance.
Pre-meds generally look for the internships at Pomona Valley Hospital.
He adds, however, that the program is always looking for new internships.
We love to have alumni sponsors who understand the PCIP experience
and know about Pomona students. Its a really great way for alumni
to reach out to current Pomona students and help to ease their transition
from college to the work world.
Antoinette Morales '04
Photo by Andrew Nuibe '04