COVID-19 cancels some students’ internships across Connecticut

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In the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak, UConn’s Center for Career Development is offering advice for students that have had internship and job opportunities canceled due to the virus.  Photo courtesy of File Photo/The Daily Campus. Thumbnail photo courtesy of Matt Pickett/The Daily Campus.

In the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak, UConn’s Center for Career Development is offering advice for students that have had internship and job opportunities canceled due to the virus. Photo courtesy of File Photo/The Daily Campus. Thumbnail photo courtesy of Matt Pickett/The Daily Campus.

With extending quarantine deadlines nationwide due to the progression of COVID-19, many University of Connecticut students said they have found they have to make alternate plans to their internship and full-time job opportunities this summer. 

Fourth semester molecular and cell biology major Drew Bidmead said his summer opportunity as an Emergency Medical Technician was canceled due to COVID-19. 

“[It is a] really bad time to be trying to transition into the medical field, like [students in their] first year out of medical school or nursing school,” Bidmead said, “I have to stop volunteering on the ambulance until the dangers are better mitigated since my asthma puts me at high risk.” 

Sixth semester computer science major Andrew Burns said his internship at Flexport, a large shipping technology start-up in San Francisco, was recently canceled, leaving a large gap in his resume and without work for the upcoming summer. 

“My role there was a software engineering intern where I would be making software for clients to help move their freight,” Burns said. “I’m having to sink a ton of time into trying to find a new internship, making it hard to focus on school.” 

Robert Volle, Program Director for Corporate Partner Relations for UConn’s Center for Career Development gave advice to students either in search of employment opportunities, or waiting for further guidance regarding previously procured jobs and internships. 

“One of the things [UConn’s Center for Career Development] did in early April was that we sent a message to all employers associated with UConn asking, ‘What are you doing with full time opportunities and internships?’” Volle said, “Only a handful of them got back to us…The vast majority of companies are in this ‘wait and see’ kind of mode.” 

Volle recommends the platform Handshake to students in search of internships and jobs for the summer. Handshake is an online database within which students can explore and network with companies with which the University of Connecticut has an established professional relationship. 

“One company, Cigna, based in Bloomfield, Connecticut, just announced that internships are still going forward but will be virtual.” Volle said, “Their challenge now is to ask, ‘What are some of the things we need interns to accomplish online?’ ‘How do we complete something like onboarding?’ ‘How will we set up projects?’”

Volle said that the Center for Career Development is fully functioning, and he encourages students to go to their website to schedule an appointment with a career coach and utilize their resources. 

“To students that have had their internships cancelled, I want students to remember, [they] were successful at getting that opportunity,” Volle said. “Do what you did in the past and make that next opportunity… get that resume ready, get that cover letter ready, get those interviewing skills ready for the next opportunity.”

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Grace Burns is campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at grace.burns@uconn.edu

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