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  • Writer's pictureCareer Center

What is an Externship?

Updated: Nov 14, 2018

Externships are a single day of job shadowing hosted by Lehigh alum at their company or work location. Externships are held in January before the start of the spring semester. First year students and sophomores are encouraged to participate in externships as a way to test drive industries, companies and job roles.

In the Career Center we encourage students to explore career options and companies, externships are one of the best ways to get a realistic view of a day in the life of a Lehigh alum’s professional career. The locations and hosts widely vary, but each externship has its own way of sharing perspectives and information with students about what it really looks like to work in a career field. But don’t take it from us, here are some stories shared from 2018 Externs.

Alexis Shanley, Class of 2021, Biochemistry

Externship Host: Dr. Dennis Todd, Community Blood Services

Location: New Jersey

I did my externship at Community Blood Services in New Jersey. First, I met alumni Dr. Dennis Todd, director of Community Blood Services. We spoke about what happens to the blood from time of donation to time of departure. Then, I went into the laboratories to see how the blood is separated and tested for different antibodies. I then observed the process of receiving and fulfilling an order from a local hospital. During the day I was also able to have lunch with Dr. Todd and other scientists who work at Community Blood Services. I also visited the cord blood laboratory, where I observed what happens to donations of cord blood.

I networked with many distinguished scientists, observed tedious laboratory techniques that I may perform one day, and gained insight into the blood banking process. I would definitely recommend other students apply for an externship. At such a young age, it is hard to obtain an internship for a whole summer, so these one day programs are amazing bits of valuable experience that suffice until an internship is in reach. I learned valuable networking and laboratory skills that will give me an edge when it is my turn to go out into the career field.

Daniel Appierto, Class of 2020, Finance

Extern Host: Craig Lemle, Savills Studley

Location: Manhattan

The day started off by greeting the alumni connect, Craig Lemle, at Savills Studley who was responsible for taking me around the office that day. Myself and another lehigh student sat down with Craig. He gave us a background of the company and what he does. He then showed us the projects he was working on, as well as how he handles situations that come up. We went lunch with his intern from Lehigh, as well as other Associates at the firm. The rest of the afternoon we met with Associates from different departments, and they described further to us about what their job entails. It was very nice to hear how their Lehigh education prepared them for the work that they do.

It was very helpful to meet with Associates from many different educational backgrounds. They all had a different perspective on the commercial real estate industry. I would recommend students apply to this externship in the future. This was a very rewarding experience. I was given a glimpse of the commercial real estate industry, and was able to network with many different professionals. The Lehigh alumni network made this all possible, and they are very willing to meet new Lehigh students interested in their line of work.

Kayla Sippin, Class of 2021, Journalism, Psychology

Extern Host: Beverly Maselli, Mount Greylock Regional High School

Location: Williamstown, MA

During my externship I shadowed a school psychologist and guidance counselor, Lehigh alum Beverly Maseslli. I came in at the start of the school day and went to a meeting between the school psychologist, guidance counselor, principal and other administrative staff. The purpose of this meeting held each week was to talk about the school climate, issues with students and the school, students at risk and graduation, which was soon coming up. After this meeting, which took up a significant portion of the morning, I was able to observe the guidance counselor's interactions with some students and the kinds of issues they discussed. About 3-4 students came in throughout the day and I got to see how different situations were handled. For the remaining time, I got to tour the office and ask the school psychologist and guidance counselor all the questions I had in mind related to the careers, what working in a school is like, etc.

This experience helped me determine that I want to go to grad school to become a school psychologist. I knew that I had liked the career but had never had any in person experience. In the past, I had only talked to grad students about this career and this was the first time I could ask someone in the field about the job. I learned that the job of a school psychologist varies greatly depending on the school district one is in, so this is something I will keep in mind when applying to jobs in the future. I also got some guidance about applying to grad school and how to get into a career.

I would definitely recommend other students to apply to an externship. For those who don't have their own connections, an externship is a great way to get connected to someone in a desired field. There are many things you can learn about a job from a person who actually has that position that you can't learn online.

Ready to apply to a January 2019 Externship?

Log on to Lehigh Connects starting November 12 to see the externship options for January 2019. Click “jobs/opportunities” from the top menu and use the filters to sort options. All applications are due thanksgiving weekend, November 25th.

Need help with your resume for an externship application?

Visit the Handshake Resource tile on resumes and attend Career Lab, Mon- Fri, 11:00 am - 2:00 pm in 484 Rauch for help with your documents.

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