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Thirteen DU Students Receive Summer Internship Awards

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University of Denver

Students realizing importance of on-the-job training as number of applications rises

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Melissa Shambach realizes the importance of an internship. But for many students like her, it is nearly impossible to take advantage of unless it is paid. Fortunately for Shambach — a freshman majoring in international studies at the University of Denver — she is one of 13 DU students who were awarded a Career Center Summer Internship Award.

Each student was awarded $2,500, which allows them to pursue an unpaid summer internship without worrying about daily expenses. For Shambach, it’s important to gain as much experience as possible in her field. She is one of four students to receive new internship funding from the Deneberg family, which specifically contributed funds for students doing internships abroad.

Melissa Shambach
Melissa Shambach

“I would absolutely not have been able to do an unpaid internship without this award. The price of college weighs pretty hard on my family and I could not justify dedicating my time to an unpaid internship rather than working all summer,” said Shambach, who is completing a 10-week internship in Vienna with Austrian Baptist Aid. “Internships are invaluable at providing undergraduates with work experience in their aspired field. They also help students realize what skill sets are needed by employers, and show them where they have room to grow and develop before they are ready to start working in the real world.”

As part of her internship, Shambach will work on integration and advocacy with Syrian, Iraqi, Afghan and Iranian refugees and asylum-seekers in Austria.

According to Rebecca Damas, assistant director of the University Career Center, DU students who complete at least one internship increase their chances of finding a good job — one that pays $6,000–$10,000 more per year compared to a student who did not complete an internship. It appears that students are realizing the value of workplace training. Typically, said Damas, her office receives 20 to 30 internship applications; this year the center received 50 applications.

“Fifty percent of employers expect that students have more than one internship. For students unable to make this financial sacrifice, it can mean a huge missed opportunity to gain experience in their field,” Damas said. “These awards help students otherwise unable to accept unpaid opportunities to gain that critical professional experience in their field.”

Drew Carey
Drew Carey

For Drew Carey, a junior majoring in strategic communications, the internship is an opportunity to get his foot in the door at one of his dream companies. He’ll be working as an interactive marketing intern for a company called The Orchard in New York City.

“Internships are important for students because [they allow] for a preview of possible job paths in the future, as well as real-world experience that can’t be replicated in the classroom,” Carey said. “This award has allowed me to be financially able to intern with [The Orchard] in New York City, pursue this dream and hopefully follow it into the future.”




Here is a complete list of the 2017 Career Center Summer Internship Award recipients:

Andrew Carey (junior, strategic communications) — Carey’s internship is at The Orchard, a media, film and music distribution company In New York City. He’ll work with a team on a release-by-release basis developing social media roll outs, marketing campaigns and web-based artist/label representation. 

Claire Caviglia (sophomore, hospitality management) — Caviglia will intern with the General Consulate of the United States in Shanghai. Her security clearance has yet to be processed, meaning her job duties have yet to be assigned. But based on information from past interns, she expects to help out with securing visas.

Lexus Girard (freshman, finance) — Girard will intern with UNILA (Universitas Lampung) in Bandar Lampung, Indonesia, where she will collaborate with students to develop long-term business plans for local residents. Additionally, she’ll work in a local high school guiding students who aspire to work in business and help them create post-high school plans.

Carrie Hicks (freshman, biology with minors in political science and Spanish) — Hicks will intern at the University of New Mexico with the curator for the Museum of Southwestern Biology. She’ll work with a small team to catch and dissect shrews (mole-like mammals), and then prepare them to be stored in the museum. She’ll also work to find connections between the animals through the parallels in their genomes.

Dakota Hodgin (junior, history) — Hodgin will intern at the Denver Botanic Gardens performing archival research.

Chloe King (junior, molecular biology) — King will spend her summer at MicroTek Industries as a molecular biomedical researcher. She’ll work in the laboratory at the Anschutz Medical Campus in Denver developing her own research project that will contribute to the biomedical therapeutic efficacy in cell cultures of different disease pathways and develop pharmaceutical biotechnology designed to repair damaged organs or tissues.

Benjamin McAllister (junior, international studies with minors in Spanish and socio-legal studies) — McAllister will intern with the Wisconsin Division of Criminal Investigation. He will assist special agents with a variety of duties related to investigations, including observing and aiding in the execution of search warrants, surveillance operations, criminal intelligence gathering and records review.

Maria Rios-Gomez (freshman, biology and French) — Rios-Gomez will complete a medical internship at Maximo Nivel in Peru. Her work may include aiding in physical examinations, processing laboratory tests, aiding in family planning services, preparing and sterilizing equipment, and organizing patient medical files.

Sarah Rowse (junior, international studies and geography) — Rowse will intern with the Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking in Denver. She will work with the research and training director to focus on project design, data analysis and independent research to support the organization’s overall programmatic goals.

Melissa Shambach (freshman, international studies and history) — Shambach will intern with Austrian Baptist Aid in Vienna. She will work on integration and advocacy work with Syrian, Iraqi, Afghan and Iranian refugees and asylum-seekers in Austria.

Mary Storz (sophomore, international studies and Spanish) — Storz will intern with the Rocky Mountain Victim Law Center in Denver. As the only non-law school intern, she will assist the office of the executive director in various capacities, including planning and organizing a fundraiser for the center. Storz will also receive training in organizing structures and tasks that are essential in running a nonprofit.

Della Turque-Henneberger (junior, international studies with a specialization in health and development) — Turque-Henneberger will intern with the Shadhika Project, a nonprofit addressing gender inequality in India. She will assist with donor outreach, identify enriching education materials, solicit in-kind donations for events, and assist in the planning and execution of fundraising events.

Athena Wilkinson (sophomore, music recording and production) — Wilkinson will intern with Evergroove, a recording studio in Evergreen, Colo. The focus of her internship will be on the engineering aspect of audio, including audio editing and mixing, assisting in production and engineering, analyzing, researching and organizing equipment, and restoring data. Wilkinson will also learn about web design and promotion.