Getting a Head Start on a Career – Unity interns stand out

From plant biologists to conservation law enforcement officers, to animal care interns and even a member of an Alaskan trail crew, Unity College students spent this past summer accomplishing amazing things, and putting their majors — and passions — to work in professional environments for invaluable experience.

“Our staff works incredibly hard to cultivate partnerships and help secure valuable educational opportunities for our students, but we must be clear: we don’t place our students. We provide connections, opportunities, and interviews, but not internships themselves,” Unity College President Dr. Melik Peter Khoury said. “It is the student who decides where to apply and who to reach out to. It is the student who submits their resume, cover letter, and does the interview. It is the student who lands the internship. We don’t place our students because we want them to know how to get a job themselves. We advise, direct, and encourage, but it is Unity College students who turn opportunities into realities.”

Internship coordinator Reeta Largen often pushes students to focus on their own particular skills and interests, and to apply their Unity College education outside “normal” expectations of their career paths.

“We have relationships with zoos for captive majors, sure, but what about a wildlife park within an amusement park? Or working for a for profit institution? We want our students to be able to bring their knowledge of the environment and sustainable capabilities to an institution that doesn’t necessarily already do it well. We want them to be able to change the world around them for the better,” Largen said.

Biology major Michael Martino (‘19) spent his summer as a Plant Biologist at Kingswood Golf Club in Wolfeboro, N.H., utilizing environmentally safe chemicals to control and manage invasive plant species around its entire 120 acres. He recorded and monitored the growth and spread of 20 different species of flora, while also analyzing, measuring, and documenting soil nutrients to ensure a healthy ecosystem for favored plants. The golf industry’s use of chemicals, water, and other resources to maintain pristine conditions is often criticized for its effect on the environment, but Martino applied his Unity education to fight against that perception. His experience was so transformative that he is now seriously considering taking additional coursework and completing additional certifications to become a golf course superintendent, and maybe developing some kind of “super soil” that would be resistant to the common pests that golf course superintendents are constantly battling without negatively impacting surrounding ecosystems.

Taylor Onessimo (‘19), a Captive Wildlife Care and Education Major, spent her summer as an Animal Care Intern at the New England Wildlife Center in Weymouth, Mass, providing medical care to orphaned and hurt wild animals and teaching life sciences, with a strong focus on biology, to students K-12. Onessimo had many hands-on opportunities at the center, which doubles as a veterinary clinic exposing interns to other career options.

Martino and Onessimo will join more than 55 students on Thursday, Dec. 7 in the Tozier Gymnasium to offer comprehensive presentations on their internship experiences, helping underclassmen understand the variety of options and opportunities they have as Unity College students in picking their own future internship adventures. Having a captive audience also allows the presenters to more deeply reflect on their summer experiences and fully understand the value of their accomplishments.