Instead of caring for injured wildlife with the Wildlife Treatment Crew at the University of Georgia, Madison McClung plans to work at the Hamilton Plaza Animal Hospital in her hometown this summer. Her UGA internship was canceled due to COVID-19.
UGA students like McClung have changed their plans as internships and other summer programs have been canceled due to the coronavirus. When they lose internships, students say they miss out on work and résumé-building experiences.
Yet they’re finding other ways to stay busy this summer, from volunteering to taking online classes.
McClung, a junior avian biology and biological science major from Dacula on the pre-veterinary track, has worked at the Hamilton Plaza Animal Hospital each summer since she graduated from high school. This summer, she will observe surgeries and procedures and help keep pets still during examinations and vaccines.
She will not have the chance to participate in the UGA internship next summer because she will graduate with her undergraduate degree in May next year.
“My biggest concern is the experience needed to apply to vet school,” McClung said. “People are losing valuable work experience that they need to apply to vet school.”
Edwin Koc, director of research for the National Association of Colleges and Employers told CNBC that according to internal research, 75% of employers that are continuing their internships programs this summer have made at least one change to their internship programs. Forty percent of them are converting to virtual internships, another 40% are shortening their internships by delaying the start date and 20% are reducing the number of interns they will bring on this summer.
Some vet schools have relaxed their requirements, McClung said. The vet school application process is still going to be different from past years for students who planned on gaining work or internship experience.
Jack Henry Decker, a junior political science and international affairs major from Atlanta, changed his summer plans of participating in the UGA Honors in Washington Internship Program due to its cancellation because of COVID-19.
Instead of going to Washington as an intern, Decker plans to spend his summer volunteering.
“My inability to do desk work for a congressman this summer isn’t impacting anybody besides me,” Decker said. “It’s helped me realize how inconsequential so many of the things that I thought were important are.”
Decker said the consequences of the pandemic have emphasized how important it is to have a strong community, regardless of what résumé experiences are or are not being acquired.
Mallory Mifflin, a junior cognitive science major from Marietta, had plans to intern at the corporate office of Chick-fil-A in Atlanta as a digital learning intern to work on the improvement of their app design.
Chick-fil-A was offering a living stipend and salary to interns, according to Mifflin. Even with the cancellation of the internship, the selected interns now have the option to still receive that stipend to help relieve hardship caused by COVID-19 or to defer their internship acceptance to 2021. Mifflin has chosen to defer her acceptance and intern with Chick-fil-A in summer 2021.
Instead of interning with Chick-fil-A this summer, Mifflin plans to take online classes through UGA's New Media Institute to help build her portfolio. She plans to take new media design and user experience strategy.
“This is affecting a lot of people and so I reassured myself that I wasn’t alone in this,” said Mifflin. “I’m hoping that everyone will be understanding, even though this is that check mark of getting your summer internship before you enter the workforce.”