Students reflect on life-changing opportunities during Internship Awareness Month

April is Internship Awareness Month, and although campus is closed, the TU Business Career Center is still actively working to help students make connections that can turn into internships, and possibly even careers.

Leonelle Thompson, director of the Business Career Center in the Collins College of Business, said that the graduating class of 2020 has demonstrated its tenacity and drive to secure internships. Many of these students completed internships that have promised exciting career opportunities upon graduating, including Muneed Yousufi and Lauren Milburn.

Yousufi is an energy management and finance senior
Yousufi is an energy management and finance senior

Yousufi is an energy management and finance senior as well as president of the Tulsa Energy Management Student Association. He’s had multiple internships during his time at TU, including the summer after my sophomore year when he interned as a business analyst for Waterfield Energy Software in Tulsa, now known as W Energy Software. This past summer, Yousufi interned for Encana Oil and Gas (now Ovintiv) in Denver, Colorado. “I was a land negotiator intern and helped design a digital dashboard for the company,” he explained.

These internships have not only prepared Yousufi for what he will experience post-graduation, but they have also led to lasting friendships.

He’s quick to acknowledge the university’s help in creating the opportunity. “TU offers resources, such as mock interviews, resume and cover letter advice, workshops on life after college, and Handshake,” he said. “All these resources, if utilized properly, can help set expectations for work after college and how you should navigate that area.” Using these tools, he made connections at the business fair that resulted in his internships.

For Lauren Milburn, a computer information systems senior, her internship with Chick-Fil-A Corporate in Atlanta, Georgia, turned into a full-time business analyst job offer.

Looking back on her internship experience, Milburn had nothing but great things to say about her summer in Georgia. “It was an incredible summer of growth as an IT intern,” she said, “And now, I’m overflowing in admiration for Chick-fil-A’s roots, vision and corporate purpose. I worked on meaningful projects on a staff-facing team. My work ended up being a really good balance of both consulting and technical, and my intern coach made me feel so welcomed and loved. My favorite part of it all was building relationships across the departments and experiencing first-hand what makes Chick-fil-A so different.”

Lauren Milburn, a computer information systems senior
Lauren Milburn, a computer information systems senior

Milburn came to TU with expectations of becoming a mechanical engineer but realized that was not the route she wanted to pursue, despite her love for serving students at the Little Light House through Make a Difference Engineering (MADE at TU) projects. Eventually, after personal exploration and support and guidance from professors, CIS became Milburn’s home and she never looked back.

While both Yousufi and Millburn’s successful time at TU is coming to a close under unusual circumstances in the midst of the COVID-19 virus pandemic, both seniors are optimistic.

Yousufi said that the times we are experiencing are certainly uncommon, but unfortunately inevitable. Although his senior year is ending off-campus, his hope rests in the future. “Being a senior during this strange time is certainly not the most ideal situation to be in, but it is important to keep in mind that times like this will not last forever, just as good times will not last forever,” he said. “This will be over eventually, and we should keep looking to the future while making the most of what we have in the present.”

Milburn echoed similar thoughts, saying that although her extraverted personality seeks to adventure and explore, she’s found a new perspective and is making the most of the free time she’s gained to start a small business that encourages others. “One of my recent projects has been making bracelets out of recycled pennies,” she said. “A penny appears very ordinary and worthless, but repurposing them challenges me to find worth and joy in the little things, choosing to live for something bigger than myself. I’m partnering with Tulsa’s Little Light House to sell the bracelets, promoting their organization and donating 50% of profits back to them.” If you’d like to support Lauren’s mission, the bracelets are available here.

Reflecting one last time on the impact TU and internships have made on her life, Milburn summarized it best: “TU provides students an outlet to pursue passions, change trajectory along the way, become a leader, improve communication skills, interact with a very diverse student body and foster deep relationships. I can’t wait to see what the future holds and can attribute any and all opportunities to my university and the incredible relationships fostered here. I can’t wait to serve as a University Ambassador even post-graduation, continuing to share my TU story and the immense impact it has on my life. Go women in STEM, Eat Mor Chikin, and Reign ‘Cane!”