Students create internships for peers

By  |  Wednesday, February 6, 2013 9:28 PM

If students are looking for an internship, working for their peers can now be an option to get real world experience.

Growth in St. Thomas student-run businesses like DoDrinks and Love Your Melon has motivated the creators of these companies to hire student interns, specifically, their peers.

St. Thomas undergraduate student BreAnna Fisher said her company, DoDrinks, uses every resource St. Thomas has to offer, including its students.

“We have an intern right now that has spent an enormous amount of time over at the (St. Thomas) School of Law talking to the professors on different things that we are being challenged with right now from a legal perspective that we can’t afford to pay a lawyer to do,” Fisher said.

Fisher said she was able to look for high-caliber students because the entrepreneurship department’s matching program made interns more affordable.

“From the standpoint of a business owner, especially the technology startup, things move so quickly,” Fisher said. “Every day there is something new and that takes a lot of getting used to for especially students on being able to deal with that type of changing environment.”

Sophomore Mariann Kukielka also said her connection with DoDrinks resulted from St. Thomas’ resources.

“These women have so much knowledge, and I want to learn so much of it,” Kukielka said. “It’s easy to connect to them. They are experiencing or have experienced what you’re experiencing.”

Sophomore Zachary Quinn, one of the creators of Love Your Melon, said he and his partner, sophomore Brian Keller, recently hired three interns who will learn and grow with their company.

“The interns we have on are going to be talking to business owners, nonprofit heads, hospital administrative people,” Quinn said. “We’re going to be bringing them in and giving them that experience versus bringing coffee to someone in an office in a corporate building.”

Sophomore Christina Kloeckner said she isn’t sure she would be comfortable working for another student.

“I think it would definitely be an interesting dynamic. I guess it kind of depends on how that relationship goes,” Kloeckner said. “I feel like it would be a good experience … because it would be a closer relationship than an older boss or something.”

Love Your Melon posted an internship application on the Career Development website and continued to promote it through word of mouth.

Georgia Keller, who will be a freshman in the fall, was hired as the distribution and design intern for Love Your Melon. She heard about the position through her cousin, Brian Keller, and said his company inspired her to pursue entrepreneurship.

“I was interested in business before Love Your Melon, but this (internship) is reaffirming how much I want to be involved in entrepreneurship and learning how to own a small company,” Georgia Keller said.

Quinn said Love Your Melon began with a bold move, so he took that mentality and applied it to his own life when he decided to take a semester off of school to focus on the company’s growth.

“I think putting school on hold doesn’t mean putting learning on hold,” Quinn said. “This has been the most incredible learning experience so far in my life, and I want to continue that.”

Continuing to grow is something Quinn and his partner plan to do next with baseball hats for the spring season.

“The kind of design we’re looking at right now has a mesh back with a snap back on it so its got the versatility of one size fits all,” Quinn said.

Georgia Keller said she is excited to start interning for a company that has potential to thrive.

“It’s really exciting,” Georgia Keller said. “I mean, they just started it up … I can’t imagine what it’s going to be like down the road.”

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