Pathways program guides students through internship process

Estefania Perez ’21 is all abuzz as she enters the Arts & Sciences Career Development offices in early March. She’s just heard back from a staffer in the office of a U.S. senator whom she’d really love to work for this summer. And her interview is in two days. She’s in desperate need of some wisdom from Ana Adinolfi, senior career associate in the office.

The scene is a common one for Adinolfi this semester, as she’s the advisor for the eight students who have been accepted into the college’s new Pathways Internship Program. Through the program, first-generation students receive funding to pursue a career-related experience of their choice during the summer after their sophomore year, along with monthly one-on-one meetings with Adinolfi, guidance on researching companies and creating resumes and cover letters and access to various career development resources, including practice interviews.

“Without the funding, my whole idea to be in D.C. for the summer would not be possible,” said Perez. “And this is really nice because I have someone to hold me accountable to make sure I’m doing everything I need to be doing. You get one-on-one focus for your field.”

Perez is hoping to work in Washington, D.C. for a research organization, a think-tank or to gain a position on Capitol Hill with a senate or congressional office or another political organization.

Kamla Arshad, left, and Estefania Perez, center, talk with career counselor Ana Adinolfi.

“My long term goal is to run for public office one day, so any kind of exposure in this field would be beneficial,” said Perez, a government and history major who did an eight-week program in the capitol last summer as part of Cornell in Washington.

Kamla Arshad ’21 said the program helped her to stay on top of applying for opportunities, including some with deadlines back in the fall semester. “If Ana hadn’t told me to start researching, I would have missed those deadlines easily,” she said.

Arshad also switched her focus this year, so the program was helpful in refining her materials. “My resume was very much premed focused and I wasn’t sure how to get out of that when I dropped premed,” said Arshad, a psychology major. “In premed, you don’t really have to do cover letters, so I also needed to learn how to write a cover letter.”

Arshad is spending part of her summer in Ecuador working for We Movement, an organization focused on community development efforts, and then spending the rest of her summer in some sort of clinical research experience related to psychology.

A goal of the program is to leave these students with a toolkit of resources they can use next year – and in years to come – when they are searching for internships or permanent positions, Adinolfi said,

“Everything they do this year, they can apply next year and they’ll also know what resources are out there,” she said. “I also hope they will be mentors to next year’s class.”

“I feel more comfortable and well-versed in networking skills, in email etiquette, just in everything,” Perez said. “They’ve given us everything that they’ve been able to. Now, it’s up to us.”

Students who want to be considered for the program next year should submit their applications by March 29. The office hopes to work with 15-20 students next year. More information is available here.

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Kamla Arshad, left, and Estefania Perez, center, talk with career counselor Ana Adinolfi.