Student Success Stories

My Road to Internship Success

These stories highlight the diverse strategies that SJSU students have used to achieve success during their internship search. They are students just like you and their stories emphasize the fact that your academic major is only one component of the internship search. Your interests, values, and preferences are also factors when searching for your dream internship. We hope that these stories motivate you to get started on your internship search!

Have you already paved your own road to success? Share your story with us.


Tracy Rosario
Industrial/Org Psychology @ Applied Materials

 As an intern at Applied, you are immediately immersed in the culture and are treated as a regular coworker. It’s been a great experience, as I have been able to interact with many executives in the growing Energy and Environmental Solutions group. One of the larger projects was collaborating with HR staff during the comprehensive performance management process.

I would recommend that students take full advantage of the opportunities they have as an intern at any company: schedule informational interviews, explore their intranet -- it’s all valuable and the resources are there for a reason. Gaining the skills in this internship will definitely enhance your resume and open more doors once you complete your degree.”

Strategies Used:

  • Scheduled informational interviews to learn more about the organization

  • Scanned organization’s intranet for relevant information

  • Had resume critiqued by Career Center and industry professionals

BabaTunde Onadele
Civil Engineering @ Kaiser Permanente

“There were many great experiences that I had during my internship. I was provided the opportunity to meet people involved in my industry and to gain knowledge about some of the classes that I will be taking in the future. In addition, I gained networking contacts from people that are in hiring positions. The greatest challenge that occurred while I was in my internship was adjusting to the corporate environment and learning the ways of business flow.

The best advice I can give someone who is serious about gaining an internship is to contact the Career Center and INROADS  because they can connect you with opportunities for success and help you with your job search skills.”

Strategies Used:

  • Networked through student clubs such as BASE (Black Alliance of Scientists and Engineers)
  • Developed and refined resume and interview skills
  • Utilized a proactive approach to his internship search

Melissa Leong
Hospitality, Recreation, Tourism Management @ Pebble Beach Resort

“My time at Pebble Beach was spent managing two skyboxes on the 17th green. They are literally on the golf course, and were continuously packed with people. Despite the hard work, I loved every minute of it! I had the opportunity to watch the sun rise over the ocean, brush elbows with celebrities, and gain new skills. My experience at Pebble Beach has opened a lot of doors for me within the organization.

The college experience is truly about the connections you make, both on the professional and personal level. Opportunities will hardly ever just fall into your lap; you have to make an effort to seek out the experiences and opportunities that are out there.”

Strategies Used:

  • Utilized academic experience to gain work-related experience
  • Developed long-term relationships through internship
  • Networked through internship to gain additional internship opportunities

Mimi Rea
Counselor Education @ NASA Ames Research Center

“One of the highlights from my internship was the fact that I was working with NASA scientists and students who were passionate about their research and learning. My biggest challenge was learning how to work in a fast-paced technical environment; however I received great training and professional development as support. Based on my evaluations, students said that I helped to contribute to a positive experience at NASA. Many of the students said that they would recommend this program to their peers.

I would advise any student to make sure to take advantage of the preparation services that are available to you on campus, including the Career Center. My internship experience contributed to my career and life goals by increasing my managerial skills, reinforcing my people skills, and enhancing my technical skills. It was also very fun!”

Strategies Used:

  • Attended interview workshops and practiced interviewing techniques
  • Utilized training and professional development provided by NASA

Christopher V. Temblador
Political Science @ the Office of Congressman Mike Honda

“As the oldest and first male to attend college from a Latino family, my mom taught me to be proactive. My journey began in community college where I obtained three internships-all with the help of my professors. The notion was that no matter what you want to do in life, taking a leap opens doors to new experiences.

At SJSU, I continued to network through my professors, which resulted in an opportunity to work with the staff in Congressman Honda’s Office. One of many projects that I was passionate about was working on legislation in recognition of the 150th anniversary of San Jose State University. After applying myself to past endeavors I feel that I have obtained the right skills and preparation for the career aspect of my life with confidence.

Strategies Used:

  • Created a networks of relationships to gain internships
  • Applied to numerous scholarships and won D.C Scholarship
  • Experienced multiple internships to clarify career direction

Kahlila Liverpool
Masters in Public Admin @ Homeless Services and Policy, City of San Jose

One of the many highlights from interning with the Homeless department was the opportunity to work on Project Homeless Connect fundraising events and the California Connected by 25 Initiative. Over this past summer, I was able to promote PHC events on live radio with a fellow intern while at the Chicago Pizza Fundraising event. The contacts and knowledge gained from these experiences have been invaluable in learning how to successfully market events and coordinate with public and private agencies.

After completing my year-long internship, I applied for the SJSU Connect, Motivate, & Educate (CME) Society, Education Coordinator position. With my previous work experience and passion, I was subsequently hired and now I am working for San Jose State University. I get to work and implement programs that help change the lives of former foster youth on the SJSU campus.

Strategies Used:

  • Worked closely with internship coordinator to identify quality internships
  • Set up search agents on SJSU Handshake to automate internship search
  • Applied transferrable skills from previous internship on resume

Hani Naveed
Corp. Financial Mgmt @ Ernst and Young, LLP

The most important thing I learned throughout the whole process of finding an internship was that it pays off to start early. I started looking for internships during my sophomore year and landed an unpaid internship at first.

I felt that my internship program was very well organized and I felt like they had a plan for me. I got to dictate what type of clients I wanted to work with and how much responsibility I would get. My experience was so wonderful that I plan to join Ernst & Young full-time after graduation.

Strategies Used:

  • Started internship search process early which allowed time to craft application materials
  • Gained valuable experience via unpaid internship which led to paid internship
  • Attended  SJSU Job Fair to gain access to employers

Jennifer Pourshahidi
Business Management @ First Investors, Corp.

I used the Job Fair to locate my internship. I would highly recommend utilizing a Job Fair workshop given by the Career Center. Not only do they allow you an early admittance to the Job Fair, they also teach you effective strategies to use while looking for a job/internship.

There were many highlights during my internship at First Investors Corp. However, the main highlight was sitting in with other members who were in the process of obtaining their series 6 licenses. The material was interesting and challenging at the same time. Not to mention, when the internship was complete, they offered me a full-time position!!!

Strategies Used:

  • Attended Job Fair Success workshop
  • Leveraged internship opportunity into full-time offer
  • Learned valuable industry experience from colleagues

Rhianna Dunn
Liberal Studies @ Kentfield School District

During my internship search, I networked through my various classmates at SJSU to ensure that I would have multiple opportunities. Another thing I took advantage of was the resume critique service at the Career Center where I was able to learn how to write a professional resume.

My supervision at Kentfield was excellent, I couldn’t have asked for a better mentor! What I am taking away is the “behind the scenes” of being a teacher: How to set up a classroom, how to prepare and execute a lesson plan, and how to communicate with parents. Spending more time in the classroom has only confirmed that this is where I want to be.

Strategies Used:

  • Learned to write a professional resume from the Career Center
  • Maintained open communication with supervisor
  • Clarified career direction through internship experience

J Thomas Gaskin
Graphic Design @ Dubberly Design

My time at Dubberly was invaluable. When I started as an intern, I was immediately treated like a junior designer. I worked closely with the senior designers as well as the creative director to create support materials for many projects including web site maps and interface design. The owner of Dubberly Design took the time to explain things to us, including two workshops that he presented to help inspire and educate us.

One interesting project that I worked on was researching the photo sharing market and creating a book of research diagrams to show different aspects of the industry. The book I created was then used to help one of the top digital camera producers in the world make business decisions about their upcoming products.

Strategies Used:

  • Volunteered to take on special projects
  • Took advantage of professional development
  • Created work that will be used in professional portfolio

Tong Chen
Finance @ Cisco Systems, Inc.

I was fortunate to be selected for the Gary J. Sbona Honors Program, a special learning opportunity for high achieving students in the College of Business. In this program, I was provided with an opportunity to work with top Silicon Valley organizations as part of my college curriculum.

During my internship I worked on an e-catalogue project with Cisco’s Global Spending Management Team as a Financial Analyst Intern. Through team collaboration, good communication, and diligence, my team successfully completed our task. I have gained great experience in a corporate environment in this program.

Strategies Used:

  • Accepted to honors program which provides internship opportunities
  • Utilized SJSU Handshake and gained additional internships
  • Met with counselor to fine tune job search strategies

Juan Escobar
Marketing & Accounting @

I learned about the company I am currently interning at by chance. A friend of mine had posted a link to on his Facebook account and it caught my interest. I clicked on the link, explored the product, and decided to create my own VisualCV. About a month later, I was contacted by the organization because they liked what I had done with their product and wanted to find some creative ways to connect to SJSU. I inquired about possibly doing an internship and they asked me to create a basic outreach strategy and send it to them. A few weeks later, we spoke again and they extended me an offer to be the first ever intern within their organization!

During my time here at SJSU, I have completed 7 internships. My experiences have given me the opportunity to learn about the many different aspects of business and have helped to clarify my career focus. The best advice I could give to any potential intern is to find out as much as you can about your manager and ask questions if you are unsure about something. If you know the management style and expectations of your supervisor, you will be able to hit the ground running with a plan from day one.

Strategies Used:

  • Completed multiple internships to discover career path
  • Developed internship position when opportunity presented itself
  • Clarified goals of internship with supervisor

Kathy Burden
Pubilc Relations @ Cisco Systems, Inc.

I gained my internship through the Career Center’s Job Fair here at San Jose State. Through my internship, I was able to learn more about myself, what I was interested in, and I was able to secure a full-time position at Cisco afterwards. An internship is an important part of your education that you could never learn in a classroom, and it’s very impressive on your resume.

My mentor suggested that I do as many informational interviews as possible. These interviews taught me that there are many options out there if you work hard, continue to learn, and nurture your professional contacts. I am incorporating this by joining professional organizations, continuing my education, and volunteering for projects that I feel passionate about.

Strategies Used:

  • Attended SJSU Job Fair to connect with employers
  • Met with Career Counselor to assist with job search
  • Followed advice of mentor during internship