Career Services Internships: Michael Higgins

Michael Higgins’s boss nominated him for Student Employee of the Year saying, “[Michael] is one of the most reliable Work-Study students that the Northern Vermont Chapter of the American Red Cross has ever had the pleasure to work with.” This is just one of the many reasons that Mike has been named UVM’s Student Employee of the Year. Mike, a junior-year history and political science major has been a Work-Study student for the local Red Cross since his first year here at UVM. While the rest of us sleep through the night, Mike wakes up at three am to help people cope with a house fire. While some are learning how to have our friends over without getting a noise violation, Mike is teaching disaster service courses as an instructor for the Red Cross. “Mike’s skill, especially in the area of Disaster Services, has aided him in earning the position of Team Leader for a local Chittenden-county based Disaster Action Team. Mike is trained to complete casework, conduct damage assessments, interview families, and provide mass care on the scene of disasters.” says Kirsten Glennon, one of Mike’s supervisors. It’s no surprise that Mike won UVM’s award (which puts him in the running for Vermont’s Student Employee of the Year), nor is it a surprise that Mike gets paid for what he does at the Red Cross, but what is surprising to some students is that Mike is receiving credits this semester for this position. Mike is a student in the Service Learning Internship Program. By working at least 20 hours a week and writing reflection papers to what he sees and learns on the job, he earns six credits towards his degree. When asked if his duties changed when he went from being a basic Work-Study student to a Service Learning Intern, Mike explained, “When I talked to my supervisor about doing this, he said he’d help me out and change the way I work there a little bit. It’s nice because if I need time off for schoolwork, he understands that because his theory is if I’m not in school, I can’t work for him. It’s easy to make up my time on the weekend or something.” Mike gets so much out of the Service Learning Internship, he wonders more students at UVM don’t take advantage of it, “I think if you do an internship, Work-Study, or whatever…it’s a really good experience for people to get into the working environment… I had no idea I could get credit even though I was Work-Study. It helps to lighten up your schedule, and pretty simple to fit in, especially if you don’t mind the work you are doing.” Is he nervous about graduating? “No, not really,” Mike states, “some days I feel like staying in school for another few years, and some days I just feel like going to work everyday, you know, having nights and weekends free. Its just one of those things, I might go to grad school…a lot of people tell me [to work for National Red Cross] in Virginia. They said I have a pretty good chance of getting a job with them right out of college. I wouldn’t mind that, but after four years with this job, I’m wondering if I’ll want to try something else.” Mike has been told by many people that he’ll be very hirable right out of college…are you?? For information about The Service Learning Internship Program or for other career advice, give Career Services a call, 6-3450.