General Kinnematics

What you need to know about an internship in the industry

Genevieve Homyack

October 18, 2021

What now?

Are you a student wrapping up your undergraduate or graduate degree and wondering what happens next in the real world? Are you a corporate executive needing to fill positions with educated and experienced minds? An internship may just be your answer.

SME’s members represent more than 1,000different domestic and international companies including all of the leading U.S. based mining companies. SME members represent hundreds of U.S. and international schools. Intern possibilities and people connections are vast.

In a brief review of several top mining company websites, numerous intern opportunities are currently available. Freeport-McMoRan for instance, is well known for its robust intern program and is currently advertising 29 different internships for the 2022 summer season. Newmont Corporation has programs in North America, South America, Australia and Africa.

Internships come in more than one flavor. From traditional internships, to longer term in-depth cooperative education experiences to a brief period of job shadowing, internships can be customized to your needs. Sarah Raymond, director of career services at Montana Tech University brings her considerable experience to highlight this topic. On the importance of internships, she says “Internships are a fantastic opportunity for students to learn practical skills and apply what they have learned in the classroom to real life situations. It can help a student gain insight if they are ‘in the right major’ and give them a glimpse into the positions available in a given industry or specific company. There is a value for employers, as well. Often hiring an intern to do meaningful projects means good business. The employer can “test-drive” potential future employees, build their company brand on-campus, and build a talent pipeline for their organization.”

Raymond adds that “Students should be actively engaged from the beginning of their academic career. Exploring the companies who are interested in recruiting their major will help them identify companies they should meet when recruiters are on campus at career fairs, conducting information sessions, or posting jobs. Developing a strong resume and practicing their self-introduction would be another important first step.”

When asked what a first step would be for a company to gain qualified interns, she said, “Companies should provide hands-on experiences with meaningful projects or daily work. Engage with colleges who are providing degrees in the areas of their industry. Establish relationships with and post jobs for students to learn more about opportunities. Alumni offer a great perspective and can bring some credibility to their organization. Involvement on campus may look differently, but build a brand for students to recognize is key; no matter where you recruit.”

Raymond concludes that “In my tenure at Montana Technological University internships have been a key to the success of students getting hands-on, degree-related experiences before graduation. Experience is highly valued by employers and this has helped students at Montana Tech graduate with low college debt. Internships have helped students receive full-time job offers before they graduate.”

While universities provide excellent resources, being a member of SME multiplies opportunities for both student members to find internships and for professional members to make connections with active students. SME student members have numerous opportunities to engage companies during the MINEXCHANGE SME Annual Conference and Expo. Students can attend alumni and corporate sponsored receptions and participate in a variety of contests including the Metallic and SME/NSSGA Student Design Competition.

Andrew Storey, P.E., Chair of the SME/NSSGA student design competition committee said, “A big focus of the SME/NSSGA Student Design Competition is promoting student/industry connections and networking. One of the ways the SDC Committee achieves this this is collecting resumes from interested student participants and sharing them with competition sponsors. It’s a great way for companies to connect with top students and students to meet industry reps and get leads on full time jobs or internships.”

Now has never been a better time to build your connections, whether you are a student member or an SME professional member. Consider participating or volunteering for activities which promote and build students’ resumes. Think about attending the 2022 MINEXCHANGE SME Annual Conference and Expo in Salt Lake City, UT (Feb. 27-March 2). Talk to your company about creating or enhancing your company’s internship program to fill unmet needs in the industry. Send your employees to the conference and support their participation in other Society activities. The possibilities for generating networks are immense.


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