Student, Alumna Share Experiences, Benefits of Internships

A photo of USFSP student Christopher Rivera

USFSP student Christopher Rivera

USFSP student Christopher Rivera and alumna Ashley Lipsey recently shared their experiences and spoke about the benefits of completing internships at the recent Student Colloquium event at the Nelson Poynter Memorial Library.

Rivera, a biology senior, interned over the summer at 3 Daughters Brewing, a family-owned brewery located in downtown St. Petersburg.  During the two-day-a-week internship, he learned about the history of beer, the beer making process, water chemistry and filtration, and how to run quality tests on the beer. He also learned how to use a variety of industry equipment like spectrophotometers and microscopes.

“The water that comes out of your faucet is not good for making beer,” he said, adding they would use triple-filtered brewer’s water to make the beer. “Tap water has chlorine in it to kill off the microbes and any pesticides, and it has fluorine in it to help with our teeth. Those are things that are not very good in beer. Chlorine actually makes the beer taste soapy.”

“What I learned while I was there is that lab work makes me happy,” Rivera told the audience, explaining that it was the second internship of his academic career but the first at USFSP. “Going into his internship, I suspected that lab work was something I had wanted to do with my life, but I wanted to make sure it was something I actually wanted to do.”

A photo of Ashley Lipsey, David Hood, Kacee Howes, and Lesa Shouse.

From left: USFSP alumna Ashley Lipsey; David Hood, wealth management advisor; Kacee Howes, director of Internship Development; and Lesa Shouse, director of the USFSP Career Center.

Lipsey, who graduated from USFSP in Fall 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in Finance, discussed her experiences as an intern at Northwestern Mutual.  She said the internship helped her to grow personally and professionally, and she landed a position within the institution as a Financial Representative.

“My experience with Northwestern Mutual was amazing,” Lipsey said, adding that the internship experience helped her realize that she doesn’t have the type of personality to sit behind a computer or at a desk all day. “I was able to work my own schedule and meet with clients face-to-face, doing exactly what I’m doing now. And then through that, I was able to meet incredible relationships with senior advisors that are there now, and I utilize them now in my business.”

One of her mentors has been in the business for 20 years and is the top advisor for NW in the southern region of the nation.

“I was able to meet her through during the internship, and through that, that’s how I made that relationship to where she is now my coach,” said Lipsey.