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A total of 166 students are taking advantage of externships over the January interim session between semesters, the highest number in recent memory.

“The students are very excited about the program,” says Susan Heard, associate director of Career Services.

There were 220 students applying for externship opportunities this year, representing another increase. Possible factors for rising interest include the economic downturn, a revamping of the booklet explaining the program, and heightened publicity.

The most popular externship areas are financial services, public relations, marketing, and advertising, notes Heard. Many students who could not be matched with sponsors will receive contact information for the alumni they had wanted to meet.

The Alumni Association and Career Services established the externship program in 1981 to help students make better-informed career decisions. Students are given the opportunity to “shadow” a prominent alumnus or alumna throughout a typical workday. They may get involved with projects, attend meetings, or talk with co-workers.

“Most importantly, you can have your questions answered by someone with experience in a field you are considering as a possible career,” according to Career Services.

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