my internship experience

Ben Burns '09, a Communication Studies major from Yarmouth, Maine, who is captain of the Colby-Sawyer men's alpine team, completed a two-month internship this summer with Fischer Skis as an assistant test center manager at Government Camp in Oregon.

How did you find this internship opportunity?

I have always loved skiing on Fischer skis and have worked at the company before, so I know some employees there very well. Getting this internship was not so much an application as a conversation, really. They approached me about the job, which was actually an unpaid position, and provided housing, meals and a vehicle for me to use.

What were your most important duties and responsibilities as an intern?

For two weeks I was in charge of the entire operation. Organization was key. Knowledge of the Fischer product line and the ability to interact with athletes, coaches and parents was critical.

How does this internship intersect with your studies at Colby-Sawyer?

I am a Communication Studies major, but my business classes were very helpful with this internship. I can confidently say that there were times when I used skills taught in many of my classes.

What challenges did you face, and what triumphs did you enjoy, during your internship?

The best part was getting to see the country and spend time with amazing people. Working with people can be a little trying, though, and there were both great and not-so-great moments regarding that aspect. All in all, though, I learned that I am a good leader and able to talk with adults, children and people from all walks of life.

When you talk to your friends and family about your internship, what do you tell them?

I tell them that I wasn't considered “just an intern” by my superiors but rather a colleague who had thoughts on issues. My boss often told me to figure things out on my own and gave me the chance to think freely and make decisions.

Did this internship confirm or alter your career plans?

It solidified my decision to pursue a career in the ski industry.

Have you done other internships related to your major?

All my summer jobs - which have included working at my family's plastic manufacturing plant, a greenhouse, a golf course pro shop and for a masonry contractor - have allowed me to learn about professionalism and hard work, but this internship solidified all of that.

What do you think of Colby-Sawyer's requirement to complete an internship?

It is the best learning experience that I have ever had, not because it was a requirement but because of how seriously I took it. I didn't perceive it as just something I was required to complete, I saw it as an opportunity to grow and network within an industry in which I am interested in working.