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Dothan professors, Trojan Cafe partner to streamline internship applications

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Pradyot Sharma

Variety Editor

The Sorrell College of Business (SCOB) at Troy University’s Dothan campus has collaborated with local businesses and Trojan Café to streamline internship applications for students beyond the main Troy campus.   

This initiative is led by Carmen Lewis, associate dean of the Sorrell College of Business at Dothan, and Lane Eckis, an assistant professor of economics. They have seen 14 students placed in internship positions since January 2018.

Streamlining the application system has made this process work on a larger  scale, according to Lewis.

Companies that have opened internship positions through this partnership include Walmart, Troy Bank & Trust and Coleman Worldwide Moving.

According to Eckis, the SCOB Dothan is attempting to make it easier for students to connect with potential employers while ensuring they qualify for internships they apply for and providing resume review services prior to applications.

“It’s all about serving the students and helping them with what it takes to be successful in their career path,” Eckis said.

SCOB Dothan also holds mock interviews for all applicants to prepare them for their actual internship interview.

According to Lewis, the mock interviews are held either by single interviewers or a panel, reflecting how the actual interview would be held. Many students do not have prior experience with interviewing for professional jobs, and this provides exposure to how the process would work in their future career field.

“They come in scared, terrified almost of the process because it is foreign to them,” Lewis said. “And so, what we do is try to alleviate that stress.

“It just becomes one of those confidence builders where after they have gone through the process, then they know what to expect, and they are better prepared.”

These internships are designed for students with business majors, but Lewis said implementing a similar system could benefit other campuses and departments to simplify internship applications for students, and the faculty needs to go out and connect with the community to create partnerships.

“If other campuses or departments can grab on and replicate what we are doing, we will be happy to share information on streamlining the process,” Lewis said.

Lewis credits the success of the process to collaborations with departments within the SCOB at Dothan and the partnership with Trojan Café.

Trojan Café has helped the department expand its pool of applicants according to Lewis.

Trojan Café is a virtual platform designed primarily for nontraditional students to stay connected to university resources, including internships, spotlight stories on Troy students and events, and Canvas training.

According to Donna Brown, the assistant director of student professional development for Troy Online, Trojan Café has been accessed by 7,223 individuals in 2018 Term 3, which began on Jan. 8 this year.

According to Lewis, there have been 60 new applications since they started using Trojan Café to reach out to students beyond the Dothan campus.

The new applicants are students across the Troy University system, including the Troy Campus, Troy Montgomery and Troy Online.

Troy campus students can still access Trojan Café through Canvas. More information on Trojan Café can be found on the Canvas homepage at canvas.troy.edu.