A decade of building students’ professional experience: UPIC celebrates its 10th anniversary

At Clemson University’s Spring Launch Ceremonies held May 12-13, 158 graduates will share a defining experience of being the 10e cohort of the University’s UPIC program.

Amanda Hollowell, a senior management major with a focus on international business and a brand communications minor who worked as a UPIC intern for on-campus reservations and events, credits UPIC with improving her ability to s adapt to a fast-paced professional work environment.

“As I entered the workforce as a Clemson graduate, my experiences as a UPIC student prepared me because I learned the value of prioritizing effort and time in a challenging environment. real work,” Hollowell said.

10 years of creation

The Career and Professional Development Center manages Clemson’s University Professional Internship and Co-op Program. The program offers Clemson students the opportunity to work closely with university faculty, staff, or administration through mentored paid internships. These internships provide students with valuable hands-on experience in preparing for their future careers.

Solutions Delivery Manager Troy Nunamaker is excited about what the UPIC program has accomplished over the past decade, providing new experiences and educational opportunities for students at Clemson’s seven colleges.

“I couldn’t be more proud of how we’ve continued to grow as a campus community that embraces experiential education. Engaged learning is at the heart of the internship team’s daily endeavors and we are honored to have a high-impact practice on campus,” said Nunamaker.

“I am especially proud that we have dedicated funds and resources over the past decade to help break down the barriers that historically prohibit specific and marginalized populations on campus from having an internship. Our budget includes a position dedicated solely to helping students with unique and special circumstances secure a paid internship at no cost to the recruiting mentor.

Things weren’t easy for the UPIC program at first. Initially, there was no office space, budget or staff when the initiative started. But the program became fully operational in just under eight months and began with an inaugural class of 20 students in the spring semester of 2012.

Assistant Principal Jenna Tucker Grogan began her career at Clemson as a graduate assistant for UPIC in the fall 2013 semester and became a full-time staff member in 2014. Having witnessed the growth of the program, she is proud of the program’s impact on both students and mentors.

“It’s amazing how many students have been able to grow professionally through their involvement with UPIC,” Grogan said. “I love hearing stories from former interns about the great things they are doing now and how the program has impacted them while at Clemson.”

The University Professional Internship and Co-op (UPIC) program celebrated 10 years at the Barnes Center for UPIC students and their advisors on March 2. Dr. Troy Nunamaker and Dr. Neil Burton with the Center for Career & Professional Development briefly spoke to the audience.

After becoming fully operational, UPIC surpassed its goal of offering 500 annual on-campus internships by 2020 and now facilitates over 900 each year. For the Spring 2022 semester, UPIC has held nearly 400 classes with 158 senior participants who are expected to graduate next week.

Alongside its team of coordinators and mentor partnerships, the UPIC program has also demonstrated how it can adapt to the changing professional landscape, which has been disrupted during the COVID-19 pandemic when in-person meetings are have become difficult. Seeking to continue to provide its interns with the best possible experience, the program has pivoted to offering remote experiences and resources to its interns. Associate Principal Lisa Robinson was pleased that UPIC was available to provide students with an important period of their educational development.

“During the height of COVID-19, when it was difficult for students to work off-campus or overseas, UPIC provided the perfect solution to gain intentional, mentored, professional, and paid work experience between course, on campus or remotely,” Robinson said.

For Tucker Grogan, the program’s ability to thrive during the pandemic also speaks volumes about what UPIC has become and the experiences it can offer in any climate.

“The program has been able to evolve over the years, including remaining functional and thriving during a global pandemic, and I think adaptability has been and will be key going forward,” Tucker Grogan said.

In addition to Dr Nunamaker, Lisa Robinson and Jenna Tucker Grogan, the staff also includes Associate Director Dr Caren Kelley-Hall, Program Coordinator Toni Becker, Graduate Assistant Ashley Persson and UPIC Marketing and Programming Intern Jessica Dionian . Going forward, Nunamaker and the rest of the staff are excited to continue to make UPIC even more innovative for interns and their mentors. With Clemson recognized nationally for career services, staff aren’t content to rest on their laurels.

“It was an honor for us to have the unique opportunity to conceptualize and establish the UPIC program,” said Nunamaker. “The program is nationally recognized as a benchmark engaged learning initiative, and I am working to ensure that trend continues through the relentless commitment, innovation and professionalism of the UPIC team.”

Maria D. Ervin