Esther Feron had an internship over the summer as an orientation advisor in the Student Orientation and Transition Office at the University of Maryland. It was located in College Park, Maryland. Feron is currently a sophomore at the university majoring in Environmental Science and Policy and is in her second year in the IAA program studying Agricultural Leadership and Communication. As an Orientation Advisor, Feron helped the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (AGNR) freshmen transition into their first year of college. One of her main responsibilities was to lead and help freshmen learn the basics of how to navigate around the campus. She also helped freshmen get involved in clubs and organizations that interested them. She signed up for this because she wanted to give back to her community and learn about higher education. She gained experience in customer service, project management, team leadership, scheduling, building operations, and financial insight.
When asked what Feron enjoyed most during her internship. She replied by saying “What I enjoyed most about my internship was that I got the opportunity to meet new incoming freshmen. I loved answering their questions and making them feel excited and ready for college to start.” She then went on to talk about her experience there. “As an orientation advisor, every day at work was different because we had to work with 70-300 new students in each program, but one of my favorite parts about that was that I got to interact with Brazilian students, parents, and supporters through the summer in Portuguese.”
I also asked Feron what skills she gained most from this experience. She responded by saying “I definitely gained a lot of experience in customer service and learning how to deal and communicate with people better and more effectively. I also learned a lot about how the university works internally and learned how to have a good balance because I had to live with my coworkers. So I learned how to balance being coworkers at work and not slacking while being friends and having fun outside of work.”
Feron also shared an interesting story that happened during the summer. “One of my students got lost walking to the animal science building, and as we walked there to get them I found purslane growing wild on campus!”
Heather McHale, Feron’s internship advisor was very supportive and had positive things to say about Feron. “Working as an orientation leader gave Esther the opportunity to polish her communication skills; at the same time she gained valuable insight about recruitment and student services. I was delighted to hear that she would be working with incoming AGNR students and helping them with their entry into college life” she said.
To conclude our interview, Feron gained a lot from this experience as well as having fun. “I would be more than happy to do it again,” she said.