Alaura Taggart graduated from PSU’s School of Business Administration in June 2013 with a double emphasis in Human Resources Management and Management & Leadership. During her final year at PSU, Alaura interned with Ovations Food Services which at that time was the food and beverage service contracted with the Rose Quarter (home of the Portland Trailblazers). She recently shared with us her internship experience, and how that led her to a career she fully enjoys.
Q: How far in advance did you begin your search for internships?
A: I started searching in July/August for a fall/school year internship and finally was brought on in November (the manager was a little late getting an internship but typically wants one beginning in August or September).
Q: What did you do or enjoyed doing at your internship?
A: During my internship I was exposed to a lot of hands-on situations. I observed terminations and progressive coaching and had a lot of hands-on exposure to speaking with employees, answering questions, etc. I was introduced to an HRIS system and helped with recruiting and hiring. I learned how to screen applicants and learned the entire onboarding process.
Q: How did your work in your major help prepare you for your internship?
A: My major and the HR program helped with the textbook side of the workplace. I knew what the “textbook” answer would be to any issues that would come up in the workplace. I remembered certain laws that are taken into account and knew a lot of the best practices.
Q: What, if anything, surprised you about this experience?
A: What surprised me the most was to see the things we learn in school play out in real life. Not only that, but real work situations take those things and expand them into much larger issues than we ever knew about from college, and it was really interesting to watch it play out. I was also surprised to see how much I felt I just belonged in the HR career field. I knew I wanted to be in HR, but my internship made me feel like I was definitely making the right choice.
Q: What advice would you give other students considering an internship?
A: I would say participating in an internship is crucial to your college career and future career. An internship gives you the opportunity to really think about whether that career field is something you want to do for the rest of your life. With a good, quality internship, it gives you the opportunity to learn so much more than a classroom can teach you, and to build off of those classroom techniques you have been studying.
Q: What did you learn while at this internship?
A: I learned that HR is exactly where I want to be. I learned that I am all about organization and efficiency and those qualities are crucial in jobs in business and HR specifically.
Q: In what ways do you feel this experience will benefit you in the future?
A: This experience literally changed my life. Ovations decided to hire me full time at the end of the Blazer season. When their contract ended and a new company came in (Levy Restaurants), they kept me on board. I had a full-time human resources position before I even graduated college, all thanks to an internship that went well. I never thought I would be in the food industry, but there are some seriously juicy HR challenges that come with such a diverse place, and I am so thankful I was given the opportunity.
Click here to learn about how you can earn credit for your internship.
This series is made possible via reThink PSU grant support.