Students spent this week wrapping up their summer break and preparing for the fall semester. Senior Seth Whittemore spent his final moments of summer finishing an internship with the Christiansburg Police Department in Virginia.
“This summer I was able to work with detectives, the VICE (an undercover police force that specializes in drug and human trafficking) task force serving warrants and road patrol. I was tasked with anything from learning to listen to jail phone calls about an investigation,” Whittemore said.
Going into his last year of his undergraduate degree, Whittemore knew how significant getting an internship could be. An article published by The Huffington Post on the importance of college internships stated that students who complete internships during their undergraduate degree are more likely to be employed once graduated at a higher salary than those who do not. The study also showed that students who completed internships were more likely to have stronger communication and leadership skills in the workplace.
During his internship Whittemore learned many lessons about what it takes to build a productive community in the workplace while also being a strong leader.
“The chief of the department Mark Sisson is a well experienced leader and I really noted how the day to day operations ran so smoothly. The department was well organized and that alone taught me a lot and the professionalism of each officer from road patrol to investigations was remarkable, I will take that with me forever,” Whittemore said.
Doing internships through the school gives students the ability to get class credit and build skills that are beneficial for any workplace.
“By being able to talk to people, having good communication and respecting everyone you encounter, it can make all the difference between having to use force or the situation ending peacefully,” Whittemore said. “I definitely will relate the leadership that Chief Sisson demonstrated. He constantly kept a cool head no matter what the situation was. I also learned that having a strong support staff means a lot. That genuine interest in just being there to help people on a daily basis is important.”
Wittemore also learned that this career was right for him. Internships narrow down or eliminate all the options that BGSU students are offered. By completing this internship Whittemore changed his graduation plans from going to law school to going directly in the police force.
“It felt like I was at home; there was never a day that I did not want to go in. Another key thing I took away was how everyone in the department, secretaries included, were there because they genuinely wanted to help people. I looked forward to going to my internship, and it was a huge honor for me to be able to work every day with such great people,” he said.
Whittemore is involved in student organizations around school, though, mainly focused on being a brother in his fraternity Alpha Tau Omega. Whittemore plans to bring the leadership skills he developed back to his brothers and the university community.
“If I can show my younger friends what I believe the qualities of a good leader are. I think it could be something that can be passed down consistently through generations of Bowling Green students even after I graduate,” he said.