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December 02, 2011

Interning: a great way to start your career before graduation

South University Newsroom

Chanique Brown
Class of 2011
Bachelor of Science, Legal Studies
Columbia Campus
Employment: City of Columbia - Executive Assistant to the Mayor

Interning: a great way to start your career before graduation

Chanique Brown didn’t wait until graduation to think about her career. She was a senior in the Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies degree program at South University’s Columbia Campus when she learned that the, then new, Mayor of Columbia was looking for college students to fill 10 internships, she applied right away. The following month, the Mayor’s office informed her that she was accepted and she and 9 other students from area colleges, found themselves in internship orientation.

The internship required between 12 and 20 hours per week of work, which met one of her elective requirements (Legal Externship II) for a Bachelor of Science degree in Legal Studies. She had the flexibility in her schedule to work Tuesday through Friday for the City of Columbia because she was enrolled in two campus-based courses and one course online.

As a Legal Studies student, Chanique was already interested in the judicial system, research, and statutes, but interning in the Mayor’s office was eye opening.

“I was asked to conduct research, a lot of research, on a variety of policy issues, including gang violence and transportation, for a presentation that was shown right after Mayor Benjamin delivered his State of the City address,” she explains. “But the best part of the internship was sitting in on policy review meetings. I know that might not sound like much fun, but I had fun.”

So much so, that after graduation in March of 2011, she took a full-time position working directly for Mayor Benjamin as Executive Assistant.  Learning how government works and what it takes to have a policy enacted, and the draw of public service—all of it took hold of Chanique.

“I always thought I would take the LSAT right away and apply to law school,” says Chanique. “But now I want to work for the mayor and be a part of the policy making process. I am enrolling in graduate school at South University to pursue a master’s degree in Public Administration.”  

Her internship allowed her to put her degree to work right away. “My coursework in research and writing helped me to become successful and my knowledge of Lexis Nexis and WebLaw – these were tools I learned at South University and tools I needed to use right away.”