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COVID-19: Fall 2020 plans and student resources ›

Don’t Have a Job? Build Professional Skills and Knowledge Anyway!


Build Skills and Knowledge

It is important to build your skills and knowledge even if you are not able to get a job or internship over the summer. Learn how to code, write short stories, or join a professional network. Whatever you decide to do this summer it will be important that you are able to articulate what you did, learned, and developed to future employers. When they look at your resume they may ask you “what did you do during the 2020 COVID-19 summer?”, be sure to have an answer ready for them. 

Here are the Strommen Career & Internship Center’s top recommendations for self-directed and directed learning this summer:


  • Read – history, biographies, local authors, or check out Business Insider’s list of 100 books everyone should read in their lifetime. You could even consider starting a virtual book club. 
  • Focused Reading – Research and read the books and journals suggested that everyone in your profession should read, ask faculty members for their recommendations.
  • Explore your creative side – through photography, writing, sewing, knitting, website design, painting, baking, cooking, music, etc. 
  • Start a blog or podcast – Improve your oral and written communication skills, explore topics of interest, partner with a friend or try it out on your own 


  • Volunteer – Consider volunteering virtually with Catchafire. Catchafire strengthens the social good sector by matching professionals who want to donate their time with nonprofits who need their skills.
  • Upgrade to a trial month of LinkedIn Premium and enjoy 30 days of free learning courses 
  • – Join a local group to meet people, try something new, or do more of what you love. 
  • Look for free webinars and MOOCs 

If you have questions or need help, please do not hesitate to reach out to the Strommen team. You can always make an appointment with our coaches on Handshake and you can also email

Persistence Pays Off When Searching for a Job

Student Spotlight: Kristy Ornelas ‘20

As my senior year came to an end, I began submitting job applications to several employers around Minneapolis. Some were promising with good pay and good hours. Suddenly, the hiring freezes began and post-graduate life was not so promising. Hopelessness began to settle in, nevertheless, I persisted. Handshake was the first place I looked for any opportunities I could apply to and I found an AmeriCorps VISTA position with Kristy OrnelasMississippi Park Connection. It was a perfect fit for me; a combination of community work and environmental stewardship.


I knew my cover letter and resume had to be close to perfect if I wanted a good shot at the position, so I reached out to the Strommen Center for guidance. My desire to work with Mississippi Park Connection only increased as Kate, a Career Specialist at the Strommen Center, and I discussed my cover letter and were able to identify the true nature of my application for the position—a sense of vocation. She looked closely at my resume, as well, and helped improve it. I truly believe that due to her help, Mississippi Park Connection asked to interview me. Once again, Kate spent hours helping prepare for an interview that could potentially determine the next chapter of my life. So, I interviewed and got the job! With the help of Kate, my resume and cover letter were intact. Thanks to the Strommen Center, I was prepared to go after the job I wanted. Thanks to my persistence, my future was not hopeless. I can honestly say that post-graduate life is looking promising.


Written by: Kristy Ornelas

Best Practices – Job & Internship Search

best practices job and internship searches

Job searching involves using a variety of resources to find employment and internships. Many students do not realize they need to do more in their job search than just applying online. In fact, most positions are found using other strategies.

Here are 4 tips to help you develop an effective job and internship search plan: 

  • Identify your talents, interests, and skills – Many job searchers make the mistake of not focusing their career goals, and that is what can make job and internship searching extremely overwhelming. Before you begin your search, you need to have an idea of the kind of position you would like to have. If you have not already, spend time thinking about how your strengths, interests, skills, and values relate to work environments. Have an idea of possible position titles or career fields you might want to pursue. If you struggle with thinking about this, a career coach can assist you with this step. 


  • Resume – Make sure your resume is up-to-date and tailored to the position you are applying to. Your resume should be easy to scan quickly, while simultaneously containing enough pertinent information that will reveal essential details about you and your skills. Our office can assist you with a resume review. Make an appointment with a career coach on Handshake or take advantage of our virtual resume drop-in hours. Mondays & Wednesdays from 10am-1pm. No appointment needed! Use the following Zoom link to utilize our virtual resume drop-in service. 


  • Take advantage of networking Networking involves connecting with people who work in a field you are wanting to learn more about or break into. It is the most effective way to learn more about job and internship positions and obtain them. We recommend talking to everyone about your job search or career path. Your odds of finding a job or internship increases with the more people you tell. There is also value in requesting informational interviews once you have done your research on different companies and identified jobs and/or internships of interest. Use social media to find connections. We suggest creating a LinkedIn profile to seek out individuals you are connected to who are in positions or companies that you are interested in exploring. Be aware of fake job offers that seem too good to be true. Scammers are trying to take advantage of the pandemic and trick people into responding to fake job offers. Always check the organization’s website for legitimacy. You could also consider reaching out to the organization’s Human Resources department to double check they’re still hiring.  


  1. Interview preparation- Preparation is key! We recommend researching the company and the people you are interviewing with. Do not be afraid to ask questions about interview logistics such as dress code, parking, etc. Practice the STAR model of answering interview questions to ensure you provide concrete examples of how you meet the organization’s needs and to prove that you will be successful in that position. We encourage you to complete a “mock interview” (practice) with a career coach.  Set up an appointment in Handshake.

The Strommen Center would like to acknowledge that the job and internship search process has its unique stressors and we want you to know we are here to support you. We encourage you to make an appointment with us on Handshake and check out our new resources listed on our Community Moodle Site.

Be Flexible – Job and Internship Search

Be Flexible - Job and Internship Search

Because of COVID-19 we know many of you have lost your summer opportunity whether that was a job, internship, research, or volunteer experience. We know this loss is difficult and complicated because it may have put you in financial hardship, interrupted progress towards your academic goals, disrupted your career advancement, and just left you with nothing to do this summer. That is a lot. 


The Strommen Center is here to support you no matter the reason you lost a summer opportunity and we encourage you to make an appointment with us on Handshake and check out our new resources on our Community Moodle site.


Here are 3 tips to get you started in a new direction:

  1. Be active and flexible in their job and internship search. Even though you might be seeing posts about how few new positions are being posted, opportunities are available but they might not be your first choice. Consider broadening your idea of what you want to gain from a summer experience and how it could help you advance your goals and make you more competitive for your next job offer. This could be focusing on positions that offer you the opportunity to develop your interpersonal skills or learn a new technical skill. Check out to search for jobs and internships
  2. Continue to learn and develop skills even if you are not able to get a job or internship over the summer. Learn how to code, write short stories, or join a professional network. Whatever you decide to do this summer it will be important that you are able to articulate what you did, learned, and developed to future employers. When they look at your resume they may ask you “what did you do during the 2020 COVID-19 summer?”, be sure to have an answer ready for them. 
  3.  Focus on self-care. Loss of a job or internship is stressful because of the loss of income and also because of the loss of sense of purpose and progress towards career and academic goals. Visit the Center for Wellness and Counseling’s site for resources.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to the Strommen team if you have questions or need help. You can always make an appointment with our coaches on Handshake and you can also email


Strommen Open for Business

In this extraordinary time, the Strommen Center for Meaningful Work is committed to serving Augsburg students through delivering career readiness services and professional development. We are prepared to provide many of our services remotely and are working closely with our employer partners to help keep you informed of their plans. Here are some of the ways we can work with you remotely:

  • Appointments – Our advisers are taking appointments each week. You can choose to make an appointment by phone or via video conference. Schedule your appointments in Handshake as always, and be sure to select your preferred medium.
  • Same Day Virtual “Drop Ins” – Starting Monday, April 6th, you will be able to make same day virtual drop-in appointments. These 15-minute drop-ins will be available as an appointment type in Handshake and will be conducted by Google Hangouts or Zoom. 
  • Handshake Apart from making appointments with our staff, check Handshake regularly as employers continue to post jobs and message students. You can also search for any virtual events that employers may be hosting!
  • Document Review – We are continuing to review resumes and cover letters. Please have your resume and cover letter as a Google doc and during your appointment you will share it with the coach you are working with in order to review and edit it in real time.
  • Digital Resources – Visit Strommen’s Community Moodle site for online resources as well as Strommen’s website for links to valuable information. 

We know this is a stressful time. If we can be of any assistance to you, please take advantage of the above resources or reach out to us!

If you have questions contact us at:


Auggies Engaged in Public Policy

Augsburg Capitol Pathways 2020
Capitol Pathways 2020 Cohort


Eight Augsburg students were accepted into the 2020 Capitol Pathways cohort. Since 2016, the Capitol Pathways program from the Citizens League places college students of color in paid internships with government offices, nonprofits, corporations, and law firms where they can gain experience and build relationships in and around the Capitol.

Each year during Minnesota’s legislative session, interns can expect to accomplish several things that will help them in their future careers:

  • Build relationships with established policy leaders
  • Gain exposure to various kinds of careers in government
  • Get real-world experience in career fields they would like to learn more about
  • Create a strong professional resume

Learn more about Capitol Pathways  at


Get to know the Augsburg students who are part of the 2020 Capitol Pathways Cohort.


In’am Al-Hamouri
Internship Site: Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy

In’am Al-Hammouri, a senior at Augsburg University, is majoring in psychology, with an aspiration to attend law school. In’am has been serving on the Young Women’s Initiative of Minnesota for two years as a cabinet member. In’am is committed to creating equitable policies and outcomes for women throughout the state of Minnesota. Additionally, she is a member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. In’am’s passion lies in Women’s rights, giving women and girls a voice. She is also passionate about Middle East conflicts. In’am served in various positions, including volunteer work at Unity Hospital, providing aid to abused women.

In’am assisted in refugee camps in Jordan, lobbied, advocated in Washington D.C, and worked with elected officials on campaigning prior to elections. In’am was an intern at Barnes & Thornburg LLP. Then, she transitioned with her mentor to Hutton Kluz Evans LLP, where she is currently expanding her knowledge and experience in the area of law. During her free time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, traveling, and trying new foods.

Estefani Guiracocha
Internship Site: Catholic Charities

Estefani is a second year student at Augsburg University. She is majoring in Public Policy and Accounting. Estefani is a first generation college student and hopes to pursue a career in Public Policy, advocating for marginalized and underrepresented communities. She is a TRIO/SSS student, a program that helps first generation students and low-income students overcome class, social and cultural barriers in order to complete their college education. Estefani will be interning at Catholic Charities where she will serve those that are in most need and advocate for justice in the community.

As a student at Augsburg University, Estefani has served in many leadership roles. She served as a representative in the Augsburg Day Student Government as a Class Senator. Other campus activities include being a Resident Advisor where she advises 34 first-year students and serves as a role model. Estefani also volunteers at Banyan Community which is a program designed to develop youth, strengthen families and create communities. Her passion for social justice drove her to apply to Capitol Pathways and saw this as an opportunity to learn more about the legislative process and the power that communities can have. She aspires to continue being a leader in the Latinx Community and continue making a pathway for those that come after.Through her experiences, she aspires to grow and a lead a fortune 500 company and eventually become an entrepreneur. She hopes to open new opportunities for women and first generation students.

Ivonne Hernandez
Internship Site: Ewald Consulting

Ivonne is a Junior at Augsburg University majoring in Political Science and International Relations. Prior to attending Augsburg, Ivonne received her Associates of Arts Degree at Minneapolis College where she served as a Secretary for the student organization, Raíces Unidas, and as a Director of Diversity for the Student Senate. Currently, Ivonne holds a position as a Youth Program Specialist with the nonprofit organization, Pillsbury United Communities. Ivonne loves her job because she can see the great things that youth are capable of when they are given the opportunity. Ivonne and her team focus on several opportunities to better
serve middle school and high school aged youth, some which include internships, civic engagement, goal setting, workshop presentations, and entrepreneurship learning.

As a student of color and a first generation college student, Ivonne recognizes that she has limited resources and networks to provide her with the tools that she might need to succeed after college. This is why Ivonne applied for the Minnesota Capitol Pathways Internship program. Ivonne is very excited and proud to be a part of this cohort. Ivonne has been placed with Ewald Consulting for the Spring 2020 legislative session. During her time at Ewald she will work closely with the Government and Media Relations team by monitoring committee hearings, attending floor sessions, and working on weekly articles and social media platforms. Ivonne is very excited and looking forward to strengthening her knowledge around public policy, and creating long lasting relationships.

Ahlam Mussa
Internship Site: Fredrikson & Byron, P.A.

Ahlam is currently a sophomore at Minneapolis Community & Technical College and will be graduating at Augsburg University with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science, Pre-Law Concentration and a Communication Studies minor. She is exclusively a member of the Phi Kappa Theta Sorority and has been a part of different minority-based advocacy groups and organizations. She has centered a lot of her volunteer work in her own community of Cedar-Riverside, being the voice to both the youth and elders in this East African based community. As a first generation college student of two immigrant parents, she has decided to pursue a career in civil and immigration rights. She has joined the Capitol Pathways program to broaden her aspects on the kind of work she wants to do post-grad, whether it be policy work or otherwise. She plans to attend law school straight out from undergrad and utilize her J.D. to make a change on behalf of minority backgrounds and immigrants. Currently, Ahlam is interning with Fredrikson and Byron and representing clients to campaign for certain bills as she learns the policy making process.

Abdulkadir Sharif
Internship Site: Lockridge Grindal Nauen P.L.L.P

Abdulkadir Sharif is a graduating senior at Augsburg University, pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and Public Policy. At Augsburg, Abdulkadir has been involved with the pan-Afrikan student union, student government and residence life. He is also a Bonner Leader Scholar where he has interned with the Minneapolis Public Schools, Trinity Lutheran Congregation, Pan-Afrikan Center and the Environmental Stewardship Committee. Additionally, Abdulkadir was awarded a David L. Boren Scholarship to study in Tanzania, is a recipient of the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship to South Africa and Namibia and was most recently a Public Policy and International Affairs fellow at Princeton University. Abdulkadir hopes to one day pursue a career in foreign policy, focusing on economic development, conflict resolution and security in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Abdulkadir applied to the Capitol Pathways program to better understand the legislative process, Minnesota politics and how to effectively advocate for marginalized communities. Abdulkadir will be interning with Lockridge Grindal Nauen P.L.L.P this legislative session.

Lay Lay Zan
Internship Site: City of Minneapolis

Lay Lay is a Karen, third-year student, and Act Six scholar at Augsburg University majoring in International Relations with a concentration in pre-law and minoring in French. Lay Lay is a 1.5 generation immigrant and a first-generation college student, and she aspires to become an immigration lawyer for the Karen community in Minnesota. As a student at Augsburg University, Lay Lay has served in leadership roles. She was the relations and Marketing officer for the Augsburg Asian Student Association (AASA), and a food coordinator for Campus Kitchen and Campus Cupboard. Her interests and passion for social justice and civic engagement led her to be a part of the of the LEAD Fellows (Leaders for Equity, Action, and Democracy) program that is a part of the national network of Bonner Programs, that has allowed her to serve and engage with her campus community.

In her home community, Lay Lay is passionate about advocacy and development for the Karen community. She is a board member of the Karen Football Association, a non-profit organization that is the official governing body of the Karen Women’s and Men’s National Soccer Teams, with the purpose to promote gender equity. This experience has only increased her passion to serve underrepresented communities, and this is why she applied to the Capitol Pathways program. It is imperative for students of color to be involved at the capitol, because government should be representative of our communities.


Original source for bios:




Understanding the Legislative Process through an Internship

Abdulkadir A. Sharif is part of the Citizens League Capitol Pathways program and a senior at Augsburg University, studying Political Science and International Relations. He has specialized in public policy, international abdulkadir sharif capitol pathways programdevelopment, and conflict resolution. Mr. Sharif has participated in multiple leadership opportunities that have allowed him to gain a wide range of skills.

At Augsburg University, he has been involved with the pan-African student union, student government, and residence life. He is also a Bonner Leader Scholar where he has interned with the Minneapolis Public Schools, Trinity Lutheran Congregation, Pan-African Center, and the Environmental Stewardship Committee. Mr. Sharif was awarded the 2018 Student Leader of the Year at Augsburg University. Additionally, he was awarded a David L. Boren Scholarship to study in Tanzania and is a recipient of the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship to South Africa and Namibia. While in Namibia, he interned with the Namibia Institute for Democracy as a research assistant focusing on civic engagement and anti-corruption mechanisms in the country.

Most recently Mr. Sharif was a Public Policy and International Affairs fellow at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. He hopes to one day pursue a career in international development focusing on economic advancement.


Mr. Sharif  has joined Lockridge Grindal Nauen (LGN) state government relations team for the 2020 Legislative Session.


Original source:


Internships Give Insight into Future Careers

Written by: Matt Lubega ‘ 20
Communication Studies Major | Leadership Studies Minor


Civastina Kyewaa, is a fourth year student majoring in Mathmatematics and Mathematical Economics with a minor in Statistics. Civastina interned at Wolters Kluwer as a Business Analyst Intern during the 2019 summer.

Civastina Kyewaa



A typical day at Wolters Kluwer for Civastina consisted of creating excel sheets to analyze data and shadowing other colleagues in her office. Civastina enjoyed being able to shadow her colleagues because she was able to get exposure to different projects, work-styles, and ways to solve problems.


Civastina describes that finding her internship can be difficult and overwhelming sometimes. She suggests for students to “Reach out to the Strommen Center or any career resource programs.” and “Make sure your LinkedIn and Handshake accounts are up-to-date because you’ll never know who’s going to view you.”


Civastina’s biggest advice to be successful throughout an internship is to “Make sure to remember names! You’ll never know how someone can help you find your next step and it would be unfortunate if you didn’t even remember their name.” and “Immediately get to know the people you will be working with and don’t be afraid to ask them questions regarding careers.”


“Not only did this internship help me figure out what I want to do for a career. My experience at Wolters Kluwer prepared me for my current internship in the Information Technology department at Fairview health and Services”.

Learn New Skills Through an Internship

Written by: Matt Lubega ‘ 20
Communication Studies Major | Leadership Studies Minor


Faiza Jama, Third-Year majoring in Computer Science with minors in Management Information Systems and Mathematics. In the summer of 2019, Faiza interned with Thrivent Financial as their Marketing and Insights Intern. A typical day in this role was working on various projects that consisted of gathering beneficial information and data for Thrivent.


Faiza was excited about this internship because she got to learn new tools that will benefit her in a future career. She learned tools like Python, which is a programming and coding language that is used for website development. Faiza had little experience working with Python entering her internship, but at the end of her internship, her Python skills improved tremendously.


Faiza related her struggles with the internship, “This internship was challenging but in a good way! Don’t be discouraged, struggling on projects can also be a form of learning. So any student who is looking for an internship or career that involves data should be prepared to find outside resources to support you throughout your work. It sounds weird, but a lot of YouTube videos on coding and research helped me out through my projects this summer.”


She also mentions the importance of problem-solving in an internship as “Your supervisor will be impressed with you if you’re able to problem-solve on your own. So utilizing your outside sources may be better than constantly asking your supervisor how to fix or do things. Still don’t be afraid to ask your supervisor questions or guidance if you’re stuck!”


After this internship experience, Faiza realized that coding daily may not be the best thing for her, but she enjoyed the market research aspect of this internship.


When asked about advice for students during the beginning of their internship Faiza states:

“Try to get to know the people in your workspace, You’ll never know which people can help you succeed or who could be a great resource. Also, you can meet life-long friends with other interns or staff!”

Faiza is a 2019 recipient of the Augsburg University Endowed Scholarship.

Find your own internship opportunity through Handshake or one of the many career fairs that are hosted throughout the year.

Finding a New Future by Being an Intern

Written by: Matt Lubega ‘ 20
Communication Studies Major | Leadership Studies Minor


Alexandria Avre is a Fourth-year majoring in Communication Studies. Alexandria is the current intern for BestPrep, which is a non-profit that provides students with career and financial skills. Alexandria is their Communication and Events intern for the 2019 – 2020 academic year.


A typical day in this position consists of creating clever social media posts, editing photos, and attending team meetings. Alexandria has always loved event planning, and this internship is aallowing her to gain real experience in planning, facilitating, and coordinating events for a larger audience. When events are approaching, Alexandria’s days can switch from social media related tasks to developing plans for decorations, food, rentals, and creating promotions for the events.


So far, Alexandria has assisted with two major events for BestPrep which was a luncheon and a fundraiser. This is where she was able to leverage her communication skills by coordinating and promoting the events. This allowed her to communicate internally and network with employees of BestPrep. The fundraiser event is where she put her social media marketing skills to the test to help promote the campaign.


Alexandria shares how she got this internship by volunteering for BestPrep during one of their summer events. This example shows how important networking and volunteering can be towards your future career. As she was actively seeking an internship and received a recommendation after volunteering.


When asked about how this internship would affect her future, Alexandria states: “Being an intern at BestPrep made me reconsider where I may end up in the future. Before I started, I had no idea how I would apply my major in the workforce or the route I may take.  During my time there I came to realize I enjoy being on the developmental side for events and value the concept of teamwork.”

For opportunities to explore careers and find jobs and internships visit Handshake.