Dream Careers launches Ozarks student into West Coast summer internship

Release Date: 6/27/2012

One of the most useful assets any college graduate can list on his or her resume is the internship experience. It is in fact just that: actual experience, as opposed to book or classroom knowledge.

Bill Eldridge

Ozarks senior Bill Eldridge is spending the summer in San Francisco in an internship for Glam Media.

The trick is getting a good one. For Derek "Bill" Eldridge, a senior business major from Pollard, Ark., a little internet savvy led to a program that suited his needs just fine.

"The program I'm part of is called Dream Careers," says Eldridge, who is spending the summer in San Francisco. "Essentially, you hire them as an agent to secure you an internship, which is easier for them because they've had years to develop contracts, contacts and working relationships with these companies."

There are countless internship opportunities available, Eldridge says. But actually securing one is not easy in a very competitive market for college students needing this type of experience. "I actually found out about it on Internships.com, a web site I was introduced to by Kimberly Spicer at U of O Career Services," he said. "The application process wasn't all that difficult, and the program includes housing, food, various extracurricular events, onsite professional staff, a number of seminars, networking opportunities, help with a professional resume, and just about any other form of support you'd need."

Eldridge is working through July 27 for Glam Media, a content-and-advertisement company, in project management. Glam Media is a privately held media company with more than 1,500 lifestyle web sites and blogs. "Unfortunately, the projects I'm working on are of a proprietary nature," said Eldridge, "so I can't go blabbing about details. I will say that most of my work involves market research and spreadsheets; lots of spreadsheets."

So far, he says, the experience has been extremely positive. The trip west was his first experience flying. "That was actually pretty darn cool," he said. "Check-in at the airport was nowhere near as bad as I had been led to believe, for one thing. Secondly, I flew on Virgin America, which has a lot of amenities on board. Arriving and getting situated were also pretty painless, since that was mostly taken care of by Dream Careers. I got a lot of bang for my buck with this program, that's for sure."

As with most of life's endeavors, Eldridge says, money is a challenge. "San Francisco is an expensive city," he said. "If you're about to embark on a summer-long internship, I suggest you get yourself quite secure some months in advance, money-wise. Check to see if your bank has a branch in the city you'll be interning in. If not, find another bank which does and open an account there for the summer. Fortunately, I'm good for food. I received a grocery card as part of my internship arrangement."

The big city life has proven somewhat different than he'd imagined. "Daily life in San Francisco is pretty good, though," he said. "I can get anywhere throughout the Bay Area inexpensively on Bay Area Rapid Transit. I attended an Episcopalian service yesterday at Grace Cathedral, atop Nob Hill."

Eldridge, a longtime fan of fantasy and science fiction, says his favorite part so far of his experience is the ocean. "I saw it for the first time one day in my first week here," he said. "In Lord of the Rings, Tolkien said that the Elves had an ancestral love and calling to the sea. I have to say I now sympathize. It's pretty magnificent."

One thing his summer experience has made clear to him is the importance of networking. "Networking is everything," he said, "especially in Silicon Valley."

Eldridge says that the wonderful feeling of acceptance he has received as part of the Ozarks community, more than anything else, has served him well in this very different environment. "This internship is like Ozarks, only cranked up to 11," he said. "The main change to my plans upon returning home is that I will be doing everything in my power to get back out here once I graduate!"