Fall 2015 PDSXS studentsEleven seniors from the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication (SOJC) recently concluded the Portland Senior Experience (PDXSX), marking the program’s 18th cohort.

Started in 2006, the PDXSX is a term-long internship program that is available to all SOJC majors. Students are based in Portland at the UO’s Portland Turnbull Center and are partnered with one of the program’s 120 professional partners.

Following the fall cohort, seven students were offered full-time employment or an internship extension, mimicking the history of the program that sees more than 60 percent of its participants receive permanent positions post-internship.

Advertising major Kate Schwartz was one of the students who earned a permanent position where she interned. Schwartz is now the assistant brand manager at Portland advertising agency R/West.

“The Portland Senior Experience is the reason I have my current job,” Schwartz says. “The program helped me get my foot in the door and create relationships that resulted in two job offers at the end of my Portland Senior Experience. I learned about how the business works and how to assert myself.”

Students are also given the opportunity to earn a Staniak scholarship, a gift that is designed for students who intern at a non-profit. Started in 2011, the fund provides $10,000 each year to interns.

“As a Staniak recipient I had the option of not having to commit as many hours to a permanent job and focus on my internship,” journalism major Kathy Kwong, who worked at The Beaverton Valley Times says. “I transferred my job to Portland in order to participate in the PDXSX, however my employers did not have a position for me when I moved to Portland. The scholarship helped me through the transition and paid for my expenses.”

With special emphasis placed on interviewing, networking and professional development, the PDXSX program has become a resource for the professional community to access the best and brightest SOJC students.

“Given the competitive professional marketplace for journalism and communication careers, the PDXSX program has been instrumental in getting SOJC students top-tier internships and many entry positions by providing our students with significant experience, an established network of relationships, portfolio materials and letters of recommendation, all before they graduate from college,” Josh Netzer instructor in strategic communications and Portland Senior Experience coordinator says.

“This puts our PDXSX students at an extreme advantage over graduates from other schools – a remarkable feat when one considers that SOJC students who are on an academic quarter system and graduate in mid-June, are beating out their competition that is on a semester system and tend to graduate in early May.”

The Spring 2015 cohort has made offers to 19 students, all whom have accepted and will begin their internships in March.

Story by Celina Baguiao