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Credit: Alexandra Fleischman , Elizabeth Jacobs

We may have left summer behind, but many Penn students have brought their summer internships back with them to campus.

According to Career Services Director Patricia Rose, many students have transformed their summer internships into part-time jobs that they are performing remotely through the year and even indefinitely.

“Our students are incredibly energetic, talented and able to make contributions in a lot of different arenas,” Rose said. She added that while turning summer internships into paid, part-time opportunities has been a constant phenomenon, there has been a spike of students performing social media jobs for companies while back at school.

Students today “grew up in a synchronized world where they are always online,” Rose explained. “Many employers are realizing current students are great at enhancing their social media efforts — it’s something that can be done remotely.”

Wharton senior Tara Viswanathan tapped into this social media technology craze by taking on an internship with Hatch Labs — a startup that brainstorms and finances development for mobile apps. Though the start-up company did not have an internship program, Viswanathan was contacted by a Penn graduate who saw her resume and welcomed her aboard.

Viswanathan was then offered the opportunity to continue her summer’s work indefinitely. She now works 10 hours a week and earns the same salary as she did during the summer.

Viswanathan manages her time between her job and her academic career, leaving her Fridays open to travel to New York if necessary. “I think I do my best when I’m busy,” she said.

College sophomore Lindsey Lansky also maintains her summer job in Austin, Texas, from her current Philadelphia location. A marketing and social media intern for Red Tag Media, Lansky said that she works 15 hours a week because she “would like to have her own income because Penn is so expensive.” Lansky added that she can fully manage her position directly from her computer.

Alternatively, Viswanathan said her salary is a secondary to her passion for the work.

Though both students ultimately do not see a future in a social media company, Rose believes that social media as an industry will remain strong. “My guess is that social media is here to stay, though new platforms may emerge,” she wrote in an email. “Companies have only become active [social media] users in the past couple of years … so these jobs should become more plentiful.”

However, the practice of continuing an internship from campus extends far beyond the social media sphere. College sophomore Eileen Mayro has transformed her summer internship with the Monell Chemical Senses Center on 35th and Market streets doing psychology research.

Mayro worked 15 hours per week for a small salary and has continued her research due the center’s close proximity to campus. She also does it for exploratory purposes. “I’m kind of seeing whether or not I want to do research as a career of if I want to become a doctor,” she said.

To balance her work and her academics, Mayro said she left her afternoons free so she can work for longer periods of time if need be and gave herself an additional two to three hour free block “a couple days a week” to accommodate her research.

“I worked out my schedule so that my Monday and Friday afternoons are free so that I wouldn’t stress out,” she added.

Mayro also added that she has gained increased responsibility since the summer, which she has enjoyed. Though still unsure where her path will lead, Mayro said that she hopes her psychology research this year will help her get closer to finding out.

Lansky also has mixed feelings about her position. “It’s not directly lined up with my academic interests,” she said. “It’s kind of frustrating because I could be spending 15 hours a week doing something I’m passionate about.”

Viswanathan, though she has a standing offer from Hatch Labs, also does not see an extensive future with her part-time job. Her entrepreneurial spirit will probably lead her to the tech-start up mecca: Silicon Valley. “I loved all of it,” she said. “But I see myself in the California tech industry long-term.” Viswanathan added that she wants to begin a start-up company of her own. “I want to work for my dream, not someone else’s.”

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