Estee Lauder intern gains 'edge' for future success

When Stephanie Metzger walked through the doors of Estee Lauder in Manhattan, she never realized how a summer internship could transform her Penn State education. Metzger, a junior majoring in Spanish and education, had been accepted to the Chapel Executive Internship program, which gave her a $5,000 stipend so she could afford to work in New York City.

The Virginia Todd Chapel Executive Internship Program was established by Virginia ‘Jinnie’ Todd Chapel and her husband, John, with leadership gifts creating a $2 million endowment. When fully funded, the program will be able to provide $5,000 internship awards to nearly 20 students each year, under the direction of The Career Enrichment Network in the College of the Liberal Arts. Metzger was among the nine Chapel interns interviewed and selected last summer from many applicants. She believed the internship program empowered her to participate in an opportunity she otherwise would not have been able to do.

"This program allowed me to live in a big city and complete a once-in-a-lifetime internship," she said. "I was able to experience corporate culture firsthand. That’s something you can’t learn in the classroom."

Chris Long, associate dean for graduate and undergraduate education, said, "Our goal is to provide our students with a 21st century liberal arts education that combines traditional liberal arts skills in communication, analytical thinking, ethical decision making, and appreciation for other cultures and other times, with new commitments to digital fluency, civic engagement, and global intelligence. The Liberal Arts Edge combines an outstanding Liberal Arts education with the extra support and skills students need to make a successful transition to the world of meaningful work. Alumni-supported initiatives such as the Chapel Executive Internship Program enable us to offer substantive undergraduate enrichment opportunities to some of our  hardest working and ambitious students."

The Chapel Executive Internship Program encourages Liberal Arts students who excel academically to pursue premium internships in the private sector. Although Metzger has spent time working with children in a school classroom, she truly enjoyed the corporate experience and was impressed by the family-like atmosphere at the American company known for its prestigious skincare and makeup products. Metzger's boss also encouraged her to network with other professionals and to learn about the different departments.

More than half of the 40 interns at Estee Lauder were graduate students attending Ivy League universities and colleges, and all of them had business-related majors.

"Because of my background in linguistics, I was able to offer input on how Estee Lauder could market makeup in different linguistics terms," Metzger said. "I was flexible and could problem solve, whereas other interns focused on only doing what they already knew how to do. I soon realized that my liberal arts background gave me an edge over the other interns, because I was able to see outside the box."

What are the next steps for Metzger?

She will be teaching in the Dominican Republic during the spring semester. If schedules allow, she plans to return to Estee Lauder for an international internship at the suggestion of her supervisor.

"I encourage students to put themselves out there. You have to be open to new experiences, and you shouldn’t discount the possibilities. A Liberal Arts background can truly take you anywhere if you put your mind to it," said Metzger.

Susan Knell, director of the Career Enrichment Network, said, "The support students have received as Chapel Executive Interns has allowed them to participate in meaningful internship experiences that have introduced them to a range of career and networking opportunities that would not have been possible otherwise."

Some of the other Chapel executive interns include:

-- Samantha Allen, English and journalism, O, The Oprah Magazine in New York City
-- Alexandra Busalacchi, economics and telecommunications, NBC Universal Networks International in Miami
-- Todd Kahn, psychology and labor studies and employment relations, Liberty Mutual in Boston
-- Nico Zavaleta, economics and finance, J.F. Lehman and Company in New York City
-- Gail Goochee, human resources and employment relations, Volvo

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Last Updated December 18, 2014