Internships

The COMS 499 Internship

The COMS 499 internship is a communications-related activity that is required to finish your degree in communications studies. The majority of our students say that their internships have led them to jobs or to the next step in their career path, and it just may be one of the most important classes you take while at Sonoma State.

Hillary Homzie

Hillary Homzie

As you get ready for your internship, please consider the following guidelines. If you have further questions, contact Hillary Homzie, the internship coordinator in the School of Arts and Humanities. 

These are the steps for securing an internship:

1) The first step is to decide what sort of internship interests you.

For example, would you like to work for a winery? Retail? A non-profit or government agency? In human resources? In a public school? A film festival? A newspaper or radio station? Are you interested in administrative work? Social services? Even planning? Creating an in-house newsletter? Please note that COMS major must do an internship involving a COMs related activity, such as marketing, public relationships, editing, broadcasting, advertising or journalism.

2) Make sure you have a polished resume and a cover letter.

It's important to have a resume in place as well as to craft a compelling cover letter introducing yourself. You will want to always follow up when you send out inquiries and sound enthusiastic and respectful.

3)Make an appointment at the Career Center, International Hall 107

Visit during the drop in hours between 11AM-4PM Monday - Thursday and the career center will critique your resume as well as your cover letter.  I also recommend that you take a career test at the Center as well as sign up for Handshake, a job and internship search portal offered through the Career Center.

For further career and internship consultation, you may schedule a session with Arts and Humanities Career Advisor, Becky Young. Becky can recommend strategies that will focus on your interests and strengths. She can also show you how to search for an internship. Her email is becky.young@sonoma.edu.

4) Start your internship search.

You can also simply call up places that interest you as well as email. However, I recommend starting with a phone call. Area employers are always thrilled to hear from Sonoma State students. Simply ask them if they will have internships for undergraduate students in the spring semester. 

Check your email regularly for COMS internship opportunities sent by Administrative Analyst, Shelly Stephens. The early bird gets the worm. Also, remember to speak with other students who have done internships and ask for recommendations as well as network through family and friends. The internship office bulletin always has a listing of internships. You can find internship through Internet searches, but you will often have the most luck sticking with local and regional employers. In addition to looking for internships in Santa Rosa, consider looking in Petaluma, Sonoma, and Healdsburg as well as Napa County, Marin County and San Francisco. While an in-person internship is preferable, you may complete a virtual internship as long as there is sufficient training and supervision. Some students have found internships at their current place of employment but have shifted responsibilities for their internships. For example, students who work in retail or in recreation or hospitality have asked their employer if they can take on COMs related activities.

You cannot use service industry job (waiter, bartender, salesclerk) as an internship.  Also, the internship can be unpaid, as long as the internship offers training and your work is not replacing the work of a staff employee.  Many students find paid internships to be preferable, but they are not necessarily available, especially in the following organizations: non-profit organizations, journalism and public relations.

There are also plenty of internship possibilities right here on campus. It's just a matter of asking! 

5) Once you have nabbed a semester-long internship, fill out your internship agreement/contract and get your internship supervisor's signature. 

Please note that COMS internship agreement as well as the contact sheet and the advising logs are available on the COMS website. You will need all three forms in order to register. You cannot register online. You must hand in your paperwork to Hillary Homzie in person. And you will need to print out two copies of the advising log http://web.sonoma.edu/communications/internships/forms.html

6) Decide how many units that you want for your internship

You must work 45 hours per one unit. That means for a four-unit class, you would need to work 180 hours. Make sure that this fits your schedule. Remember you can sign up for a one-unit, two-unit, three-unit or four-unit internship. Some students even sign up for multiple internships in one semester. 

It's always best to check in with your academic advisor to see if you are on track to graduate and to figure out how many units you might need. Typically, a COMS student can take up to 8 units of internships (sometimes more). Always check in with your advisor first as everyone comes in with unique and different needs.

7) Once you have filled out the contract as well as the contact sheet and (2) copies of the advising log, then visit me during my office hours, to get my signature. 

YOU NEED MY SIGNATURE in order to register.

8) After you have my signature, you would personally hand the contract/agreement to Shelly, the Administrative Analyst, Communications, (Nichols 364; phone 707-664-2149).

Shelly will obtain Communications Chair Ed Beebout's signature, as well as the Dean's signature. The dean's office will give it to Dennis Goss, the Scheduler, who then sends it on the Registrar. After you given you contract/agreement to Shelly, it will take about five to seven business days for the class to show up in your portal. It is your responsibility to make sure that the class, COMS 499, shows up in your portal and with the correct number of units. If you receive financial aid, please mark financial aid in capital letters at the top of your agreement/contract.

How are you assessed and receive a grade?

The midterm/final internship performance reviews can be downloaded on the COMS 499 Canvas course. You can also download them from the COMS website. Once you download an evaluation, have your supervisor fill it out and upload it to Canvas.

There are several ways to handle the midterm and final evaluation. The easiest way is to print it out, then hand it to your supervisor in person and have them fill it out. Next you would scan the entire document or take photos of each page and upload it to Canvas. Note, you must send images or scans or every page.

The alternative way is to email the evaluation to your supervisor and have them fill out the Word version(or print out the PDF version) and send it back to you via email and then you download the document onto Canvas.

Additionally, at the end of the semester, you will fill out a self-survey via email (through Qualtrics).

It is your responsibility to make sure that the supervisor receives and fills out the midterm and final evaluations. In order to receive a grade and your units, I must receive the midtern, the final and the self-survey.  Lateness will affect your grade.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to be in touch. The majority of our students say that their internships have led them to jobs or to the next step in their career path. It may one of the most important classes that you sign up for here at Sonoma State.

All best,

Hillary Homzie

Faculty, Communications
Coordinator, Internships
Arts & Humanities
Sonoma State University
Carson 51