Pathways to Success at Soka: Shaping Careers Through Diverse Opportunities and Hands-On Experience

June 04, 2024
The Career Development and Internships Office team poses for a photo at their table outside the Bistro

A hallmark of SUA’s multidisciplinary liberal arts education is the diversity of Soka students’ academic and professional interests. This diversity is on brilliant display in the range of organizations that recently hired Soka students for internships, from Microsoft and Morgan Stanley to the Neurosurgery Preceptorship Program at Ochsner Medical Center and Tulane University.

Soka’s Career Development and Internships Office recognizes that career development is a life-long process of professional growth in which each student follows a unique developmental path that includes education, self-reflection, practical implementation, and time.

“Our office is dedicated to facilitating diverse and meaningful internship opportunities that not only enrich students’ academic journeys but also lay the groundwork for contributive and fulfilling career paths after graduation,” said Alisa Proctor, head of internships for the office.

During the 2023-24 academic year, the office offered a range of career development programs, workshops, information sessions, on-campus recruiting opportunities, and collaborative career-focused events to help students find and secure jobs and internships. As a vital bridge between academic learning and practical skills, internships provide on-the-job training, professional connections, and entry-level skills valued by employers and graduate schools. The office offers several programs and activities designed to facilitate student participation in internships:

  • InternX (Internship Experience Program): A career development program focused on helping domestic students secure paid professional internships. The current InternX cohort included 20 domestic students, and nearly all participants secured an internship in their desired career pathway.
  • Curricular Practical Training (CPT) for international students: SUA offers CPT authorization, allowing international students to pursue off-campus internships in the U.S. This year, SUA has had a record number of summer CPT applications, reflecting an increase in the number of international students securing summer internships.
  • Summer internship grant: To support students pursuing internships aligned with their career goals, the Career Development Office provides a summer internship grant, offering up to $2,000 for those who have secured unpaid internships in their home country.

The office’s webpage offers a variety of resources for students hoping to find summer internships, including job search links, templates, hiring timelines, and information on career pathways. The SUA Internship Database and BIG Internships/Fellowships List also provide students with a growing list of curated opportunities.

Proctor believes the connection between expanding such opportunities and the university’s mission is vital. “By nurturing global citizens and supporting hands-on experiences,” she said, “students are equipped to thrive in their future endeavors.”

This is a partial list of organizations that have recently hired SUA students as interns:

  • Microsoft
  • Bank of America
  • DoorDash
  • Autodesk
  • CNO Financial Group
  • Argus Media
  • Morgan Stanley
  • YMCA
  • Experian
  • Glaukos
  • Futaba
  • Carleton College
  • University of Michigan
  • Boeing
  • Orange County Fire Authority
  • City of Aliso Viejo
  • HOTB Software
  • Laguna Ocean Foundation
  • Seed Consulting Group
  • Karmant Learning
  • Newport Bay Conservancy
  • Neurosurgery Preceptorship Program at Ochsner Medical Center/Tulane University
  • World Affairs Council
  • Breakthrough
  • Earthroots
  • Juaneño Band of Mission Indians Acjachemen Nation
  • Peace and Justice Law Center

Summer Research Programs

In addition to professional internship opportunities, SUA also offers two summer research programs that provide research experience to students while supporting faculty research initiatives: the President’s Research Assistantship Program and the Summer Student Research Assistantship Program. Both programs are designed to promote a collaborative environment where students can hone their research skills and contribute to important academic projects.

The President’s Research Assistantship Program allows full-time faculty to employ student research assistants for up to 10 hours a week during the summer. For the 2024 summer term, 10 faculty members and 14 students will work on a variety of research topics:

  • Editorial Assistance for Ethos
  • Partial Sovereignty: The Politics of Self-Government for Minority Nations
  • Digital History: Archives, Race, and Colonialism
  • RMB Internationalization and Exchange Rate Exposure of Chinese Listed Firms
  • Interactions of Mitochondrial Outer Membrane Proteins with the Ribosome
  • Documentary Film and Political Economy
  • Policy Momentum and Environmental Protection
  • Characterization of Aromatic Schiff Bases

The Summer Student Research Assistantship Program, supported by the Nieves Family Foundation and the John Stauffer Charitable Trust, enables students to work closely with faculty on laboratory and non-laboratory research projects. For the 2024 summer term, five faculty members will work with five students to explore the following non-laboratory research topics:

  • Generation of Complete Residue Systems by Random Walks
  • Character Network Analysis and Investigation of Large Language Models
  • Queer Archives as Queer Bodies: Protest as Archival Practice
  • Partial Sovereignty: The Politics of Self-Government Among Minority Nations
  • Assessment of Hannah Arendt’s Concept of the Banality of Evil
  • Where History and Religion Meet: Interwoven Narratives in Western India

This summer’s laboratory assistantships will see five faculty members and nine students working on the following laboratory research projects:

  • Understanding Which Peptides in Naja Kaouthia Venom Promote Yeast Growth
  • Porewater Sulfate Interactions With Methane Production in a Freshwater Wetland Sediment
  • Investigating the Mechanisms of PQDHBH-Induced Cancer Cell Death
  • Characterization of Reflectin Phase Separation Using Purified Protein
  • Production of Optimized Tandem Repeat Reflectins With Variable Compositions of Critical Cryptic Residues
  • Optimizing Nanoparticle Filtration Techniques
  • Discovering Calcium Sensing Receptor Modulators From Natural Products and Dietary Compounds
  • Synthesis of Imines in Eco-Solvents