Bemidji State’s Communication Scholars Society Connects Students to Internships and Employers

In a time when connections have been hard to forge, Bemidji State University’s Communication Scholars Society is finding new ways to build relationships between students and employers across the state.

At its conception, club founder Dr. John Perlich, associate professor of communication studies, wanted to create a student organization that would enrich Bemidji State’s new communications studies program. He wanted to not only provide students with social opportunities amidst COVID-19 but also connect them with potential internships or jobs.

“Communication is applicable to any career field or field of study,” Perlich said. “It is a vital tool that will really be useful in anyone’s career path.”

The scholar’s society welcomes students from all academic departments and explores the many ways to communicate socially and professionally. During monthly meetings, students are given a space to overcome communication anxiety, propose ideas to increase student engagement and discuss career opportunities.

“I’m trying to find internships wherever I can and connect them with students,” Perlich said.

This spring, Perlich and the communication scholars attracted the attention of Minnesota’s major league baseball team, the Twins. Atessa Majd, a human resources specialist and corporate recruiter for the Minnesota Twins, reached out Perlich looking for society scholars who may be interested in interning for the team.

“She approached me and said ‘I hear you have this communication group. Those are the kinds of students we want working for the Twins in internship positions,’” Perlich said.

Communication scholars Philip Cronkey, a senior environmental studies student from Nowthen, Minnesota, and Lisa McCollum, a social work senior from Solway, Minnesota, agree that learning communication skills is vital for all careers.

“It’s beneficial for everyone,” McCollum said. “You’re going to communicate one way or the other on a daily basis and I think everyone should at least take some communication classes if not join the communication club or minor in communication studies.”

As an environmental studies major Cronkey knows that his field requires creating connections and joined the communication scholars to bolster his ability to do so.

“I’ve gotten more comfortable speaking publicly and this club has given me opportunities to expand on these skills,” he said.

Moving forward, Perlich plans to invite guest scholars to speak to the group and continue his efforts to identify potential internships and jobs for students.

“We can connect people with professions, we can excite students about the importance of communication in all of their careers, and then more than anything we can give students a social opportunity,” Perlich said.