Eight undergraduate students at the University of Stirling have won coveted internships at some of the world’s leading companies.
They have been supported by the Saltire Foundation – a not-for-profit charity – which helps to organise the placements and also covers most of the cost of travel, accommodation and out-of-pocket expenses.
Six of the Saltire Scholars’ placements from Stirling this year are in the USA, with two in Scotland. The students’ internships will last between eight and ten weeks and run between June and September this year.
The Foundation says its support programme provides ambitious students with an “unparalleled chance to engage with global thought leaders and entrepreneurs”. It hopes it will help create the next generation of business leaders.
The lucky eight interns from the University of Stirling are:
Stefania Toka, studying Business Studies and Economics – landing an internship at AIG in New York, USA;
Lewis Baird, studying History and Politics – working for Chicago Scots in Chicago, USA;
Thea Brønlund, studying Business Studies and Economics – working for Envision Solar in San Diego, USA;
Frances Cope, studying Business Studies with Marketing – working for Flexpipe Systems in Houston, USA;
John Albert, studying Economics – working for GE at Montrose in Scotland;
Georgia Danso, studying Retail Marketing – working for GlaxoSmithKline in Montrose;
Celine Lagorio, studying Computer Science – working for Jabil Circuit in St Petersburg, USA; and
Jade Armstrong, studying Business Studies with Marketing – working for Liberty Mutual in Boston, USA.
Successful student Stefania Toka (21), originally from Athens in Greece, said she was delighted to be one of the lucky eight from the University.
She said: “I have been offered an internship at AIG (American International Group) for the Application Development position in New York.
“I am extremely excited to work in a new environment and discover the American culture. I believe that my internship will allow me to develop valuable skills in order to pursue my studies and to succeed in my future career.
“Being able to attend financial talks in the World’s Financial Centre, I really feel as though I am living the dream!”
She added: “I am amazed by the Saltire’s Foundation work and achievements. I am honoured to be part of this ‘family’ that provides life-long networking and increased opportunities.”
John Albert (20), originally from Ondo Sate, Nigeria, will be interning with General Electric (GE) Oil & Gas in Montrose this summer.
He said: “I am invigorated at the prospect of working for this hugely successful conglomerate with a global reputation. I hope to improve my commercial awareness, leadership qualities and gain as much experience as I can.
“In a nutshell, I hope to leave a remarkable impression on my employer and have a thrilling internship experience to remember.”
Stirling student Thea Brønlund (21), originally from Norway, flew out at the weekend to start her internship with Envision Solar in San Diego.
She said: “In my internship I hope to learn about planning, cost estimation, documentation, execution and finishing projects within the energy industry.
“The Saltire Foundation does not just offer a normal summer internship, but it is truly a network for life. It is kind of like a family - there to support young Scottish leaders for the future. Even though I am not Scottish, I am honoured to be a part of it. Anyone that has a chance to apply should do this. It is truly a life-changing opportunity.”
Her words were echoed by another successful Stirling student Lewis Baird (22), from Glasgow, who is studying History and Politics. He's off to work as an intern in Chicago.
He said: "I probably have never been that excited to go anywhere and still can't believe I am here. I could not ask for a better internship. It has not sunk in that I am here and have secured this job."
Katrina Forbes, Deputy Head of Service at the University of Stirling’s Career Development Centre, said: “This has been a particularly successful year for Stirling University students applying to the Saltire Foundation internship programme and we are delighted that eight students have secured placements this year.
“The programme is a great opportunity to gain valuable global business experience as interns are placed with multinational companies all over the world. It also offers students the potential to increase their employability and develop their confidence.”
The Saltire Foundation says record numbers of ambitious students based in Scotland have been attracted to their internship programme this year.
The number of Saltire Scholars for 2014 has risen by nearly a third, with a total of 132 undergraduate students taking part - up from 103 in 2013. Students will be working amongst 44 host companies and over five continents.
Sandy Kennedy, chief executive of the Saltire Foundation, said: "It is very gratifying to see such a surge in the numbers of young people who are keen to build their confidence, skills and ambition.
"Scotland's commercial reputation in the global arena can only be enhanced by this fantastic response, which beats all previous years, and we are delighted to welcome these confident, entrepreneurial and driven young potential executives."
The University of Stirling is keen to support students interested in the Saltire Scholars’ programme. Third year students can apply from October (for a scholarship opportunity in 2015). Anyone interested should contact the University’s Career Development Centre for more information and support. Find out more at www.stir.ac.uk/careers