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July 28, 2022

Islander Interns Gain Valuable Career Experiences, Increased Wages Thanks to THECB Grant

Original version is available on Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi's website.

Written by: Barret Flaminio | July 28, 2022

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – While some students associate the summer months with a hiatus from work and school responsibilities, several Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi students decided to kickstart their professional goals with summer internship opportunities.

Thanks to a $250,000 Work-Based Learning Opportunity Grant from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB), Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi students were afforded a chance to gain real-world work experience along with a robust wage of $20 per hour. The THECB created this grant to help counteract the loss of opportunities for students seeking professional experience created by the COVID-19 pandemic and provided TAMU-CC students with the financial stability to focus on the learning experience at hand without having to divide their attention between multiple jobs to pay for living expenses.

Kaelum Messer, Internship Coordinator with the Career and Professional Development Center (CPDC) at TAMU-CC, explained that these internship opportunities create valuable and professionally enriching experiences for Islanders.

“Summer internships help bridge the gap between students and a lack of professional experience. They build strong community partnerships and allow our Islander students to serve as ambassadors for positive internship experiences,” Messer said. “Students who have a positive internship experience are more likely to recommend an organization to their peers. Having a structured internship program can provide companies in the Coastal Bend with a pipeline of future employees.”

University partners included in the THECB grant are the Port of Corpus Christi, Camp Aranzazu, Visit Corpus Christi, Bay Ltd., the Corpus Christi Regional Economic Development Corporation, and several other local organizations.

Brenda Reed, Chief Talent Officer with the Port of Corpus Christi Authority (PCCA), explained that the collaboration between TAMU-CC and PCCA is critical in ensuring that interns develop the skills needed to make them exceptional employees.

“Our interns do real-world, significant projects in all aspects of Port operations with local and global impact. Seeing them make the transition from interns to employees has been a source of great fulfillment, both for them and for us,” Reed said. “Our intern students have access to state-of-the-art equipment and technology during their PCCA internships, as well as to mentors and subject-matter experts who can serve as guides in their professional growth journeys. These factors serve them well in their career advancement.”

Carl Hilliard ’23, a computer science major, sought an internship that would allow him to apply the knowledge gained in the classroom and supplement it with real-world cybersecurity experience. Hilliard’s time at the Port has opened his eyes to the possibility of putting his degree to work here in the Coastal Bend.

“This internship has inspired me to explore cybersecurity opportunities here in Corpus Christi,” Hilliard said. “My time at the Port has confirmed that I have chosen the right field of study. The classroom is a great place to learn important concepts, but you can’t truly understand until you see how they are implemented in a real-world setting.”

Valeria Barbosa ’23, a business major, started her internship with PCCA in spring 2022 and was thrilled to be offered an extension to return as a lead intern this summer.

“The increase in pay for this summer’s internship was a relief and it allowed me to prioritize my studies without worrying about any financial barriers,” Barbosa said. “I realize how valuable my internship has been through my work with the Port’s Human Resources department. It has shown me what employers are seeking and allowed me to learn what career environment I want to work in. The Port treated me with respect, I felt valued, and I was given patience throughout my training.”

Senior health sciences major, Rachel Weaver ’22 found her true passion in working with children through her time as an intern with Camp Aranzazu. Camp Aranzazu provides environmental education and retreat experiences to children and adults with special needs and chronic illnesses.

“Seeing the campers come and push themselves has really shown me that the littlest things can change a person’s life. I now know that I want to be a part of those changes for young children,” Weaver said. “Being able to talk to hospital staff was a great networking opportunity, and the increased pay for this internship really helped me not have to worry about money for this summer.”

Program manager for Camp Aranzazu, Carleigh Mitchell explained that the work they do at the camp would not happen without their interns.

“Our interns are incredibly valuable. Everything they do here is in support of our campers, our mission, and the growth of our organization,” Mitchell said. “Not only are they a huge part of our organization, but we value pouring time and effort into teaching them new skills, providing them with leadership opportunities, and supporting their overall growth as young professionals.”

For more information about the CPDC resources available for Islander students and alumni, visit


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In Other News

Full-time and seasonal staff smile for group picture at the plaza

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Activity Leaders have the fun and impactful job of enriching the lives of our campers with special needs and chronic illnesses through unique camping, environmental studies and retreat experiences in Rockport, TX.

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We welcome your help, whether it's once a week or once a year. Below is a list of volunteer opportunities that are typically available. If you are interested in volunteering, please download the volunteer application and email the completed form to Bianca Hernandez. Thank you for your interest!

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    Activity Leader Summer 2019 Job Opportunity​​

    Every year, Camp Aranzazu hires roughly 20 college aged individuals with varying skill sets to work as Activity Leaders from mid-May to mid-August. Activity Leaders have the fun and impactful job of enriching the lives of our campers with special needs through unique camping, environmental studies and retreat experiences.

    Activity Leaders facilitate a variety of activities including, but not limited to arts and crafts, archery, high and low challenge courses, sports and games, kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, fishing, sailing, swimming, nature sessions and more!

    Benefits of this paid position include room and board and the potential to satisfy fieldwork and internship requirements in various fields of study. The buttons below include the additional documentation you will need to apply for the Activity Leader position. Email your completed application, resume and two unique and completed reference forms to our Camp Director, Amelia Haslam, and prepare for the summer camp experience of a lifetime!

    If you have any questions, contact our Camp Director, Amelia Haslam, at

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    Part-Time Receptionist

    Are you looking for a part-time job opportunity that allows you to be surrounded by nature in a supportive work environment? Camp Aranzazu currently has an opening for a part-time receptionist position on our staff. This opportunity will allow you to support our mission of enriching the lives of children and adults with special needs and chronic illnesses. To learn more about the position, click the job description below. 

    The Receptionist is responsible for overseeing functions related to the front office. The Receptionist also assists with special projects and provides some administrative support for all staff. If you are interested in the position and have any questions, please contact Lillian Anfosso, our Finance and Administative Director at 

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    Sailing Supervisor

    Imagine a position that allows you to work with campers each day and have a beautiful view of Copano Bay along the Texas Gulf Coast.

    Camp Aranzazu seeks someone with strong sailing experience to supervise our summer sailing program from mid-May through August 2019. The Sailing Supervisor will ensure that Camp Aranzazu provides a safe environment for children with special medical, physical, emotional, social or financial needs to experience sailing. Camp sessions include day camp sessions, as well as residential sessions that last from one to six nights. If you have any questions, contact our Camp Director, Amelia Haslam, at

    Make sure to check out the job description below. To apply, email your resume to Amelia Haslam. 

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    Summer Art Instructor

    Do you have a passion for providing fine arts education and working with a committed staff of people dedicated to enriching the lives of children and adults with special needs and chronic illnesses?

    Camp Aranzazu seeks someone with art teaching experience to supervise our summer fine arts program from mid-May through mid-August 2019. The Art Instructor will ensure that Camp Aranzazu provides an intentional, expressive, and safe environment for children with special medical, physical, emotional, and/or social needs to create and experience fine arts. Camp session include day camp sessions, as well as residential sessions that last from one to six nights. If you have any questions, contact our Camp Director, Amelia Haslam, at

    Make sure to check out the job description below. To apply, email your resume to Amelia Haslam. 

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