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Not All U.Va. Students Will Spend Spring Break On The Beach

March 1, 2000 -- For many University of Virginia students, mid-March will not be awash in the sea. Friday, March 10, to Sunday, March 19, provides an opportunity for many students to explore their careers or help others through community service.

"Tuning In" to the Future

On Monday, March 13, approximately 200 U.Va. students will immerse themselves in the working world as they begin a week-long, unpaid "externship" in the field of their choice. The EXTERN program, offered by University Career Services, is designed to allow students to explore career options and gain experience.

In one of the largest and most extensive externship programs in the country, students can choose from more than 6,100 sponsors in such fields as zoology, social services, banking, retail, museums, journalism and advertising. Popular internships include the Supreme Court and NBC’s "Meet the Press."

The EXTERN program serves two purposes, according to coordinator Hilary Kerner. "Sometimes it helps students to explore their career interests and realize a particular field is not a good fit for them," she said. "Other times, students think ‘wow, this is really interesting work,’ and they may even be offered an internship as a result of their experience."

Sponsors benefit by pre-screening potential employees and helping college students make career decisions, Kerner said.

For more information, contact Hilary Kerner at (804) 924-8902 or

"Tuning In" to International Aid

Though a warm locale in Central America is the destination of 12 U.Va. nursing students, there will be little relaxation in the sun. The members of Nursing Students Without Borders, a new student-run organization, will travel to San Sebastian, El Salvador, to assist the Red Cross Clinic in providing basic health care and to educate the impoverished community’s citizens on health issues.

The students will travel with a physician, dietician and registered nurse Saturday, March 11, through Saturday, March 18. They will bring donated medical supplies and clothes to a community destroyed by revolutionary fighting and natural disaster. They will also provide aid and basic hygiene education to some of the town’s 23,000 residents.

Third-year nursing student Matthew Walden formed Nursing Students Without Borders to bring together those who wanted to teach and provide health care to Third World communities. The trips are also intended to expand the perspective and education of American nursing students.

"I know that we’ll all learn much more about our intuitive nursing abilities when we’re tested in the field," Walden said. "I also hope we all come away with an even deeper appreciation for the community we are fortunate to live in, while understanding and appreciating our own potential."

All trip participants understand Spanish and have international travel experience. Travel expenses are paid for by donations to the organization. Five more trips are planned to San Sebastian, and the next group will leave in early July.

For more information, contact Matthew Walden at (804) 293-3931 or

"Tuning In" to Community Service

Sweating in the sun takes on a literal meaning for more than 55 U.Va. students dedicating their spring break to working in fields and communities. Participants of the Madison House Alternative Spring Break Program, they will renovate homes and buildings, aid flood victims and work in soup kitchens.

"Our mission is to offer a week-long community service opportunity in the U.S. or abroad where students can make a concrete contribution to a community," said program director and third-year student Joe Bilby.

This year, four student groups will travel around the region and to South America.

Bilby said it is not difficult to get students to abandon the beach for community service. This year, the program had more applicants than spaces available, even though the students have to pay their own expenses, including airfare.

For more information, contact student leaders going to the following sites:

Cochebamba, Bolivia – Students will help a nonprofit organization build an orphanage for a poor community in the Andes Mountains. Bolivia site leaders are Ryan Harvey, (804) 982-6796 and, and Rob Wavra, (804) 243-1594 and

New York City – Students will complete many tasks around the city, including aiding a soup kitchen and working in housing rehabilitation. New York site leaders are Kathleen Coyle, (804) 243-3150 and, and James Tysse, (804) 970-1795 and

El Paso, Tex. – Students will work on border issue awareness and aid immigrants coming across the Mexican border. Texas site leaders are Fatimah Williams, (804) 243-3271 and, and Kari Teagno, (804) 982-6556 and

Hot Springs, N.C. – Students will provide aid to families and flood victims in this Blue Ridge community. North Carolina site leaders are Abby Fifer, (804) 923-3271 and, and Heidi Schroeder, (804) 243-3122 and

For more information about the Alternative Spring Break Program, contact program director Joe Bilby at (804) 245-8221 or

Contact: Jill Johnson, (804) 924-7116

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: please contact the Office of University Relations at (804) 924-7116. Television reporters should contact the TV News Office at (804) 924-7550.
SOURCE: U.Va. News Services


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