Almost weekly I get asked by colleagues and clients, “Nicole, how and where can I find a student intern?”  Since 2009, DECO has hired over 125 student interns, and has helped multiple state agencies and regional businesses employ Towson students.

Even more amazing is that 13 of our current 76 employees are former student interns, here’s a bit more about a few of them.  In this week’s post (my first post as an “official blogger”) I’m going to share with you my tips & tricks on finding and hiring the very best student interns.


  • Craft an exciting job description.  Students aren’t going to apply for your internship if they think they’ll be standing at the copy machine for hours on end. Describe the ways in which you are going to provide real-world experience. What is your intern going to get out of their internship? What kind of connections will they make for future jobs?
  • Make the experience a valuable one.  The more you put into your internship program, the more you’ll get back. When you create a valuable and memorable experience, you’ll attract great candidates.
  • Pay your interns.  The fact-of-the-matter is that student debt doubled between 1996 and 2006. If you want great interns, I think you need to invest in them.


  • Get overwhelmed by the hiring process.  Towson University offers many valuable resources to help departments and organizations hire students.  Hire@TU is TU’s internship database and helps place hundreds of interns a year.  Additionally, if you have a contact at the University, pass your job description to them – word-of-mouth recruiting works wonders.
  • Set unattainable expectations.   An internship provides an opportunity for the student to put what they are learning in the classroom to work. Thus it’s important to remember they are still learning!  Expect that in addition to training them on the project or projects they’ll focus on you may also need to mentor them on working in a business environment.

I began working for Bobbie in 2008 as a DECO intern. Four years later, I’m here as a full-time employee just beginning the process of hiring my own intern and how exciting it is to finally be on the other side of the table!

Center for GIS student interns verifying a broadband hotspot: Alex Stapleton, Justin Mannion, and James Parmeter