Student Success Story – Emily Ziemba ’23

How hard work and the Fleishman Center staff helped Emily Ziemba ’23 secure a highly competitive NODA internship

At my undergraduate institution, SUNY Oswego, I worked as an Orientation Leader for three consecutive summers. This employment opportunity was a defining factor of my undergraduate career as it is what introduced me to the field I am now pursuing in graduate school, Student Affairs! 

As part of my curriculum, I am required to complete an internship before graduating. I was hopeful to complete my internship through a program titled NODA, the Association for Orientation, Transition, and Retention in Higher Education. In simple terms, NODA is an orientation-based internship program, where colleges and universities across the United States hire Student Affairs graduate students to intern at their institution for the summer. During my previous employment with Orientation at Oswego, I worked alongside NODA interns and learned more about the skill sets and experiences they were able to add to their resume because of this internship. This served as encouragement to apply for the program once I was eligible. 

Each school listed on the NODA website required an application, which included a resume, cover letter, and interest statement unique to the institution. Of the 200+ schools listed, and given the competitiveness of the program, I applied to 22 different schools. That meant 22 tailored cover letters, 22 interest statements personalized to the university program, and more than 22 interviews as some schools required a second round. 

This was a tedious process, and it required the support from many notable Fleishman staff members. Professional staff such as Lexie Avery and Laura Oneil continuously read over my resume and cover letters to ensure clarity and professionalism. My fellow graduate assistants and I discussed our interviewing strategies and responses in an effort to give one another ideas and different perspectives. The Fleishman Team also helped me consider my “non-negotiables,” things we know as applicants we are unwilling to sacrifice or negotiate. This helped me narrow down my long list of potential institutions, as I considered things like location, professional development, financial compensation, and fit/comfort while interviewing with each university representative. 

With the help from Fleishman, along with my personal ambition and drive, I felt confident going into “Offer Day,” the date universities could begin reaching out to candidates to offer a NODA internship with their unique program. Throughout the application and interview process, I learned how to more effectively articulate my skills and experiences through interviews and resumes. With Fleishman’s help I felt all-around more confident in my ability to be successful and bring critical insight to whatever institution chose me. 

After months of doubt due to the competitive nature of the program, I received five offers on “Offer Day.” On March 9th, I accepted a NODA Internship at the University of Wisconsin – Parkside. I will be spending my summer planning and executing New Student Orientation programs, coordinating staff development exercises and workshops, networking with Student Affairs Professionals to better understand the field, and increasing my knowledge of student needs and concerns. 

I am extremely excited for this opportunity, and I am extremely thankful for the guidance and advice the Fleishman Center has given me over the last few months. Through resume and cover letter critiques, thoughtful consideration of my interests and needs, and reassurance in interviewing abilities, I was able to secure an offer at my top choice school. 

By Emily Ziemba
Emily Ziemba Career Engagement Graduate Assistant