September 12, 2023

Jessica Pope
Communications and Media Relations Coordinator

Samuel Nicolas Talks Summer Internship, Future Career Goals

Samuel Nicolas, a Valdosta State University student from Lauderhill, Florida, recently completed a summer internship with Verizon. He anticipates earning a Master of Science in Industrial-Organizational Psychology from VSU in Summer 2024 and pursuing a career in corporate human resources. 

VALDOSTA — Samuel Nicolas, a Valdosta State University student from Lauderhill, Florida, recently completed a summer internship with Verizon.

Nicolas spent 10 weeks working in Basking Ridge, New Jersey, with the Human Resource Experience and Insight unit for Verizon’s new HR Answers.

“I was tasked with revamping the existing quality assurance process for HR Answers,” he shared.

Nicolas described HR Answers as a small team of professionals dedicated to providing quality and accurate information for company employees who need assistance with an HR-related matter.

“This involved creating a new, more efficient form for quality checking content generated by the case solver. Additionally, I developed an administrative plan to capture and analyze data, optimizing the workflow.”

VSU: What skills and knowledge did you gain during your internship?

NICOLAS: The internship was really eye-opening. Taking the lead on transforming the quality check process gave my project management skills a real boost. Working closely with the Verizon team improved my teamwork and communication. Plus, I became pretty skilled at handling data. All in all, I came out with sharper problem-solving, better project management, and improved collaboration skills — all while diving into the practical side of HR.

My time at Verizon showed me how careful planning and streamlined processes can make things run better. Getting advice from experienced team members helped me understand how effective teamwork and sharing knowledge can really make a difference. These new skills and experiences are things I'll definitely carry with me in my career.

VSU: How did this internship add value to your VSU experience?

NICOLAS: The internship has been a transformative addition to my experience at VSU. While classroom learning provides a strong foundation, the hands-on experience I received at Verizon has taken my skills to the next level. I've had the opportunity to apply theoretical knowledge to real-world scenarios, gaining insights that textbooks simply can't convey. The exposure to the practical aspects of the industry, the chance to work alongside seasoned professionals, and the responsibility of contributing to meaningful projects have all been incredibly valuable aspects of my internship. These experiences have not only deepened my understanding but have also boosted my confidence and readiness for the professional world.

VSU: What are your career goals?

NICOLAS: I want to grow in the human resource corporate space. A short-term goal is to receive a position as an HR analyst or HR business partner for a Fortune 100 company. A rotational program in which I can rotate through different sectors of HR would be nice. Long-term, I’d like to be a director or vice president in charge of HR for a major company. Becoming a chief human resource officer one day would be a dream.

VSU: How did this internship impact your career goals and aspirations?

NICOLAS: This internship has significantly influenced my career goals and aspirations. Before this experience, I had a theoretical understanding of my field, but being immersed in the day-to-day operations of a company like Verizon has given me a tangible perspective on the industry. It has clarified my goals and solidified my commitment to pursuing a career in this field. Engaging with professionals who are passionate about their work has inspired me to set ambitious goals and work hard to achieve them. Moreover, witnessing how different teams collaborate to achieve common objectives has broadened my view of potential career paths within the industry. Overall, this internship has reaffirmed my passion and given me a clear direction for my future career.

VSU: What advice do you have for other students considering an internship?

NICOLAS: To fellow students considering an internship, I strongly encourage you to take the leap. An internship is more than just a resume builder; it's a transformative experience that can shape your professional journey. Embrace every opportunity to learn and grow. Don't be afraid to ask questions and seek guidance from your mentors and colleagues. Be proactive in seeking out projects that align with your interests and goals. Networking is key, so make an effort to connect with professionals in your chosen field. These connections can lead to mentorship, guidance, and even potential job opportunities. Remember, an internship is a platform to bridge the gap between academia and the real world, so make the most of it by pushing your boundaries, learning as much as you can, and laying the foundation for a successful career.

Additionally, I can't stress enough the importance of leveraging resources like the Office of Career Opportunities and Volunteer Services. They played a pivotal role in honing my skills and even landing this internship. Their support made me capable, and it's a reminder of the incredible resources our university offers. So, dive into your internship with enthusiasm, make use of the opportunities, and remember that, with the right support, you can turn your aspirations into accomplishments.

Nicolas anticipates earning a Master of Science in Industrial-Organizational Psychology from VSU in Summer 2024. He is a member of Progressive Black Men Inc. and the Society for Human Resource Management. He works as a graduate assistant for the Office of Career Opportunities. 

He is the middle of five children and has two older half-brothers from his father’s side, as well as a younger brother and a younger sister. He was born to a Jamaican mother and Haitian father and is proud of his strong Caribbean roots.

When asked what motivates him to work hard and pursue every opportunity available to him as a student in VSU’s James L. and Dorothy H. Dewar College of Education and Human Services, he said, “We didn't grow up rich, so my drive really stems from being able to help my family while also creating a life for my future family, a life that hopefully doesn’t involve lots of struggle.”  

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