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Chicago Scholars Emerge May Scholar Spotlight

We’re just a few days away from the start of our Emerge Summer Career & Leadership Program – and we’re continuing our series of spotlights on several of our incredible Emerge Career Partners, the companies and organizations that make our Emerge internships possible. This month, we’re giving you a bonus Emerge Intern spotlight to go along with our Career Partner highlight – meet Sam Vargas, Environmental Health & Safety Intern at Magid Glove & Safety.

As a recipient of the Rusty Cohen Legacy Scholarship with Magid and Chicago Scholars, Sam also took part in the company’s internship program with Emerge, and spent the summer of 2023 learning about all things health and safety in the workplace, taking on projects of his own, and advancing his career. Read on to hear about Sam’s internship experience, his future plans, and what advice he has for students starting their first internships.

Firstly, tell us a bit about yourself and when you’re set to graduate?

“My name is Sam Vargas and I am a civil engineering major at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. I will graduate in 2026 and my Emerge Internship was with Magid Glove as their health and safety intern.”

To continue, how has Chicago Scholars supported you throughout your college and career journey?

My experience in Chicago scholars has been very influential to my college and career success. Being a part of this community has allowed me to foster relationships with people who have knowledge about the college process and professional development knowledge. Not only has the guidance of the Chicago Scholars team fostered my development as a student and professional, it has also opened opportunities for me to gain work experience through internships provided by the Emerge program. Just this summer, I landed an amazing internship with one of the leading names in my field due to Chicago Scholars’ corporate partner connections.”

How would you describe your internship experience with Magid?

My internship experience with Magid was amazing. While the role of environmental health and safety intern was a very new role to me, my manager made my role easy to understand and also made it known that I was valuable to the team, even being allowed to start my own project due to their faith in me. The work I was doing was influential and I was even able to see the progress in my work and receive feedback about it. I also enjoyed my time there due to the work and life balance that the company encourages. They do this with their recreational opportunities, which include: two tracks that employees are encouraged to use, a basketball court, ping pong tables, and a pickleball court as well. These recreational opportunities helped me make great friendships with my fellow interns and managers.”

How has your internship with Magid impacted your career journey?

“My career journey has only been propelled by Magid. Working there I was taught what it is like to be part of a team that trusts in each other’s capabilities. Being able to manage projects as well as take the lead on certain assignments helped me acquire skills that I use to this day in my project management field. Magid has also taught me a lot of knowledge about things we see in our day-to-day lives but don’t think about, causing me to be well versed in the safety and personal protection field as many only know equipment but not specifics. this has allowed me to express myself as a leader and professional which gets recognized a lot when speaking to potential employers.”

What were some of the highlights of your Emerge experience?

“The highlights of my Emerge program were my reviews, cohort meetings, and working on our company. I liked the opportunities I was given at Magid to collaborate with my manager and hear what I was doing good at and if there were more opportunities to expand my knowledge. The cohort meetings were a nice way to end the week as I got to meet with interesting companies and learn about what they do while also meeting with fellow students from other programs and hearing what they were working on as well. Finally, being able to work through the logistics of creating a company using the golden circle was influential in being able to present about something I’m passionate about as well as being able to present about myself. Overall, my highlights were the moments I got to socialize, learn, and develop new skills.”

Finally, what advice would you offer Scholars going into their first internship experience?

“Entering your first internship can be a daunting experience, especially with little to no knowledge about how to do the work. My biggest advice would be to ask questions and take notes, and if you have downtime see what else you can learn. I do this at each of my internships and it has propelled my career and in some cases helped with my career-specific college courses. Doing these things shows drive, passion, and will help you decide if that is your path in life.”

Inspired by Sam’s experience as an intern, and want to host Scholar interns at your company? Head here to learn more about becoming a partner with us!