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How DPLN Doubled in Size in 2020 and Has Led to Many Internships

By Maya Brown


When you are underrepresented, it can be hard to find support and resources to accomplish your career goal. However, the Career Center  has the Diversity Professional Leadership Network (DPLN) that was made just for underrepresented students. The program was developed to help underrepresented students with their knowledge of careers and to enhance their career skills. 

The network has helped students of diverse races, genders and backgrounds learn more about being a professional, including business etiquette, various industries and how to successfully transition from school to the world of work. 

“The DPLN program gave me the opportunity to step out of my comfort zone,” Joanne T. ‘20 said. “It forced me to reflect and think about the things that I didn’t consider when it comes to my professional development.”

When the pandemic hit back in March 2020, there was a shift to virtual services, but that didn’t stop DPLN from striving. The new format gave the Career Center the freedom to welcome more students to the program without worrying about finding space for everyone to fit. For the academic year of 2020-2021, about 86 students are participating, each with corporate mentors and access to multiple employer partners - which is twice the usual enrollment.

Exclusive programming that DPLN students get to take advantage of include leadership development workshops, effective communication workshops, special internship preparation, one-to-one ongoing coaching and job shadowing opportunities — which all put an emphasis on networking.

“I have gained access to a network of great individuals who have been able to provide me with mentorship advice, and great insights on the world of professionalism,” Ulrich M. ‘19 said. 

The program has also led to many internships for students with companies including Broadridge Financial Solutions, Canon USA, Target, MasterCard, Enterprise and KPMG. Interviews have also been conducted with companies including Google, North Atlantic Industries, Softheon, YAI and BAE Systems. 


In 2020, 41% of surveyed DPLN students received at least one offer for an internship or full-time position and 65% of those students who received an offer accepted a position, according to DPLN statistics .

Jonathan Cruzate ‘19, was a technological systems management major and with the help of the DPLN program, he held an internship with Canon U.S.A. He was primarily interested in seeing how the photography industry was reacting to the current technology trends and was able to contribute to the developing photo community at Canon. 

“The two resources at Stony Brook that have helped me the most are the Career Center and DPLN,” Cruzate said. “Perseverance is key to finding success and being successful. Never give up and do your best.”

Nickeisha Gaynor ‘19, was a business management major and held an internship with Target. She was primarily interested in gaining leadership skills and real world experience and was able to learn more about her own personal leadership style.

“Take advantage of resources and programs such as the DPLN, INROADS, etc. as soon as possible,” she said. “Don’t wait until you’re ready to graduate!”

This past year, DPLN students have secured internships with companies including JP Morgan, American Express, AllianceBernstein and Mastercard. 

Skills and learning objectives are also an important aspect of the DPLN program. DPLN students have said that they have learned more about self-confidence, networking skills, their own career plans, how to create a brand and maintain and promote it.

“I would definitely recommend the DPLN program to anyone who is looking towards networking and establishing a great relationship with the Career Center and peers with similar interests,” Cristian E. ‘20 said. 

Applications for next year’s DPLN program open in the coming weeks and make sure to contact or visit the Career Center to learn more about the program.