USF Sarasota-Manatee ISS major Seth Coston recently finished two internships.

USFSM Spotlight: Seth Coston

By: Rich Shopes

Posted: July 15, 2019

SARASOTA, Fla. (July 15, 2019)USF Sarasota-Manatee rising junior Seth Coston wasn’t about to waste an opportunity when it came to his education, so when a chance for an internship came up, Coston eagerly stepped forward.

And then when another opportunity for an internship came up, he raised his hand again. Never mind that he was committed to the first internship. Coston figured he’d find a way to make both work, which is what he did.

Using discipline and careful planning, skills he picked up in the U.S. Army, Coston arranged his schedule to devote time to both employers, without overlap.

In addition, he found that the experience and training gained from the two opportunities aligned perfectly with his major: interdisciplinary social sciences with a concentration in government and global affairs (and a minor in political science).

Coston’s deft schedule juggling began in January when USFSM internship coordinator Ben Heins introduced him to representatives of the International Trade Hub at Port Manatee (ITH). ITH helps international companies, including coffee growers, establish markets for products in the U.S.

Impressed by the company, Coston jumped at the chance to intern there and ended up working on a marketing plan to highlight the port as an accessible, cost-affordable distribution hub.

A couple weeks later, Jay Riley, USFSM’s director of business outreach and engagement, approached Coston about another internship, this time at Congressman Vern Buchanan’s district office in Sarasota.

Working with the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce, Riley arranged for Coston and other USFSM students to “shadow” executives at local companies. The experience introduced Coston to legislative staff at Buchanan’s office, including USFSM alum Chloe Conboy.

Because Coston worked from home on the ITH marketing project, he could assure Conboy that he was able to intern for the congressman as well.

A week later, he found himself working twice a week there, fielding constituent calls and driving the congressman to local events. He also helped with a special project reviewing court cases about puppy mills.

Coston’s internships wrapped up recently to allow him to attend an Army Reserves training exercise focused on military intelligence. The exercise had been scheduled months in advance.

He said he thoroughly enjoyed the internship experiences.

“They kind of confirmed what I want to do,” he said. “They confirmed my interest in international trade and economic development as well as in public service. It was nice to learn about the coffee import business while also working behind the scenes in government.”

USFSM arranges for dozens of such internships each summer as students seek work experiences to complement their education.

“Taking an internship is the best way for students to gain practical training without jeopardizing financial aid, while also expediting their path toward graduation,” Heins said. “The experience can sharpen a student’s focus when it comes to career plans.”

Student don’t have to wait for summer to schedule an internship. USFSM arranges internships throughout the year.

For more about USFSM internship programs, stop by the campus’ Career Services Office (C107) or visit To make an appointment with Heins, visit Handshake,

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