Internships & Co-ops

Student Success Stories

Carrer Services recognizes contributions of NIU students who have completed career related work experience in thier field of study.

Accounting Majors Success Stories

Cody Smith, Accounting Major

Cody Smith

Cody Smith, an accounting major at NIU, was most recently on an internship with Lindgren Callihan Van Osdol & Co., Ltd., working as an accounting intern. In describing his internship, Cody states, “The experience allowed me the opportunity to apply the base-level concepts taught in the classroom to real-life scenarios. It is an eye-opening experience to watch the education from the classroom pass through to an actual job setting. This ‘pass-through’ is necessary for academic growth.” In summarizing his internship experience Cody said, “My internship experience was great for my growth as a student. It has given me a competitive edge for potential employers. The value-added to my academic path cannot be valued. The value-added to my career path cannot be valued. However, I can say that an internship is one of the most valuable experiences I have had during my academic career.”

LCV Director of Human Resources, Kim Penticoff, praised Cody’s work by stating, “Cody’s job performance exceeded expectations of a new staff accountant. I can say that his strong work ethic and exceptional communication skills will allow him to succeed at his future accounting career. Cody is an intelligent and motivated individual. He is more than capable of managing and prioritizing a heavy workload.”

NIU Department of Accountancy Assistant Professor, Bradrick Cripe, commented on Cody’s internship experiences relative to his academic studies in accountancy. He stated, “In my class, Cody’s group benefited frequently from his knowledge and delivered a superior product. His logical thinking skills and hard work ethic were demonstrated in the final product his group submitted for my review. I’m sure the same diligence and skill, combined with a passion for hard work and intellectual curiosity served him well on his internship.”

Tracy Cione, Accounting Major

Tracy Cione

Tracy Cione, accountancy major, completed a federal tax internship with KPMG in Chicago, Illinois. In describing her internship experience, Cione said, “My internship was a wonderful experience. It was enjoyable, educational, and rewarding. It allowed me to build relationships, network, and increase my technical skills. My internship experience related to my academic studies by allowing me to leverage the valuable experience I received from my undergraduate and graduate program studies at NIU. I was very well prepared by NIU for my internship. The reason I was well prepared for the KPMG internship learning experience is that the learning objectives for the NIU M.A.S. program correlated well with my internship experience. This internship confirmed my interest to pursue a career in tax, and KPMG ultimately provided me with a fulltime job offer to work within the Federal Tax Group for summer 2010.”

Grace Zhu of KPMG speaks highly of Tracy saying, “Tracy left me with very positive images of NIU. She has a very good work attitude, is professional and takes initiative. Tracy has great time management skills, is a team player and takes ownership of her work. We are very much looking forward to her joining us in 2010!”

Bradrick Cripe, Ph.D. CPA, Assistant Professor, NIU Department of Accountancy, commented on Cione’s academic performance by stating, “Tracy is a bright, energetic, and passionate student who embraces challenge and has unbounded intellectual curiosity. She is a natural leader who has earned the respect and admiration of her peers. Her logical thinking skills and hard work-ethic were demonstrated in the final product her group submitted for my review.”

Cesar Bonilla, Accountancy Major

Cesar Bonilla

Cesar Bonilla, accountancy major, completed a Talent Development Program internship with PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP in Chicago, Illinois. In describing his internship experience, Bonilla said, “I was part of the Talent Development Program at PwC. The objective of the program is to identify students after their freshman and/or sophomore years in college and provide them with two to three internships with the firm. In my first year during the summer of 2008, I worked in the campus recruiting department. In the second year of the program, we are assigned a non-profit organization where we work in their accounting department and get some real-world experience as we prepare for a career in public accounting. I was assigned to Junior Achievement of Chicago. It was great to see how many things we had talked about in my accountancy courses came up in accounting reports that I had to work with at Junior Achievement. Overall, I feel that my academic studies helped me be successful during this internship. Through this internship, I have decided that I want to pursue a career in tax within public accounting because I feel that is where my skill set can really bring value to a public accounting firm.”

Brian Buchheit, Campus Recruiting Manager, PricewaterhouseCoopers, speaks highly of Cesar saying, “Cesar demonstrated a high level of performance as it relates to relationship building, acquiring and applying technical expertise, communicating with impact and focusing on self-development through shadowing and coaching opportunities. Cesar’s supervisor at Junior Achievement reported that Cesar carried himself in a professional manner, approaching tasks he was assigned with enthusiasm and a sense of pride in his work product. His tasks were completed timely and consistent with expectations. Based on this feedback, it was clear that Cesar was a high performer.”

Natalie Churyk, Ph.D., CPA, NIU Caterpillar Professor of Accountancy, stated, “I have known Cesar for approximately three years as faculty advisor of ALPFA (Association of Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting) and also as his professor. Last year Cesar was President of ALPFA. As president he arranged the presentation schedule, greeted the firms when they arrived, and organized and ran board meetings. He did a wonderful job keeping the organization running smoothly. While being active in ALPFA and pursuing other volunteer activities, Cesar has excelled in the classroom. My colleagues and I are quite fond of him because of his great attitude and his hard work.”

Prima Patel, Accountancy Major

Prima Patel

Prima Patel, accountancy major, interned with Abbott Laboratories in Abbott Park, Illinois. Prima highlighted her internship experience by stating, “I was an accounting intern in the reporting and consolidations department within the Abbott International division. As an accounting intern, I was primarily exposed to the role of financial reporting within the company. Having taken three classes solely devoted to financial reporting, it was easy to apply the many procedures and rules that were taught. My experiences at Abbott allowed me to appreciate the validity of the business school’s catchphrase, where the classroom meets the business world. I was also able to learn many things that are impossible to learn in the classroom. One of the more technical skills I learned was the development of my computer and information system skills. The systems and documents were very complex and sensitive. Initial difficulties with the information systems improved my problem solving skills because of the reality and seriousness of my assignments. While in my position as an accounting intern, I was able to automate some of the ways the department created deliverables. This helped the process become efficient. I realized the importance of networking in my profession and career. Also, I have improved my communication skills. This was achieved in two main ways. First, I had to communicate my results and progress to managers and coworkers. Second, I set up informational interviews with managers from other departments to get advice on my possible career prospects and learn more about the different divisions within Abbott. I think it is important for all students to take part in an internship opportunity as it gives you a glimpse of what your future career is going to involve.”

Elizabeth Corbin, Senior Financial Analyst, Abbott Laboratories, stated, “Prima’s internship resided in the Reporting and Consolidation group of Abbott’s international pharmaceutical division. Given the nature of the department, there is a reasonable level of importance placed on the internship position to contribute to the group in a meaningful way. From the start of her internship, Prima worked diligently to learn the systems that are utilized by the group to obtain financial results. Prima was an asset to the group by being able to confirm the data included in the financial packages to the data sources. Confirming financial data can be a lengthy process; therefore, Prima’s ability to work with the rest of the team to accomplish this task, among many other activities, ensured that deadlines were met for each deliverable and that each deliverable was accurate and complete.”

Regarding Patel’s academic work, Linda Matuszewski, NIU Assistant Professor in the Department of Accountancy, says, “Prima was a student in my Financial Reporting I course. Her performance in the classroom was outstanding. She earned an A in the course, with a cumulative score that placed her among the top ten in the course. She was always prepared and regularly made valuable contributions to the class discussion. Given her intellectual strengths, leadership abilities and professional demeanor, I was confident that Prima would make a valuable contribution as an accountancy intern.

Shilen Patel, accountancy major

Shilen Patel

Shilen Patel, who interned with BDO USA, LLP as an audit intern. In describing his experience, Shilen wrote, “My internship with BDO, the nation’s seventh largest public accounting firm, was the perfect fit for me. I worked as part of a team to complete various auditing procedures on a client. Although I was an intern, I was treated like a first year hire. I was placed with four different clients over the 12 weeks. I had to quickly learn how to manage my time in order for the audit to be completed efficiently. Even though I was part of the audit team, once I was given my areas to audit, I had to work independently. My greatest learning experience came when I was put on the audit team of one of BDO’s biggest and most complex clients. The audit lasted six weeks with eight members on the team. A key skill I needed to learn in this audit was communication. I had to be able to clearly explain information I had obtained to other members of my team in order to help them complete their areas of work. Also, I had to be confident in front of the client since without its respect I was not going to be able to obtain the information I needed in time to meet my deadlines. On the final day of my internship, I was given the unique opportunity to help a client that was filing to become a publicly traded company. Throughout the whole internship, I believe the areas where I improved most were my communication, time management, professionalism, and team work skills. One can see how the concepts learned in the classroom come together in the ‘real world’; this is why I believe the Accountancy Department emphasizes the importance of an internship throughout its program. This opportunity has really brought together all the things I have learned throughout my academic career.”

Joe Calabria, Assurance Manager, BDO USA, LLP, praises Shilen’s internship with the following words, “From the start of his internship, Shilen worked diligently to understand how the client operated, the strengths and weaknesses of the company, and the client’s business concerns. His strong technical and communication skills allowed him to effectively and efficiently audit the complex revenue, debt, cash, and capital transactions of the client. In addition, Shilen worked independently from his manager and helped out other team members with their work when required. This allowed the BDO audit team and the client to meet their tight audit deadlines.”

Sarah J. Marsh, Associate Professor and Department Chair, NIU Department of Management, commented on Shilen’s academic work. “Shilen was a student in my course, MGM 468, Strategic Management, where he performed at a high level. Shilen is a strong student and contributed greatly to the course. He was always very engaged, and he would often highlight current events that related to the discussion topics in the course. He is smart and worked hard to perform well on case analysis and other assignments. He also applied his knowledge in a serious manner in the simulation project. He was a leader on his team, and he worked hard to make sure his team finished at the top of the class.”

comminication Majors Success Stories

Danielle Brouillette, communications major

Danielle Brouillette

Danielle Brouillette, completed a volunteer coordinator internship with DeKalb County American Red Cross in DeKalb, Illinois. This was Danielle’s second internship with the organization. In describing her internship experience, Danielle said, “Having had a successful first internship with the American Red Cross, my supervisor invited me back for a second internship to take on the role of volunteer coordinator. My emphasis was working with the community members and various groups around the NIU campus to find volunteers for events and maintain the relationship between them and the Chapter. I planned and organized such events as the NIU men’s basketball game Red Cross Day, March Canister Campaign and the DeKalb County American Red Cross annual meeting. In every aspect of my time at the Red Cross, I was able to reflect on my studies and understand how to address a situation. A perk of working at a small office is that I am able to work side by side with my superiors and be exposed to new opportunities to learn. Before my internship at the Red Cross, I was not sure what area of event planning that I wanted to emphasize. The various events that I have planned and participated in have given me a sense of accomplishment that is highly rewarding. These personal rewards convinced me that I want to stay in the nonprofit field of event planning. My two internships with the American Red Cross have provided me with professional experience in a global organization. This experience has given me a peek into the working world, so that I know what is expected upon graduation.”

Rona Hardt, Media Relations/Development Coordinator, DeKalb County American Red Cross, speaks highly of Danielle, saying, “There are many things I’ve learned about Danielle. First and foremost, she has a great attitude and is always willing to go above and beyond whatever is needed. She is very reliable and responsible. Danielle has a good head on her shoulders and grew leaps and bounds. The experience she gained here, I believe, helped her to be more assertive and more comfortable in the professional realm.”

Betty La France, Ph.D., NIU Department of Communication, wrote about Danielle and stated, “Danielle made regular contributions in class, and these contributions demonstrated that she was able to apply concepts learned in class to her own experiences. To Danielle’s credit, she has worked consistently while in school, and she earned the Department of Communication’s O’Connell Service Award. This award recognizes Danielle’s exemplary work ethic in the application of academic material to important out-of-classroom activities.”

computer Science Majors Success Stories

John Yednock, Computer Science and Math Major

John Yednock

John Yednock, a computer science and math major at NIU, completed a systems analyst and programmer internship with Texas Instruments in Plano, Texas. Yednock said, “This internship related directly to my major in computer science because it involved a great deal of programming. The main focus of my assignments was on analyzing and automating processes performed on the mainframe used by Texas Instruments. Texas Instruments recently acquired a new storage system and my tasks involved optimizing the use of this new storage. This required me to write programs in the assembly coding language. Toward the end of my internship, I was asked to develop a website for one of the IT groups. Participating in an internship with Texas Instruments has given me a competitive edge because I was able to experience mainframe programming first hand, which few students are able to do. I was also equipped with the tools to allow me to create an entire website. I experienced working for a large corporation and established relationships with very intelligent and skilled individuals.”

Terry Thompson, Manager of Mainframe Operations at Texas Instruments stated that, “John’s professionalism, competency, prolificacy, and his maturity exceeded my expectations. John was well liked by his team members, technical leads, and other TI employees that he met. In summation, John had a spectacular internship and has been a great under-graduate representative for Northern Illinois University.”

Penny McIntire, NIU Computer Science Undergraduate Advisor commented on John’s academic performance by stating, “I was amazed that a student who has completed only two years of college-level study was able to accomplish all that he accomplished. The tasks he was assigned were difficult, and he was working in assembler, the most difficult of programming languages.”

Geology Majors Success Stories

Martin Messmer, Geology Major

Martin MessmerMartin Messmer, NIU geology major. Messmer interned with the United States Geological Survey in Denver, Colorado, as a Physical Science Technician Intern. In describing his internship experience, Messmer stated, “My internship involved analyzing seismic data in the St. Louis metropolitan area as part of the St. Louis Area Earthquake Hazards Mapping Project. The models built from the data will be compared to other seismic imaging techniques such as reflection/refraction and borehole studies. The models, if reasonably accurate with the other methods, could provide valuable data for the St. Louis urban area for seismic risk assessment and site response. I entered this internship thinking the energy industry was my destination after graduation; however, this internship has opened up new doors to desirable careers other than those in energy. I feel my career goal has shifted towards engineering geology, where I can be part of a hard-working team whose goal is to build safer infrastructure and communities for people around the world.”

Robert Williams, Geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Survey, spoke highly of Messmer, stating, “Martin responded to each new job with both physical vigor and perseverance, and soon earned our confidence to work independently on many tasks. Martin takes his responsibilities seriously, works hard, and is always looking for ways to help make the project operate more efficiently. He became an extremely reliable and valuable member of our crew.”

Mark Fischer, NIU Professor of Geology, praised Messmer as “academically talented, inquisitive and capable of tackling nearly any task that is put before him. In my structural geology course, Martin earned one of the highest grades I have ever awarded, which was an impressive feat for one of the department’s most rigorous and demanding classes.”

Kinesiology Majors Success Stories

Laura Andrews, Kinesiology Major

Laura Andrews

Laura Andrews, kinesiology major, completed an internship with HealthFitness AT&T Wellness Center in Hoffman Estates, Illinois. In describing her internship experience, Laura said, “Interning at the AT&T Wellness Center was a great educational experience for me. Not only was I allowed to assist in or shadow all administrative duties and general tasks associated with a corporate wellness facility, but I also had experience running the facility on my own when scheduled to open or close the gym. My biggest project was to organize, market, and execute the “Foot Focus” health fair that was open to all 4,000 AT&T employees. One of the most enjoyable parts of the internship was running with the Running Club. I took over leadership of the AT&T Wellness Center Running Club, including all the marketing, increasing the frequency of group runs, and accompanying all participants’ running levels. I recommend participating in an internship because there are great people out there who want to help share what they know with students.”

Dan Henry, Program Coordinator, AT&T Wellness Center, speaks highly of Laura saying, “Over 14 weeks Laura organized, promoted, and implemented several programs. Laura conducted group exercise classes, designed personal exercise programs, and undertook many administrative responsibilities. All of these demonstrated her excellent planning, organizational, and leadership skills. She exhibited effective independent thinking and conducted herself in a warm and encouraging way towards all she interacted with.”

Matthew Stults-Kolemainen, Ph.D., NIU Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education, wrote about Laura and stated, “I instructed Ms. Andrews for four courses. She is an exemplary student in many respects. She achieved four well-earned A’s in courses last semester for her thorough grasp of difficult material. Her test scores are consistently in the top 5% of her class. She served as a role model for her peers; she was organized, timely, bright, and she attended every class. Ms. Andrews has a very agreeable disposition and is well-regarded by her peers.”

Gretchen Schlabach, Ph.D., ATC, LAT, Program Director, Athletic Training Education, stated, “I served as Laura’s internship coordinator while she was gaining experience at the AT&T Wellness Center. Ms. Andrews stands out in my mind for her cognitive prowess, worksite proficiency, enthusiasm, work ethic, and professionalism. Her 3.68 cumulative is a reflection of and commitment to leadership in exercise science. Without a doubt, Ms. Andrew’s internship congealed her professional dedication and passion for exercise science.”

Management Majors Success Stories

Davorka Zeba, Management Major

Devorka Zeba

Davorka Zeba, NIU management major. Zeba interned with Kohl’s in Chicago Ridge, Illinois, as an Intern. In describing her internship experience, Zeba stated, “My ten weeks at Kohl’s were so amazing that I decided to pursue a career in retail. I have had the opportunity to learn from some of the best management teams in the retail industry. Every day that I went to work I learned something new about being a manager. It wasn’t always a good day, but there were more good than bad. During my internship with Kohl’s, I dealt with diverse groups of people, managed difficult employees, witnessed an internal sexual harassment case, saw the Family Medical Leave Act in action, and saw the impact of a struggling economy on the retail industry. At the completion of my internship, I knew I wanted to stay with Kohl’s; and, on my last date, I got offered a Management in Training position upon graduation.”

Paul Weibel, Store Manager, Kohl’s Chicago Ridge, spoke highly of Davorka stating, “Davorka quickly learned the retail business and by the end of her internship was a valued member of our store management team. Davorka possesses a strong desire to learn and has a very positive attitude which helped her fit into her role as an intern. She was able to learn many of the technical aspects of the business such as point of sale operations, customer service, markdown processing, ad set, replenishment and merchandising. Davorka also developed her skills as a leader, helping others with these various store functions.”

Regarding Davorka’s academic work, Dr. Luis G. Flores, NIU Associate Professor of Management, says, “Davorka was my student in one of the most difficult courses of the undergraduate business program. She was a very active, hard-working, interested, eager-to-learn and involved student in my class. Her personality and passion for learning helped me establish a very positive learning environment in my class. I also had the opportunity to interact with Davorka outside of class. She is a member of the Management Student Advisory Board and the Dean’s Student Advisory Board. Those two organizations require developing and maintaining strong relationships with faculty and students throughout the entire University. Her transparency in character, authenticity, care and ability to relate to people has helped her well to become an effective student leader. ”

Marketing Majors Success Stories

Heloiza de Castro e Silva, Marketing Major

Heloiza de Castro e Silva

Heloiza de Castro e Silva, marketing major. Heloiza interned with Wuhan Business Skills and Technique Service in Wuhan, China. Heloiza highlighted her experience by stating, “International marketing is the major that I would like to study and a career that I would like to pursue. I believe that that this management internship and my work experience in China will have a positive influence on my future international career. During my internship, I was responsible for managing a team of 14 Chinese interns, four of whom are sales interns and 10 of whom are brand ambassadors, for the Business Language Testing Service (BULATS). My first responsibility, upon arriving in China, was to lead the recruitment process of all of the interns and ambassadors. I also developed a strategies and tactics plan for the team. My main responsibility was to promote and sell the BULATS product and service to companies in Wuhan, especially to global companies and small companies that export products to other countries. Leading a team of international interns exposed me to a fascinating multicultural team environment! One of the most important things about this internship is that I was able to interact with many global companies, allowing me to gain hands-on global business experience. Being able to gain more knowledge about the Chinese market has opened my eyes to the differences that take place not only in how business is conducted, but how differently people interact all around the world.”

Walter Wu, Marketing Manager, Wuhan Poidea Business Skills and Technique Service Co. Ltd., stated, “It has been a pleasure having Heloiza as a member of our BULATS team. Heloiza successfully completed all of the requirements of the internship and her position. She often went above and beyond the requirements of the internship. Heloiza always contributed by asking thoughtful questions and participating in every meeting and opportunity that she identified. Heloiza is a pleasure to work with and will be a valuable addition to any organization.”

Regarding Heloiza's academic work, Peter Magnusson, NIU Assistant Professor of International Marketing, says, “I think Heloiza’s academic and extracurricular career and her internship opportunity in Wuhan, China embodies everything that is good about Northern Illinois University. I first got to know Heloiza as a student in my international marketing class. Heloiza is a first-rate student with intellectual capabilities well above the average student, and a passion and maturity well beyond her years. I believe that Heloiza is an excellent ambassador for NIU in her current internship position, and I am confident that she will become a very successful alumna.”

mechanical engineering Majors Success Stories

Jhonattan Yandun, mechanical engineering major

Jhonattan Yandun

The August 2011 recipient, Jhonattan Yandun, mechanical engineering major, completed an internship with A. J. Antunes in Carol Stream, Illinois. In describing his internship experience, Jhonattan said, “School has taught me many things, but working as an intern is what really opened my eyes and showed me how my future as an engineer will be. I could relate every single class that I have taken to a problem that I had to solve while working. I applied everything from heat transfer to vibration analysis. Suddenly, all those problems in the text book that looked dull and monotonous started to come alive in a way that never experienced before. Even though I had to deal with many tasks, my main job was to design upcoming prototype units. This consisted of creating new products from the ground up. I modeled every single part of the prototypes so they could be built, formed, and welded if needed. The most important part of this was that I learned how to be efficient using a completely new CAD program. Right after I finished my internship, I realized how much this internship impacted my career goals. When I started working at A. J. Antunes, I did not know what to study in graduate school. Now I know that I want to get a Master’s degree in applied mechanics.”

Rafal Nagorzanski, Product Development Design Engineer with A. J. Antunes, speaks highly of Jhonattan, saying, “I was Jhonattan’s mentor who guided most of his project work throughout his summer internship. He was responsible for full design processes using 3D modeling, prototype development and testing, and coordinating manufacturing processes. Jhonattan displayed tremendous leadership qualities as he worked with our electrical engineering and manufacturing teams diligently to design and produce physical prototypes which we continue to use in the lab today. Jhonattan is an individual who is focused, intelligent, and someone who is able to lead any team in the industry today.”

Matthew Gonser, PhD, Post-Doctoral Fellow and Instructor, NIU College of Engineering and Engineering Technology, wrote about Jhonattan and stated: “Jhonattan has worked under my supervision as an undergraduate research assistant. Jhonattan was very self-motivated when working on all of his projects and almost always developed a method by which to conduct the research or task, or followed the method given. In addition, when learning to use a new system within the lab, he was able to master it within a short time period. He proved invaluable in providing accurate data for technical reports and with report preparation.”

Mitchell Semple, mechanical engineering major

Semple, Mitch

Mitchell Semple, mechanical engineering major, completed two co-ops with Hamilton Sundstrand in Rockford, Illinois. In describing his co-op experiences, Mitch said, “I experienced many learning situations at Hamilton Sundstrand that clearly portray the benefits of my co-op. I was given the opportunity to use several tools during my session at Hamilton Sundstrand, many of which were introduced to me during my mechanical engineering courses. For example, a micrometer to measure material thickness, a vernier caliper to measure gear tooth spacing, a depth gauge to measure surface depth, and a shadow graph to measure other gear entities were used. I was involved in a Root Cause Corrective Action for the Joint Strike Fighter Engine Test Gearbox oil leak investigation. I was also involved in many operational projects. The two that stand out most were the Ultra Violet Cure project and the Input Housing Cell Design. My experience has made a strong impact on the height and direction of my career goals. Due to my exposure to multiple facets of the industry, it is my objective that upon the completion of my degree in mechanical engineering, I will obtain employment with a large corporation in the aerospace industry. Throughout my experience at Hamilton Sundstrand, I have learned many new, useful tools that will give me a competitive edge in the engineering and business world. I had the honor of being integrated into the company as if I were any other engineer recently hired for full-time employment. It is the hands-on experience that allows us to grow through the literal challenges that are presented in real-time situations.”

Gregory Painter, PE, Engineering Lead for Engine and Control Systems at Hamilton Sundstrand, speaks highly of Mitch, saying, “Mitch is someone that is conscientious, reliable, and a hard worker. He contributes daily to the team’s support of the gearbox product line. His work ethic has caused other engineers to notice and seek him out to utilize him in their work above and beyond the military gearbox support he performs for me on a daily basis. Mitch’s work ethic and engineering skills combine well with his drive to succeed. His future is bright.”

Destin Aurelien, Manufacturing Engineer, Hamilton Sundstrand, wrote about Mitch and stated, “Along with Mitch’s technical knowledge, he also showed the ability to be very business conscious. All of his projects led to productivity and/or cost savings. He is extremely self-motivated and has a great career ahead of him.” Federico Sciammarella, PhD, Mechanical Engineering Assistant Professor, NIU College of Engineering, commented on Mitch’s academic work. “As a student in my class, I can honestly say that Mr. Semple always excelled. The great thing about him is his genuine curiosity to understand how things work and why. He is the kind of student who will go beyond what is assigned just to know for himself.”


Nursing Majors Success Stories

Ashley Savage,  Nursing Major

Ashley Savage

Ashley Savage, an NIU nursing major, who interned with the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago as a nurse intern. In describing her experience, Ashley wrote, “My assignment at RIC was on the traumatic brain injury unit. On this unit, I performed all the duties of a nurse, with the exception of passing medication. In addition, I assisted patients with personal care activities. During my internship, I had the opportunity to a follow a respiratory therapist and assist with her daily rounds of managing tracheotomies. Another great opportunity that was given to me during my internship was to shadow a nurse practitioner at her outpatient clinic. This internship has greatly impacted my career goal as a nurse. It has prepared me for patient interaction, communicating with families, and working as a team. At the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, everyone works together – the physicians, physical therapists, speech language pathologists, nurses, and patient care technicians. As a team we collectively communicated with each other to devise a tailored plan of care for each patient. My internship experience has convinced me that rehabilitation nursing is my calling. Rehabilitation nurses at RIC not only restore health, but they restore hope in the lives of others. I would recommend internship work experiences because you get to meet great people who encourage and teach you how to become successful in your future career.”

Ann S. Bines, MS, RN, CCRN, Nurse Manager, Brain Injury Program, Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, praises Ashley’s internship with the following words, “Ashley acclimated to the institution very quickly. She is able to follow directions well and consistently uses appropriate judgment in caring for her patients. She is a very professional, independent and highly motivated student. Her communication style is very positive and allows her to achieve the best outcomes for her patients. Ashley has exhibited an interest in rehabilitative nursing, and her ability to relate to the brain injury population is wonderful to see.”

Sandra A. Wolf, RN MS, IBCLC, LCCE, Clinical Instructor, NIU School of Nursing and Health Studies, commented on Ashley’s academic work. “During the time Ashley was in my clinical course, she received many positive comments from the nurses with whom she worked. Some examples of these comments are: ‘Ashley was very involved and inquisitive,’ ‘was not afraid to jump in and help,’ ‘eager to learn,’ and ‘very good communication with patients.’ Ashley is a very good student and will ultimately become an excellent nurse.”

Passion Williamson, Northern Illinois University ESP CHANCE Counselor, stated, “Ashley has a tremendous amount of potential to succeed within the field of nursing. Her academic performance and campus activity involvement further demonstrate her determination and passion to continue to work toward her goals. Ashley is not only a leader, but also a very proactive, responsible, and reliable young woman. I rarely meet students who exude her level of confidence, determination and stamina.”

Amanda Cecchi, nursing major

Amanda Cecchi

The June 2011 recipient, Amanda Cecchi, nursing major, completed an internship with St. Alexius Medical Center in Hoffman Estates, Illinois. In describing her internship, Amanda said, “I requested to be placed in the Emergency Department (ED) at St. Alexius. I had absolutely no desire to be an emergency nurse, but I figured the obvious—the ED would be the place to see the most interesting and serious cases. I gained more skill during my internship than during my first two years of nursing school. What I was not prepared for was that by the end of the month, I would have completely re-directed my career. Upon arriving at the hospital, I was paired with a nurse. When a new task was encountered, I would first observe, and then perform the skill under supervision until the nurse was comfortable with me doing the task alone. The end goal of my internship was to care for one patient entirely by myself, but my nurses were so confident in my abilities that by the end I was proudly taking on full patient assignments. My internship allowed me to witness various conditions that I had only learned about through textbooks and PowerPoint slides. This internship was the best opportunity I’ve had to practice the therapeutic communication that is a core component of NIU’s School of Nursing. I discovered that I have a calming personality in crisis situations, and it was in the emergency room that I realized that not only did I love the intensity of being an ED nurse, but that I was good at it. Due to this internship, I will not only have the high honor of working in a hospital immediately following graduation, but I will also be working in one of the most critical and competitive fields for nurses.”

Adrienne Seloover, RN, BS, TNS, ECRN, Clinical Assistant Director of Emergency and Trauma Services, St. Alexius Medical Center, speaks highly of Amanda, saying, “As an intern, Ms. Cecchi exhibited poise, professionalism, and a true persona of an up and coming nurse. Ms. Cecchi was able to grasp and comprehend the various demands of the emergency department nurse and quickly adapted to a high level of prioritization and flexibility in order to carry out the nursing process and numerous aspects of emergency department care. She proactively sought new knowledge and experiences to advance her skills and critical thinking abilities as a prospective nurse. She will become an asset to the nursing profession as well as exemplify the excellence of students that Northern Illinois University prides itself upon.”

Cathy Carlson, PhD, RN, Associate Professor, NIU School of Nursing and Health Studies, wrote about Amanda and stated, “Many students request being placed in the emergency department for their internship. Because of its desirability, I had to select only two students who could be placed there. The emergency department was Amanda’s first choice for placement, and because her GPA was an impressive 4.0, Amanda’s first choice was granted. The nursing personnel in the emergency department were so confident in her that they gave her great independence and placed her in situations that were challenging. Amanda was dependable, motivated, and helpful to fellow nurses and nursing students. She is very participative in her learning and has been a pleasure to have in my courses.”class.”

OMIS Majors Success Stories

Paul Berkes, OMIS Major

Paul Berkes

Paul Berkes, NIU OMIS major, is the July 2008 winner. Berkes interned with Nissan Forklift in Marengo, Illinois, as a Supply Chain Analyst Intern. In describing his internship experience, Berkes stated, “I can say with confidence that I have never learned more information in a summer that was so applicable to my life and my academic goals than what I learned as an intern. My experience has proven to me that there is no better way of connecting what our professors are teaching us every day to a truly palpable understanding of the material, than by being thrust out into a real working environment. I was immediately forced to take what I had just learned in the classroom and apply it to my daily activities, and I don’t believe that I would have developed a true understanding of the concepts had I not been made to test them in a situation that might actually produce consequences. My recommendation to every student at NIU is to spend the extra time needed to work at getting an internship.”

John Arnold, Senior Manager, Production Procurement, with Nissan Forklift, spoke highly of Paul stating, “The two core projects developed for this internship were the applications of lean principles to the NFC supply chain concentrating on inbound freight and Electronic Data Interface (EDI) opportunities with our supply base. Paul greatly exceeded our expectations on each of these projects. In regards to inbound freight, Paul defined our current state, established metrics, benchmarked our operation against other similar size companies, and identified opportunities for improvements. Based on Paul’s recommendations, NFC’s projected annual savings on inbound freight is a minimum of $320,000. Within days, Paul blended in well here at NFC becoming an integral part of the NFC team.”

Regarding Paul’s academic work, Dr. Chang Liu, DBA, NIU Associate Professor of Management Information Systems, says, “I have had the great pleasure of seeing Paul’s diligence and passion towards his work. He has been an outstanding student. Paul is a hard-working, self-starter who invariably understands exactly what a project is all about from the outset and how to get it done quickly and effectively.”

Yuliana Hermanto, OMIS Major

Yuliana Hermanto

Yuliana Hermanto, OMIS major, completed a wireless software engineering internship with Alcatel-Lucent USA, Inc. in Naperville, Illinois. In describing her internship experience, Hermanto said, “I was assigned to the Network Level Testing (NLT) Stability, Capacity and Performance Department. My responsibilities involved ILR load run set up, execution, data collection, and basic analysis. Several tasks that were assigned to me included creating simple programming scripts as tools to do analysis and data collection, helping with problem analysis, working with users to solve problems, and performing internal training. Having the technical and analysis background skills from school allowed me to contribute early to the group. Doing this internship not only gave me experience in a real world situation, but also opened doors that may lead to my future career while helping me academically and financially. I was able to see, experience and reflect the concepts that I have learned at school.”

Thayer Johnson, Director of Wireless Development, of Alcatel-Lucent speaks highly of Yuliana saying, “We are so delighted with her productivity over the period of her internship that we are transitioning her to our co-op program in order to extend her stay with us. Not only does she have high productivity, she establishes great relationships with peers, her manager and her team leaders. Yuliana is a quick study and very open to learning new ways to apply technology. She used her prior knowledge of computer languages and systems to take her assignments to levels beyond expectations.”

Brian Mackie, NIU Associate Professor of MIS, by stating, “Yuliana definitely excelled in class. She always did 110% on each assignment or project. Yuliana was accepted as a team member for a project developed by Children’s and Young Adult Literature to create an online resource that would be used by students in evaluating books and developing materials that could be used by others who will teach literacy. Yuliana was asked to create the tool because I felt that she would work very hard and produce a tool that was at least 120% of what they had asked for.”

John Gianatasio,  OMIS Major

Jogn Gianatasio

September 2010 recipient, John Gianatasio, OMIS major, completed an information systems internship with Kraft Foods in Northfield, Illinois. In describing his internship experience, John said, “While interning this past summer with Kraft Foods, I felt the pressure of real world situations in Kraft’s highly regarded Information Systems (IS) Department. From day one, I was treated as an equal team member of the Sell to Customer (STC) delivery stream in the IS Department. My education in the Operations Management and Information Systems (OMIS) Department in the College of Business helped to prepare me to take on projects that make a valuable impact. On my second day, I was given my first project to take the lead design position in the creation of a Microsoft SharePoint team site for one of the initiatives within the STC team. I was able to lead a project in every aspect from beginning to end and see its direct effect by receiving positive feedback from the sales staff. My second project was creating a SharePoint training program and administering training sessions for the sales staff. It was during this project that I gained interpersonal, time management, and leadership skills. I would recommend an internship to other students, because you are able to dive into the major you are studying in a real world situation.”

John Popp, Associate Director of IS Service Delivery, Kraft Foods, speaks highly of John, saying, “During his assignment, John demonstrated strengths in priority setting, organizing, and developing peer and management relationships. He raised issues and questions when appropriate and proactively sought out key Kraft IS leaders to gain more insight in the overall Kraft Foods business. In a short period he delivered significant results while forging good working relationships with his key client areas. John will be a strong addition to any organization.”

Steve Kispert, NIU Department of Operations Management and Information Systems, wrote about John and stated, “John has excelled in his academic work as a student in our program. Beyond the classroom, in addition to his summer internship with Kraft Foods, John has endeavored to be involved in numerous organizations within the College of Business. As a member of the OM&IS Advisory Board and as the president of NIU’s Association of Information Technology Professionals, John is a constant presence in the OMIS Department. As evidenced by his varied activities, John possesses a high level of dedication, hard work, and involvement that reaches beyond that of a typical student.”