Internships & Co-ops

2005 Internship/Co-op Student of the Month Winners

FEBRUARY Student of the Month:
Alysia Huber, Nursing major

Alysia Huber

February Co-op Student of the Month winner, Alysia Huber , a NIU nursing major, completed an applied behavior analysis therapy internship with the Flynn family. This family's three-year-old son has been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, and Huber has been working him since October 2004. Although this internship may seem more likely for someone seeking a degree in psychology, Huber states, “ As a future nurse working in pediatrics, taking care of a child with autism is very likely since autism effects one in 166 children born.” She goes on to say, “My personal goal as a nurse is to provide holistic care to my patients and by working with the behavior aspect of an autistic child it will greatly increase my empathy, genuineness, and ability to care for these children in a nursing setting.”

Huber acknowledges the importance of classroom lecture and bookwork to further her education, but states, “When I spend time in therapy with this child I experience the joy, frustration and distress that surpasses any amount of knowledge that can be passed on in the classroom.” While the classroom focus is on disease processes, treatments and interventions, her career-related experience has allowed her to extend this concept. She states, “ I am able to go past what is comfortable and easy to me and interact in new and different ways…just as I will have to as a nurse interacting with and communicating with patients.”

Huber praised NIU's cooperative education and internship program saying, “Without them, I would have never been able to explore these opportunities and acquire the incredible therapy position that I am now working in. From the beginning of my search for an internship they supported my interests and helped me narrow down my search.” Her experiences outside of the classroom have prompted her to talk with other students about how an internship can greatly enhance their learning and skills. She goes on to say, “ Not only is learning enhanced, finding a career-related area can create new interests and enthusiasm toward an area that was not before explored.” Huber summarizes her experience by stating, “This internship is no longer about college credits or personal gain, but is about a child's development and future, and I am truly blessed to be a part of it.”

Margie Flynn, mother of the three-year-old boy Huber works with, praises Huber's ability during her internship as follows, “We count on her dependability daily. Alysia is a quick learner and is able to apply what she has learned with my son which sometimes can be quite challenging. The first time my son met Alysia he didn't even know she was there. After lots of persistence and therapy he now easily goes to her. He makes lots of eye contact and smiles and laughs regularly in his ABA sessions He has begun to speak more and has accepted Alysia into his life.”

Elise Frank Masur, professor of psychology at NIU, has first hand experience with Huber's academic work, impressing her from the beginning with Huber's “seriousness of purpose when she approached me about serving as her faculty advisor.” Masur praises Huber's attitude and commitment by commenting, “Her descriptions of her interactions with the child show that she carries out her responsibilities not only enthusiastically, but also thoroughly and thoughtfully. She can also reflect on the meaning and value of her experiences for the child and for herself. I consider this capacity for reflection a measure of her intellectual maturity.” Masur also appreciates Huber's insight and dedication by saying, “I think that with her interest, enthusiasm, conscientiousness, and dedication she represents a model of the kind of student who benefits from the valuable co-op/internship program.”


MARCH Student of the Month:
James Boguslawski, Marketing major

James Boguslawski

March 2005 Co-op Student of the Month winner, James Boguslawski, worked during the spring 2005 semester at Pella Corporation, Pella, Iowa, on a sales and marketing co-op. He has gained valuable experience in the marketing field through having the opportunity to transfer classroom knowledge to a “real work environment.” During his co-op Jim organized and analyzed sales data for presentation to his colleagues. Time management and working in a team environment are vital skills he has acquired during his experience at Pella . As he comments, “At Pella, teamwork is very important in everyday work. We rely on one another to perform tasks needed to complete each others' projects. Having others dependant on my work on a daily basis has taught me a different type of responsibility I have not been able to experience at school. This key principle has helped me mature professionally and will be useful in my future career.”

Boguslawski found a knowledge resource in his co-workers at Pella . He states, “At Pella , I use my co-workers as resources and interact with them on a daily basis. The satisfaction I have received from these experiences has reinforced my drive to seek out a job with a team-oriented work environment.” In describing life after college, he comments, “Working at Pella and being able to share the knowledge I have gained will help me adjust to the career environment. I know that I will be more comfortable jumping into my career knowing that I have this experience and knowledge.”

Boguslawski recommends career-related work experiences to other students as they progress through college with the following statement, “Career-related experience during college is very important in deciding what you want and don't want to do with your life. It is nice to be able to see different sides of marketing and be able to decide what I enjoy and what I want to learn more about.”

Terry Zeimetz, Commercial Market Manager at Pella Corporation, praises Boguslawski's work, “Jim is a hard worker who consistently produces high quality work on time and with a positive attitude. He has been a great asset to our team.” Zeimetz also appreciates Boguslawski's desire to learn by commenting, “Jim knows what he wants to get out of this co-op and seeks opportunities that give him a broader view of the business.”

Barbara Fox, of the NIU Department of Accountancy, commented favorably on Boguslawski's classroom participation stating, “Jim routinely contributed his ideas, work experience and opinions with great ease. He was able to quickly assess business cases and effectively communicate the issues. This enriched the classroom experience for everyone because his participation helped other students understand the issues and it encouraged risk-taking in terms of getting involved in discussion.”


JUNE Student of the Month:
Henry Handler, Computer Science and Mathematics major

Henry HandlerThe June winner was Henry Handler, a Computer Science and Mathematics major at NIU and a resident of Fairbury, Illinois. Henry was a Business Technology Intern with Discover Financial Services in Riverwoods, Illinois. While at Discover, Henry was given the task of debugging and fixing issues related to data output and providing troubleshoot support for its database. Handler commented about what he learned at NIU and the impact it had during the course of his internship in the following words, “I consider problem solving and quick learning to be the most critical skills I learned at NIU that are applied in a business and/or work environment.”

Henry is quick to recommend career-related work experience to his fellow students by stating, “Any future company or career path I take, I feel that I can take aspects from my internship, collaboration, teamwork, and business etiquette, and utilize these skills anywhere I go in life.” He also credits the NIU Internship Program with the following comments, “Throughout my whole internship, the NIU Career Services Office provided the necessary tools and knowledge, so that a student can have the best opportunity to receive internships and make the most of their internship experiences.”

Mukul Gupta, Manager, Strategic Vendor Services, at Discover Financial Services praises Handler's work with his office by stating, “There were many challenging projects that Henry either led or was a part of. His contributions to all these projects have significantly helped some of our key initiatives via significant cost savings and process improvements.” Gupta felt that Handler grew both professionally and personally during his internship with Discover and states, “Henry is always ready to step up to challenges and never hesitates to sign up for any technical, business, social or community service task.”

Amy Byrnes, NIU Computer Science Instructor comments on Handler's academic work by stating, “His programming assignments reflected an attitude of perfection. He worked extremely hard to make sure that he handed in his best work. In the time I have known Henry, I can tell that he is an individual who has an enthusiastic interest in expanding his knowledge.”


JULY Student of the Month:
Heather Otto, Communications/Journalism major

Heather Otto

The July winner was Heather Otto, a Communications/Journalism major at NIU and a resident of Lincoln, Illinois. Heather held an Assignment Desk internship with WUSA, Channel 9 in Washington, D.C. Heather played an active role in covering many challenging and important news stories at WUSA. Heather found that her internship helped her further her career goals because “as soon as I walked into the newsroom, a surge of adrenaline ran through my body, and I knew that I was addicted.” She was also able to see the connection between her academic studies and working in the real world. In her words, “All of the communication and journalism skills I have learned so far paid off during my internship. Whether it was researching stories and interviewing subjects, or giving input on different camera shots, I definitely feel privileged to have offered my opinion.”

Tony Castrilli, Executive Producer of News Coverage at WUSA 9 News, praised Otto's work. He said “Heather was one of the top interns that I have worked with. Her focused ambition will be enough to take her far. However, her excellent attitude, persistence, and pro-active work ethic is why she really stood out compared to her peers. She is a good communicator, followed through on assignments, and worked well with a variety of people in the newsroom. She has basic editorial skills, is an improving writer, and is consistently looking for ways to improve her skills.”

Allen May, J.D., Director and General Manager of Broadcast News at Northern Television Center, Northern Illinois University, Department of Communication, also praises Otto's skills on campus as he states, “As a student in two of my broadcast journalism classes, Heather demonstrated an advanced ability to take an assignment and ‘run with it,' requiring little repeated or special instruction to carry it out. In addition to her self-initiative, she consistently displayed an aptitude for analyzing all steps necessary to complete those assignments. She has an outstanding work ethic and conducted her work with high efficiency. The quality and scope of her understanding are impressively evidenced by the superior grades she has earned.”


AUGUST Student of the Month:
Doug Reisinger, Political Science major

Doug Reisinger

The August Internship/Co-op Student of the Month winner is Douglas Reisinger, an NIU Political Science major who interned with the U.S. Army JAG (Judge Advocate General) Corps at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. As the Army only awarded eight internships nationally with the JAG Corps, their expectations for Reisinger were high. Doug met these expectations and says, “My immersion into the field of military law and its accompanying stresses will better prepare me for law school and the Army alike while setting me apart from my peers.” Reisinger faced some tough real-life scenarios during his internship including: witnessing the execution of dozens of last wills and testaments as soldiers prepared to deploy; assisting in the prosecution of eight soldiers involved in an ecstasy ring; working diligently for the prosecution in a hearing that denied a decorated soldier an honorable discharge while he serves confinement for indecent sexual liberties with a child, adultery, and sodomy; and assisting in the drafting of divorce decrees. Reisinger states, “Dealing with clients and their emotions, and working under intense stress from other offices has reinforced my aspirations and provided me an enormous competitive edge.”

Charles D. Halverson, Captain, U.S. Army, and Special Assistant United States Attorney, Judge Advocate General's Corps, praises Reisinger's internship with the following words, “Doug's performance here was of such high caliber that I recommended the Army grant him an educational delay so that he may attend law school prior to fulfilling his ROTC commitment. I believe that Doug possesses the qualities of an effective leader and future successful attorney. He is a highly motivated and multi-talented student. In addition, I believe that his ever-positive attitude and cheerful personality would provide welcome refreshment to the sometimes tense law school environment.”

Daniel R. Kempton, Associate Professor and Chair of NIU's Department of Political Science, comments on Reisinger's academic work, “As a student Doug is exceptionally bright, likely one of the top five undergraduates I have had in 18 years of university teaching. In addition to being an excellent student in the classroom, Doug is also an excellent leader. I know from the other ROTC students that he has been selected for a number of leadership positions and has reportedly performed well in each. As the political science floor coordinator, Doug is exceptionally reliable and industrious. From the Student Association leaders here at NIU, I have learned that Doug takes his role as student senator with equal seriousness and is widely respected for the diligent manner in which he fulfills all of his responsibilities.”


SEPTEMBER Student of the Month:
Kimberly Hiller, Business Management major

Kimberly Hiller
September winner, Kimberly Hiller, a Business Management major at NIU, was most recently on an internship with HSBC in Prospect Heights, Illinois and worked as a HR Employee Equity Intern. While at HSBC, Kimberly was assigned to a subsection of the Compensation department called Employee Equity. Previous HR internships had given her experience in staffing, training, and evaluating employees. Kimberly's HSBC internship allowed her to gain knowledge in employee compensation. This employee equity internship also gave her a chance to utilize her international business skills through speaking with other countries and understanding differences in time zones, business etiquette, and lifestyle. Hiller commented about what she learned at NIU and the impact it had during the course of her internship in the following words, “HSBC did not reinforce my career goals, but made completely new ones. I feel this internship was a great way to utilize my previous internship experiences as well as draw from my academic studies.” She also credits the NIU Internship Program with the following comments, “I have used many resources at the Career Services Office such as internship fairs, website, resume critique flyers, mock interviews, and meetings with career counselors. This department has opened the door to many of my goals.”


OCTOBER Student of the Month:
David Nyquist, Operations Management major

David NyquistThe October Student of the Month winner, David Nyquist, an Operations Management major at NIU, interned with Eclipse, Inc. in Rockford, Illinois, as a process engineer. David played an active role in operations management at Eclipse, including authoring work instructions, improving floor layouts and process flow, and performing process mapping, inventory analysis, and capacity studies as well as being involved in new product development. He was also able to see the connection between his academic studies and working in the real world. In Nyquist's words, “My internship has greatly assisted me in both practicing my academic knowledge as well as reinforcing my like for the operations field. This work experience has provided me with a competitive edge for future employment; one, because it has given me a cross functional business experience; and two, because it has allowed me to both enhance applications already learned in class as well as learn new theories and approaches.”