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February 2006 winner, Sheena Elzie, a Journalism major at NIU, was most recently on an internship with CNN-Chicago, working as a news department intern. While at CNN, Sheena states she was “coming up with at least six story ideas a day, following each story idea up with additional research, doing personal interviews, and writing scripts.” Elzie related her academic studies to her internship experience by saying, “having an internship at CNN has not changed my career goals, but it has turned my goals and dreams into a reality. I got first hand experience on how a real newsroom operates and was able to apply my acquired knowledge to real world situations. Everyday that I was there working with producers and reporters, I felt like I was that much closer to achieving my career goal. I felt I was finally being rewarded for hours of studying and writing exercises.”
Grace Ramirez, CNN-Chicago Internship Coordinator, praised Elzie’s work by stating, “In the time Sheena has been an intern with us here at CNN, she has proven to be a very helpful and reliable member of our newsroom team.”
Dale Zacher, NIU Department of Communication Assistant Professor, commented on Sheena’s job experiences relative to her academic studies in journalism. He stated, “Sheena has been extremely active in taking advantage of part-time work, practica and internships. In journalism, we encourage our students to get some ‘real-world’ experience in their chosen profession, and Sheena is the ‘poster child’ for what we would love every student to do. These are challenging job experiences she has sought out, and they show well her determination to become the best journalist she can be.”
The March 2006 Student of the Month winner, Samantha Gartrell, a rehabilitation counseling graduate student at NIU, interned as a transition rehabilitation counselor in the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Department at Hinsdale South High School in Darien, Illinois. In describing her internship Samantha said, “The transition program at Hinsdale South provides transition from school to work for deaf students who are low functioning. It concentrates on vocational training, job placement, assessments, and trial employment which helps them gain the experience and skills they need after completing high school. I was well prepared for this type of position because the Rehabilitation Counseling program in the Communicative Disorders department at NIU emphasizes all of the above."
Sue Ouellette, Professor and Chair of NIU’s Department of Communicative Disorders, states that some of Samantha’s work included arranging adult role models to speak with students about occupational choices, arranging field trips to various job sites, providing job coaching to students on work assignments and administering career assessment inventories, as well as working with students on independent living skills and community integration. Dr. Ouellette describes Samantha as “an enthusiastic student who is very committed to pursuing the goal of becoming a rehabilitation counselor and working professionally with individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing.”
Candy Butler, Transition Services Coordinator for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Department at Hindsdale South High School, spoke about Samantha’s dedication and dependability during her internship by saying, “Throughout the past few months, Samantha has taken on some very challenging issues with students and their families. She has willingly helped to coordinate services and supports. Samantha has become a valuable member of our team, participating effectively in staff meetings to provide valuable information about students and their progress.”
The June 2006 winner, Anthony Querciagrossa, a finance major at NIU, was most recently on a second internship with Emerson Electric in Vienna, Austria. While at Emerson, Querciagrossa states he “had the extraordinary opportunity to complete an internship abroad and gain valuable global experience at an early stage in my career.” Tony’s internship at Emerson involved gathering data at a newly acquired company and analyzing data relating to product costing, product business performance, product strategy and product survival. Querciagrossa related his academic studies to his internship experience by saying, “My academic studies at Northern Illinois University have provided me a strong foundation to draw upon. I was called upon by my employer to complete several financial analyses that were very similar to the analyses I completed in my academic coursework. The cross-functional business experience taught through the NIU UBUS program readied me for working across different functional groups in a major global company.”
Dr. Kenneth Elliott, NIU Department of Management, commented on Tony’s academic performance by stating, “Tony has distinguished himself amongst his classmates in terms of academic success, oral presentation skills, and leadership development. He is bright, energetic, insightful, sensitive and supportive of other students. He is clearly someone who achieves by working with people rather than walking over people. Tony frequently shows a talent for in-depth analysis and enriches classroom discussion by bringing in his real-life experiences.”
Emerson Vice-President, Mark Wasserman, praised Querciagrossa’s work by stating, “Tony has been a hard-working, eager intern who provided insightful strategic feedback, while performing a large number of tasks efficiently and with limited direct supervision.”
NIU accounting graduate student, Jenna Eyberger, is the July 2006 winner. Eyberger interned as a tax/audit compliance specialist for Motorola in Schaumburg, Illinois. In describing her internship Jenna said, “I viewed my internship as a fantastic opportunity to learn as much about everything as I possibly could, and I seized that opportunity and ran with it. At Motorola I had the pleasure of working directly under the tax and internal controls manager. Before I started, I didn’t understand how two such distinct areas as internal controls and tax could mesh into a single managerial role. But the internship was surprisingly similar to school in that you get a little taste of everything.” When Eyberger was asked if she would recommend career-related work experiences to other students she replied, “Interning is a powerful and smart career move; this is definitely one bandwagon that more people should be jumping on. My only regret is that I didn’t do it sooner.”
NIU Department of Accounting faculty, Tamara Phelan and Katrina Mantzke, both praised Eyberger’s academic performance as solid and consistent and feel that she will find success as she completes her MAS degree and begins her career in the accounting profession.
Kelly Dobson, Motorola Internal Controls and Tax Manager, spoke highly of Eyberger stating, “Jenna was a key contributor on our team and actively sought out additional and more complex assignments during her internship. Her energy and efficiency were key in completing several projects. Over the course of the internship, Jenna was able to sharpen her time management and leadership skills, as well as bring a fresh perspective to various processes.”
The August Internship/Co-op Student of the Month winner is John Sauber, an NIU electrical engineering major, who interned with Shure Incorporated in Niles, Illinois. As a software development systems intern at Shure, Sauber was given the opportunity to “pursue a long-held desire to incorporate two great interests in my life; music and technology.” Sauber stated, “I have been an active musician for the past sixteen years, and I have always wanted to continue to grow and develop this ability. After deciding to pursue an electrical engineering degree, the challenges of incorporating music into my career have grown slightly difficult. However, having worked at Shure over the summer, I was able to join my technical skills with my longtime passion for music.”
NIU Department of Electrical Engineering Professor, Gerald Miller, commented on Sauber’s academic work, “Mr. Sauber is steadfastly interested in the subjects he chooses and diligently pursues them. I have seen Mr. Sauber strengthen his problem-solving skills and grow in the speed in which he grasps complex issues. He sees his academic immersion as an important opportunity and acts accordingly.”
Dale Schiller, Sr. Program Manager at Shure, praises Sauber’s internship with the following words, “Whether the task was to integrate and install new hardware, write custom loading scripts in a completely new language for him, or figure out how to move flexible licensing from an old box to a new one, John never failed to complete the tasks he was assigned. He would read any materials to gain knowledge and ask questions from resources that could help direct his efforts. John was relentless in his work, while maintaining a great sense of humor. I could not have asked for more.”
The September Internship/Co-op Student of the Month winner is Michael Celis, a political science major at NIU, who completed a very competitive internship with the U.S. Department of State at the American Embassy in Manila, Philippines. Celis said, “This State Department internship has given me first-hand job experience in a foreign affairs environment. While interning at the American Embassy in Manila, I learned how the State Department operates and what it is like to serve as a Foreign Service Officer in the Diplomatic Corps. I was charged with many of the same responsibilities as other Foreign Service Officers that I worked with, and saw first-hand how powerful U.S. diplomacy is in the Philippines.”
Michael’s internship with the State Department involved reporting on the communist insurgency in the Philippines, contributing to biographic reporting on Philippine leaders, assisting the Deputy Political Counselor on security/external affairs concerning political/military issues such as counter-terrorism efforts in the Philippines, and serving as a site officer for a visiting U.S. Congressional delegation led by the Chairman of the House International Relations Committee, Congressman Hyde (R-IL).
Kheang Un, NIU Assistant Director, Center for Southeast Asian Studies, commented on Tony’s academic performance by stating, “Mr. Celis impressed me as an extremely motivated, talented and conscientious student. Mr. Celis is very informed about American politics and global affairs. I know how broad his interests are in trying to understand global politics and to contribute to the wider community here in the United States and abroad.”
Scott Bellard, Counselor for Political Affairs with the American Embassy in Manila, praised Celis as “being quickly able to adjust to the unique U.S. Foreign Service and the local Philippine culture, aided by superlative interpersonal skills.” Bellard stated that during Celis’s internship, Celis “used advanced research skills and excellent contact work inside and outside the U.S. Embassy to produce a half dozen reports that significantly educated U.S. policymakers in the Department of State and other U.S. Government agencies about the current scope of the longstanding Communist insurgency, the recent trends in violence and killings, the new Philippine government strategy, and the policy and tactical responses of the Communist Party of the Philippines and its New People’s Army, both of which are on the U.S. Government’s list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations.”
Steven Henry is the October 2006 winner. Henry interned with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in Washington, D.C., as part of the Office of the Chief Engineer within the Space Operations Mission Directorate.
In describing his internship experience, Henry stated, “I had the great opportunity to experience many different engineering aspects. I was able to sit in on the STS-121 launch review meetings, as well as the mission progress meetings during orbit. These all gave me insights into real world engineering feats and problems.”
“One of the problems that I was able to explore at my internship was shuttle foam loss. I was able to use knowledge of strengths of materials to better understand why and how the foam causes damage to the orbiter. I also saw how even though the space shuttle has the most reliable components in the world, all of them combined can still create malfunction. Throughout my internship I was able to get a better grasp of how the space shuttle propulsion system works and the physics of getting an object into orbit.”
Stanley Fishkind, Chief Engineer in the Space Operations Mission Directorate at NASA, spoke highly of Henry stating, “Mr. Henry is a very hard working man. He has the ability to follow difficult engineering problems, break the problems down to their components, do the analyses, and construct one or more practical solutions. Adapting to a rigorous environment, rising to and exceeding the challenges, and achieving beyond our expectations were traits that bode well in his pursuit of a career in mechanical engineering.”