Internships & Co-ops

2007 Internship/Co-op Student of the Month Winners

FEBRUARY Student of the Month:
Angel Lopez, Public Health Major

Angel LopezFebruary 2007 winner, Angel Lopez, a public health major at NIU, completed an internship with Edward Hospital & Health Services in Naperville, Illinois. Lopez said, “The course, Principles of Health Planning, provided an opportunity for me to become informed about current values and methods of health planning at both the community and institutional levels. I embraced a significant interest and liking in the direction of planning. As a member of the Planning & Business Development department within Edward Hospital, my practicum was enriched with a broad range of projects pertinent to the objectives of the Planning Department and many other countless, invaluable experiences. There is only so much a student can learn within a classroom setting. From jargon to the environment, Edward opened my eyes to that which I had not yet encountered and expanded my horizon.”

Jeff Sass, Manager of Market Research at Edward Hospital & Health Services, praised Lopez as, “displaying an exceptional level of passion, professionalism, and performance.” Sass stated that during Angel’s internship, Angel’s focus was “always to identify what could be learned from all situations. He displayed a hunger for meeting new people and understanding their perspective.”

Elizabeth Bormann, NIU Undergraduate Adviser/Practicum Coordinator, School of Allied Health Professions, commented on Angel’s academic performance by stating, “During his internship, Angel became an essential part of the market research team as evidenced by his participation in a state hearing in Springfield, Illinois. He was able to provide support and assistance to the administration members during a crucial time for the hospital. Angel has one of the strongest desires to help people that I have seen. He is genuinely interested in helping people and wants to make a positive difference in their lives.”

MARCH Student of the Month:
Lauren Battaglia, Public Health Major

Lauren BattagliaLauren Battaglia, also an NIU public health major, is the March 2007 winner. Battaglia interned with Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove, Illinois, as a Communications and Government Relations Intern. In describing her internship experience, Battaglia stated, “The objective of my internship was to gain experience in a hospital environment and observe how the departments of the hospital are interrelated and work together. I believe that my experience at Good Samaritan Hospital was much beyond my expectations and all of the knowledge I have learned will be useful in my professional career. Having the opportunity to be in a hospital environment and work alongside amazing nurses allows me to have a future career goal of becoming a nurse. In my internship, I found myself always looking to interact with patients. My passion lies in helping patients receive the best possible care. The encouragement and support that my supervisors gave me reinforced my goals of becoming a nurse.”

Sara Evans spoke highly of Battaglia, stating, “She is more than capable of managing a small group of people. As key communication lead on the Women’s and Infants’ Center Open House, Lauren created internal promotion and worked closely with our marketing counterpart to launch an advertorial and direct mailing campaign. With the help of this team, she produced a high-quality event and developed ways to meet their needs. Lauren possesses a passion for health care unlike any intern I have ever mentored. She not only possesses professional skills but brings emotion and compassion into every task.”

JUNE Student of the Month:
Paul Jonff, graduate Sports Management Major

Paul JonffPaul Jonff, a graduate sports management major at NIU, completed a marketing internship with Rawlings Sporting Goods in St. Louis, Missouri. Jonff said, “The internship at Rawlings related very well to my academic studies. At NIU, the sports management curriculum is business specific and is one of the leading programs in the country. The classes this internship related to in my program included sports marketing, sports law, and sports finance. Some of the opportunities I received at Rawlings included: handling promotions and market research at the Men's and Women's College World Series and the Babe Ruth League World Series; competitive and internal product analysis for all major sporting goods companies; being involved with the marketing plans for the first annual high school and collegiate Rawlings Gold Glove award winners; creating a summary binder of all current licensee information and royalty breakdowns; and evaluating endorsed players' contracts. This internship with Rawlings Sporting Goods was better than I could have ever dreamed.”

David Zumbach, Vice President, Product Management, Brand and Sports Marketing and Licensing at the Rawlings Group, stated that “Paul has done a fantastic job in helping us relaunch our licensing initiatives with our licensees.” Zumbach praised Jonff as, “a key contributor to all the initiatives undertaken in reestablishing the licensing division as a major contributor to the Rawlings Group of brands.”

Rodney Caughron, Ph.D., NIU Sports Management Associate Professor, commented on Paul’s academic performance by stating, “I typically do not let students do their internships in the first summer of their degree program, but Paul has demonstrated the intelligence and leadership abilities that I advocate my students acquire during their time at NIU. Paul has opened up a great future opportunity for our students in sports management with one of the top equipment and apparel manufacturers in sporting goods because of the excellent job he has done at the company.”

JULY Student of the Month:
Martin Messmer, Geology Major

Martin MessmerMartin Messmer, NIU geology major, is the July 2007 winner. 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.”

AUGUST Student of the Month:
Ashley Leman, Organizational Management Major

Ashley LemanAshley Leman is an NIU organizational management major, who interned with EADS SOCATA, an aircraft manufacturing company in France. As a customer support staff intern at EADS SOCATA, Leman was given the opportunity to “have the experience of a lifetime. Not only did I have the opportunity to intern in a foreign country, but I got to combine my business experience thus far with my love of aviation.” After returning from France, Leman spent two weeks at the Air Academy in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, as a counselor in an aviation camp for teenagers as part of her internship. In describing her internship experience as it relates to her academic studies, Leman stated, “My analytical skills were tested when I was asked to find areas in which SOCATA needed improvement. I was very glad that I felt prepared to do business in a foreign country. Taking away everything I learned in my classes at NIU, I was comfortable with the experience overall. Business etiquette, foreign relations, and difficulties with working overseas were all subjects that I had studied in school.”

Nicolas Chabbert, President, EADS SOCATA North America, praises Leman’s internship with the following words, “Ashley became one of our most valued interns we ever had. She rapidly demonstrated a wide variety of talents in both aeronautics and business. She demonstrated her willingness and enthusiasm to do what is necessary to get the job done and to exceed the expectations of her employer.”

Stephen Franklin, NIU College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, commented on Leman’s academic work, “I know Ashley as a first-rate student, a lucid writer, and a highly articulate speaker. She is confident, forthright, committed, and secure in the knowledge of herself and her goals.”

SEPTEMBER Student of the Month:
Jamie Skinner, Psychology Major

Jamie SkinnerJamie Skinner, an NIU psychology major, completed an Enrollment and Match Specialist internship with Big Brothers Big Sisters of DeKalb County in DeKalb, Illinois. Skinner said, “My internship at Big Brothers Big Sisters of DeKalb County has definitely been a growing experience, both personally and professionally. I monitored my caseload’s mentor relationships and had to solve problems and sensitive issues while remaining on neutral grounds when the issues arose. My classroom experience aided me in making decisions by providing me with a foundation of knowledge about personalities, mental disabilities or challenges, and ways to help an individual who is struggling with challenges. My internship was such a hands-on experience, as I actually got to conduct orientations, child, parent, and volunteer interviews, home visits, and matches. I would recommend an internship to anyone because you get what most job seekers are looking for: experience. No matter how many credit hours of class I have sat through or how many papers I have written, there is nothing like hands-on experience and being in the situation. Working at Big Brothers Big Sisters has reinforced my career plans to work with children and help to guide them in the right direction.”

Karen Orser, Director, Big Brothers Big Sisters of DeKalb County, stated that “Jamie has been a great asset to the Community Based Mentoring Program and has experienced nearly all aspects of the department. While learning about all these different areas, Jamie decided she wanted to actually participate in the Community Based program, so she is volunteering as Big Sister to an 8-year-old Little Sister. Jamie has been a very responsible, dependable intern and did not hesitate in taking on any task she was assigned with seriousness. At the same time, she has remained very friendly and warm to the clients, as well as a very team-oriented, positive person with the Big Brothers Big Sisters staff.”

Dr. Lisa Finkelstein, NIU Department of Psychology, commented on Skinner's academic performance by stating, “Jamie came to me for advising when she first transferred in to NIU, and we spent a long time talking. I was very impressed with her maturity and organization. She did a great job in class. She is smart, a great participator, and highly motivated. She was one of the best undergrads to work in my lab. Jamie is responsible, friendly, and has great ideas.”

OCTOBER Student of the Month:
Sharaelle Arizmendi, NIU Public Administration graduate student

Sharaelle ArizmendiSharaelle Arizmendi, an NIU public administration graduate student, is the October 2007 winner. Arizimendi interned with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services in Washington, D.C., and Chicago, Illinois, as a student intern. In describing her internship experience, Arizimendi stated, “Through my internship, I was able to accomplish many objectives that many do not get to experience throughout their college career. My internship in Washington, D.C., for the Executive Secretariat (EXSEC) within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), has been a life-changing opportunity. Through my high school and college undergraduate years, I had always enjoyed learning about new regulations and changes that were being made in our nation’s immigration policies. This past summer immigration debates became very important issues, which concerned many illegal immigrants and Americans as well. I was very fortunate to have worked for the EXSEC while Congress debated a new Immigration Reform Act. The exposure I received was astounding to me; but most importantly, having a position with the EXSEC office gave me an amazing opportunity by allowing me to gain exposure to many important issues, as well as the ability to meet well recognized and respectable people. This internship has allowed me to grow personally and professionally, and that is something that cannot be taught in a classroom. I feel that my internship was one of the most valuable experiences I was able to take away from my four years as an undergraduate.”

Yvette LaGonterie, Chief, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, spoke highly of Arizmendi, stating, “The Office of the Executive Secretariat is a relatively new branch within USCIS, and Ms. Arizmendi was one of the first student interns employed by this office. Often people who contact this agency seeking assistance or raising concerns lack the ability to articulate clearly their desires and issues. Preparing a response to such individuals requires more than just knowledge of immigration rules and regulations; it also requires that the responder have the ability to comprehend the writer’s meaning and the skill to explain complex issues in clear, simple and compassionate language. One of Ms. Arizmendi’s duties while working in this office involved assisting in the program to maintain quality control over outgoing correspondence. I was very impressed with how quickly she was able to demonstrate the knowledge, abilities and skill to perform her duties. In her short time with us, she established a benchmark that will be difficult for future interns to meet.”

Vicki Clarke, PhD, Program and Internship Coordinator, NIU Division of Public Administration, highly praised Sharaelle and her internship experience. Clarke stated, “Very few NIU students have had the opportunity to intern in Washington through The Washington Center. That Sharaelle was able to be placed at the top of the agency working directly with the Chief of Citizenship and Immigration Services is remarkable. ”