Internships & Co-ops

2010 Internship/Co-op Student of the Month Winners

FEBRUARY Student of the Month:
John Weidl, Public Administration Major

John Weidl

February 2010 recipient, John Weidl, public administration major, completed an administrative internship with the Village of Lake Zurich in Lake Zurich, Illinois. In describing his internship experience, Weidl said, “My internship provided hands-on experiences that facilitate informed classroom discussions and peer education, providing contextual depth to classroom examples. Numerous learning situations exemplify the benefits of my internship experience. The village administrator and I developed a strategic planning process for newly elected officials to facilitate consensus and decision making. Due to the planning process, I authored the Lake Zurich 2010-12 Strategic Plan, a document outlining the mission, vision, guiding principles of the community, organizational planning cycles, and strategic goals and objectives of the Village of Lake Zurich. Additionally, I authored the Village’s first comprehensive community satisfaction survey, incorporating valuable stakeholder input into the strategic planning process. The experience of developing the strategic planning document and community satisfaction survey exposed me to program analysis, data collection, survey development, and qualitative and quantitative analyses of research reports and other policy documents. I would absolutely recommend the internship experience to all students committed to personal and professional growth and looking for a way to jumpstart their careers.”

Bob Vitas, Village Administrator, Village of Lake Zurich, speaks highly of John saying, “During my many years in the local government profession I have not encountered a graduate school intern with John’s talents and great enthusiasm for entering public service. John is one of the most outstanding young professional interns at NIU’s MPA program and has clearly demonstrated his academic, professional and leadership abilities early on in his career through an active role in numerous Village programs and projects. The Village’s strategic planning document, community satisfaction survey, and quarterly performance evaluations exposed John to key areas of municipal governance such as program analysis, policy research, and interpersonal communication skills.”

Curt Wood, Ph.D., NIU Associate Professor of Public Administration, stated, “Mr. Weidl has demonstrated that he is a very bright, enthusiastic, and responsible student. Mr. Weidl regularly uses his experiences in Lake Zurich to connect to the public administration readings during class discussion and in assigned papers. He always comes prepared for class, makes a contribution during class discussion, and works well with his peers one-on-one and in groups. Mr. Weidl has demonstrated that he is self-motivated, goal directed, and persistent.”


MARCH Student of the Month:
Prima Patel, Accountancy Major

Prima Patel

Prima Patel, accountancy major, is the March 2010 Internship/Co-op Student of the Month recipient. Patel 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.


JUNE Student of the Month:
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.”


JULY Student of the Month:
Heloiza de Castro e Silva, Marketing Major

Heloiza de Castro e Silva

Heloiza de Castro e Silva, marketing major, is the July 2010 Internship/Co-op Student of the Month. 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.”


AUGUST Student of the Month:
Melissa Steirer, Public Administration Major

Melissa Steirer

The August 2010 Internship/Co-op Student of the Month recipient is Melissa Steirer, an NIU public administration major, who interned with the Village of Schaumburg as an Administrative Intern. In describing her internship experience, Melissa states, “My internship enables me to learn how a large, full-service municipality is operated and directly relates to my academic studies in the field of Public Administration. Often when I am at work, I will encounter a situation resembling a topic discussed in class, and will know how to best approach and resolve the issue because of coursework. As an intern, I was put in charge of the Residential Audit and Retrofit Program and the Commercial Energy Efficiency Retrofit Program. Jumping in to the project head-first was a challenge, but I quickly learned how to properly set up and efficiently and effectively run programs. My internship has impacted my career goals by affirming that I am meant for the field of public service. I hope to eventually have a job in the same subject area of general government and environmental sustainability. Internships are an invaluable asset to understanding careers in the real world. As a student, I have had four internships and each of them taught me something about what I did or did not want to do in the future.”

Paula Hewson, Senior Assistant to the Village Manager, Village of Schaumburg, praises Melissa’s internship with the following words, “Melissa has proven herself to be a valuable contributing member of our team. She is currently excelling in her work on a unique program (Residential Energy Retro Fit Program) in which she has no prior experience, and has received positive comments from residents that are participating in the program. It is because of her leadership skills and enthusiasm to get tasks accomplished, that I have been more and more comfortable with providing her with varied experiences while she is with us. Melissa is very professional and keen to learn as much as she can.”

Curt Wood, NIU Division of Public Administration Associate Professor, commented on Melissa’s academic work. “Melissa is an outstanding student who comes prepared for class, asks good questions, eloquently articulates her ideas, and performs well in class assignments. She also exhibits much enthusiasm for studying the theory and practice of public administration, relates extremely well with students and her professors, and ably connects her experiences as an Administrative Intern at the Village of Schaumburg with the public administration readings. Melissa was elected by her peers to serve as the President of PASA (Public Administration Student Association). I am confident she will serve as an excellent and productive leader of PASA.”


SEPTEMBER Student of the Month:
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.”


OCTOBER Student of the Month:
Ashley Savage,  Nursing Major

Ashley Savage

The October 2010 Internship/Co-op Student of the Month recipient is 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.”