Internships & Co-ops

2011 Internship/Co-op Student of the Month Winners

FEBRUARY Student of the Month:
Danielle Brouillette, communications major

Danielle Brouillette

The February 2011 recipient, 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.”

March Student of the Month:
Shilen Patel, accountancy major

Shilen Patel

The March 2011 recipient, 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.”

June Student of the Month: 
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.”

July Student of the Month: 
Katherine Pawlicki, psychology major

Katie Pawlicki

The July 2011 recipient, Katherine Pawlicki, psychology major, interned with Ben Gordon Center in DeKalb, Illinois. In describing her experience, Katherine wrote, “I started out solely as an administrative intern, hoping to gain more knowledge on what a Human Resources Coordinator does and to see if it would be the right career path for me. I soon discovered that it was not what I was looking for in a career. My primary interest within psychology has always been counseling/therapy and so I continued the internship in hopes of gaining knowledge from the therapists that I worked with in close proximity. I was progressively given more and more jobs pertaining to social media advertising and fundraising events. I was given the responsibility to establish the Facebook and Twitter page for the facility to increase Ben Gordon Center’s social awareness within the community. I completed hours of research on facts about mental health. Throughout the process, I was included in administrative team meetings. This gave me a good look into the business aspect of the mental health world. I came to realize that deciding how the day-to-day operations of a mental health facility should be run can be the difference between receiving funding and grants and shutting the facility down. It is just as influential and important to the mental health profession as helping clients personally. Before the second semester, I learned about an opportunity to be involved in a social skills group for kids called “Building Change.” I asked to be considered for this as an extension of my current internship and was accepted immediately. This program teaches appropriate social skills to kids in grade school, middle school, and high school who have various behavioral disorders. Not only has my internship expanded my scope within the mental health world, it has expanded my scope of interest within counseling as well.” Michael Flora, MBA, M.A.Ed, LCPC, LSW, President and CEO, of Ben Gordon Center, praised Katherine’s internship with the following words: “Ms. Pawlicki has assisted our awareness efforts by developing Ben Gordon Center’s social media marketing. The biggest barrier to getting care is the stigma associated with receiving services. The use of social media has allowed us to begin breaking down this barrier in our community. This year, we witnessed a 46% increase in the demand for services. Ms. Pawlicki has demonstrated excellent clinical, leadership, and business knowledge.” Angela Grippo, Ph.D., Faculty Advisor for the Student Psychological Association (SPA), NIU Department of Psychology, commented on Katherine’s role as an officer in the SPA. “Katherine’s duties included interacting with the members of the SPA, advertising meetings and coordinating meeting topics, volunteer opportunities, and events for the members of the SPA. I have been extremely impressed with Katherine’s maturity level and dedication. I have asked Katherine to continue with the SPA and encouraged her to consider becoming the president of the organization.”

August Student of the Month: 
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.”

September Student of the Month: 
Mitchell Semple, mechanical engineering major

Semple, Mitch

The September 2011 recipient, 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.”


October Student of the Month: 
Ashley Stambaugh, public administration major

Ashley Stambaugh

The October 2011 recipient, Ashley Stambaugh, public administration major, interned with the Village of Oakbrook, Illinois, as an administrative intern. In describing her experience, Ashley wrote, “In the classroom, I have gained tremendous exposure to theories pertaining to governance, program analysis, budgeting techniques, organizational structure, and metropolitan government. My internship has taken my learning to another level – building upon the core competencies of the program and providing a hands-on approach to public service learning. My internship is helping unleash my potential as a passionate leader in government and is equipping me to be an innovative, inclusive policymaker. I have experienced numerous learning opportunities in my internship. I redesigned the quarterly newsletter that is sent to each resident of the community, taking the newsletter from a black and white, 6-page, text-heavy document to a full color, 12-page, magazine-like document that is now subsidized with advertisements from local businesses. Through engaging employees and departmental leadership across the entire organization, I authored an employee code of conduct. The code was designed to serve as a living, breathing promise by which employees pledged positive behaviors, such as respect, responsibility, safety, inclusion, professionalism and wellness. Under the direction of the Public Works Department and my supervisor, I created a 20-page standard operating procedure for green fleet management. This policy formally established the Village’s commitment to reducing its energy use and carbon footprint. My internship has given me the opportunity to apply what I have learned and bolster my skill set prior to starting my first position. My supervisor has served as a mentor for me, giving me constant feedback for improvement and helping me to grow my strengths as an asset to the Village of Oak Brook and for a lifetime of public service.” Blaine Wing, Assistant Village Manager, Village of Oak Brook, praises Ashley’s internship with the following words: “Ashley has proven her leadership while participating at Oak Brook in many projects. I’ve watched her put forth the extra effort to accomplish projects, and these projects have greatly impacted the Village staff as well as the entire community. Ashley is very approachable and is already respected within the Public Administration profession.” Samantha Fisher, former MPA Program Coordinator, Northern Illinois University Division of Public Administration, commented on Ashley’s academic work: “Ashley faced the rigors of this academic and professional internship program head on and has received exemplary grades and internship evaluations each semester. She currently holds a 4.0 cumulative GPA, and her writing and critical thinking skills are excellent. It has been both an honor and a privilege to help develop this student into the outstanding professional she is today.”