Internships & Co-ops

2012 Internship/Co-op Student of the Month Winners

FEBRUARY Student of the Month: 
Michael Strong, public administration major

Michael Strong

The February 2012 recipient, Michael Strong, public administration major, completed a planning internship with the Village of Glen Ellyn, Illinois. In describing his experience, Michael said, “The internship experience has significantly enhanced my capacity for public service by providing an avenue for further developing and practicing skills and knowledge that I have learned in the classroom. Serving as the Historic Preservation Commission staff liaison has challenged me to develop my critical thinking skills. I was responsible for communicating with elected officials and volunteers in the community, preparing memorandum, and coordinating projects vis-à-vis elected officials and residents in the community. I presented to the Village Board to support efforts to nominate a National Register Historic District in the downtown, and it was unanimously approved. Additionally, I coordinated a zoning variation request for a resident. This resident was issued a stop work order for constructing a deck in his backyard without a permit. We also realized that this property was located in an area of special flood hazard, which requires a special variation to be allowed. I worked very closely with this resident, walking him through the process, and assisting him in preparing documents, which alleviated potential backlash. Taking additional time to meet with this resident showed him that the government cares and is capable of cooperating with residents to solve issues. The internship experience has rewarded me with the opportunity to build relationships with professionals in the field. I believe strongly in staying involved in the professional community, and look forward to continuing to network with current and future public administrators.”

Michelle Stegall, Village Planner, Village of Glen Ellyn, Illinois, speaks highly of Michael, saying, “Mike has proven to be a hard-working, energetic and valuable member of the Village team. He has assisted with a range of projects, including reviewing Village business grant applications, creating a new downtown parking brochure, following up on payment and utility connection requirements in annexation agreements and reviewing zoning requests. Mike is also the staff liaison to the Historic Preservation Commission. The work that Mike performs for the Village is meaningful and could not be done without his assistance.”

Gerald T. Gabris, PhD, Distinguished Teaching Professor, NIU Division of Public Administration, commented on Michael’s academic work. “Michael has an excellent academic record at NIU with a 3.75 GPA which qualifies him for national scholar recognition. Internships should provide students like Michael Strong the opportunity to learn and grow professionally. But this is a two-way street. The student must display the competency and willingness to take on important assignments and to then produce good results. In my estimation, Michael Strong has more than lived up to his side of the bargain, and could be considered a role model for administrative interns. His work and success reflects the type of person that makes NIU proud in its relationships with interning agencies.”

March Student of the Month: 
Tyler Swanlund, accountancy major

Tyler Swanlund

The March 2012 recipient, Tyler Swanlund, accountancy major, interned with KPMG, LLP, in Chicago, Illinois, as an audit intern. In describing his experience, Tyler wrote, “An internship in public accounting provides accountancy majors countless opportunities to apply their accounting knowledge and observe accounting and auditing principles in practice. Before I started my internship, I had been using an analogy of a foggy mirror to describe my understanding of auditing. I could ask questions and study textbooks, but I still could not get a clear idea of what auditing was really like. By performing audit procedures such as sending bank confirmations, selecting samples, and inquiring a company’s management, I was able to see firsthand the auditing principles I had learned about in previous semesters. At the same time, I also expanded and solidified my knowledge of financial reporting. For example, when auditing a company’s repairs and maintenance expense, I asked one of the company’s employees to describe why the company chose to expense a repair instead of capitalizing it. This was a direct application of the accounting for repairs and maintenance expense that I had learned in my financial reporting class, and it helped to solidify my knowledge of the subject by having to understand and apply it in a real scenario. I started my internship with the mindset that auditing was not going to be enjoyable, but over the course of the internship, almost all of my preconceptions about public accounting have been proved untrue. Overall, the internship has given me a fresh perspective on my education and future career, and I look forward to starting NIU’s Master of Accountancy program this summer and continuing at KPMG full-time after I graduate in spring of 2013.”

Neal Simons of KPMG, LLP, praised Tyler’s internship with the following words: “Tyler spent the entire busy season, from the start of field work through filing, on a large SEC client with some complex accounting issues. From day one, Tyler showed an immediate interest in the job and in the larger picture of understanding the work he did. As his internship progressed, Tyler took on increasing levels of responsibility including leading his own audit areas. Tyler also made tremendous improvements in ‘soft’ skills such as his ability to interact directly with the client and confidently with the rest of his team, including with managers and partners. As the strongest intern I have ever worked with during my tenure with KPMG, I truly believe Tyler has a tremendous future ahead of him and hope to be able to work with him again.”

Joan Petros, UBUS 311 Team Leader and Instructor, Northern Illinois University, College of Business, commented on Tyler’s academic work: “UBUS 311 is an application seminar in which students apply the concepts learned in the business principles course to contemporary business situations. The course is quite rigorous and most students find it to be very challenging. Tyler was also chosen through an interview process to participate on an Experiential Learning Center (ELC) Team that performed as junior consultants for the Junior League of Kane and DuPage Counties, Inc. Tyler received excellent scores on all the assignments and exams in UBUS 311. In both classes, it was clear that Tyler is extremely bright and catches on to concepts very quickly. He is very hard working and has high expectations for himself and others on the team.”

JUNE Student of the Month: 
Poonam Maniyar, management information systems major

Michael Strong

The June 2012 recipient, Poonam Maniyar, management information systems major, interned with exp US Services, Inc., in Chicago, Illinois, as an IT programmer intern. In describing her experience, Poonam wrote, “The courses offered in the MIS program provide me with the vision and analytical skills to foresee the real-time challenges faced in today’s rapidly growing organizations. These courses also empower me with a clearer understanding of quality control and improvement techniques. As an IT programmer intern at exp US Services, Inc., my tasks included, but were not limited, to assisting and editing internal applications and reports, testing, and SQL database development and migration. I was able to apply all the knowledge gained in my courses in real-world settings while working on different IT projects and gain more professional experience. Having the real life experiences and being in the field helped me gain experience and knowledge that I could then share with my fellow classmates and discuss with my professors. My career goal is a position that will enable me to utilize my business management, programming, database, and software skills in information systems. The internship at exp US Services gave me a chance to utilize and apply these skills on projects. The internship also provided me an opportunity to learn the latest technologies, like SharePoint.”

Tanita Siripanich,exp US Services, Inc., praised Poonam’s internship with the following words: “Poonam was extremely versed and comfortable in her position with our company. She showed a strong understanding in the pre-production phase and in coordinating with other development teams in a professional and knowledgeable manner. Her ability and technical skills were certainly tested during her internship with exp US Services.”

Steve Kispert, Program Advisor and Internship Coordinator, Northern Illinois University, Operations Management and Information Systems Department, commented on Poonam’s academic work: “Since her start in the MIS program, Poonam has displayed her desire and ambition to become a more-than-passive part of the program. This is evident in her position as a graduate assistant for MIS professor Dr. Richard Born. Dr. Born has repeatedly described Poonam as the best GA he has ever had in his 25+ year tenure at NIU. The OM&IS Department, as well as NIU, are undoubtedly benefitting from Poonam’s representation, projecting a positive reflection of our programs and students beyond the classroom.”

JULY Student of the Month: 
Lindsey Gordon, biodiversity and environmental restoration major

Tyler Swanlund

The July 2012 recipient, Lindsey Gordon, biodiversity and environmental restoration major, completed a lab internship with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) in Springfield, Illinois. In describing her experience, Lindsey said, “This internship experience closely related to my academic studies in the environmental studies program, which introduced me to environmental policy. Additionally, laboratory procedures learned in chemistry labs allowed me to better understand the daily activities required by my internship at the IEPA. As my focus and interest in the environment centers around biodiversity and restoration, exposure to the IEPA allowed me to build hands-on experience around my classroom learning. During this internship, my daily work was in a laboratory setting with several lab associates and chemists. Before this internship, I did not have the life experience necessary to be able to approach colleagues in a confident manner to discuss work issues. The IEPA internship provided an opportunity to learn the techniques of field sampling. I learned how to use a portable GIS tracking system, GEO pro, and instruments to capture water samples. Not only did I learn actual techniques and machine operations, but I also gained the knowledge needed to perform the task alone. After this internship, I am even more committed to my educational goals in environmental science. I now have a better understanding of the importance of environmental policy and of the research performed to monitor the impact society has on the ecosystems around us.”

Natalie Nichols, Division of Laboratories, Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, speaks highly of Lindsey, saying, “Lindsey is eager to learn and has worked with several of our chemists and associates on various instruments and projects. This allowed her the opportunity to gain a vast degree of hands on experience and knowledge of successful laboratory practices. Lindsey’s quality of work is exceptional, and she is very careful in her precision and accuracy when performing sample preparation and analysis. She is easily the best intern I have had the pleasure of working with, and I would not hesitate to recommend her for employment.”

Reed Scherer, PhD, Professor and Director, NIU Department of Environmental Studies, commented on Lindsey’s academic work: “Lindsey Gordon is a star in our new major. Mature, motivated, and highly intelligent, she fully embraces our interdisciplinary mission and is an inspiration to our other students. Her coursework, her performance in her internship with IEPA, and her dedication to extracurricular work in Environmental Studies has demonstrated not just her skills and professionalism, but clear leadership qualities as well.”

AUGUST Student of the Month: 
Christina Crow, communication major

Michael Strong

The August 2012 recipient, Christina Crow, communication major, completed a social media internship with Arlington Healthcare in Rolling Meadows, Illinois. In describing her experience, Christina said, “My internship enabled me to find out how the theoretical concepts from my studies relate to the corporate world. By utilizing various social media and social networks in a professional manner, I was able to gain extensive experience in the areas of public relations and relationship marketing. My internship experience was great, since it gave me the satisfying feeling of making an actual change for Arlington Healthcare and being able to improve its external communication practices with hospitals and physicians through LindedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. Once I had created the company’s social media presence, my task was to promote them and increase viewer traffic. In order to do so, I developed an e-mail campaign that targeted 13,000 graduating physician residents, providing them with valuable resources to make their transition from residency to practice successful and helping them to develop important, new connections. Since I enjoyed my internship assignment very much, I can definitely imagine working in public relations after graduation.”

Chad Randolph and Cheryl Heuer of Arlington Healthcare spoke highly of Christina, saying “Christina went above and beyond our expectations and has increased our value as a company. We were surprised with how quickly she learned our business and grew our social media services. Christina proved to be extremely valuable for our company, and we were fortunate to have a great person, team player, student and leader.”

Mary Lynn Henningsen, PhD, Associate Professor, NIU Department of Communication, commented on Christina’s academic work. “Christina is an excellent student. In the 11 years that I have taught at NIU, I have never had a student perform so well in a class. Christina is also a peer mentor. Christina, completely voluntarily, helped other students in the course to improve their performance on exams and papers.”

SEPTEMBER Student of the Month: 
Lindsey Diehl, journalism major

Michael Strong

The September 2012 recipient, Lindsey Diehl, journalism major, interned with WLS-TV/ABC 7 News in Chicago, Illinois, as a Disability News Intern. In describing her experience, Lindsey wrote, “I had the amazing opportunity to work at WLS-TV/ABC 7 News under Disability News Reporter Karen Meyer. I learned so much during that time not only about the industry as a whole, but a lot about myself as well. Every aspect about this internship related to my academic studies. I became familiar with researching my own stories, setting up shoots with P.R. executives, creating pre-production rundowns, brainstorming about b-roll possibilities and working with editors to assist in helping create the piece. Working to deliver disability-issue-related news required me to communicate regularly with different Chicagoland organizations. I was able to learn about the key organizations and prominent figures involved in the disability community. Every day, I was able to witness from start to finish how an entire day’s broadcast is put together. I know the level of dedication, professionalism and responsibility the employees of a major market television station have. Most of all, I’m confident and comfortable in the chaotic environment that we call a newsroom.

Karen Meyer reporter forWLS-TV/ABC 7, praised Lindsey’s internship with the following words: “Lindsey is one of the best interns I have had. She is very responsible, hardworking, and professional.”

Jennifer Corvino, News Director and Instructor, Northern Television Center, commented on Lindsey’s academic work: “Lindsey is an extremely dedicated student who is willing to go well above and beyond expectations. On numerous occasions Lindsey has set the bar for her colleagues, taking on hard news stories many students would shy away from. Lindsey’s work is consistently above average, and she brings fresh ideas and perspective to each of her assignments.

OCTOBER Student of the Month: 
Jenna Johnson, organizational and corporate communications major

Michael Strong

The October 2012 recipient, Jenna Johnson, organizational and corporate communications major,completed an internship with On the Waterfront in Rockford, Illinois. In describing her experience, Jenna said, “I was the coordinator for the Bright Stars ceremony that took place during the On the Waterfront festival. The OTW festival as a whole was an event planning learning experience, but this particular assignment allowed me to apply my skills and coordinate a smaller event entirely on my own. Updating the website was another learning situation where I obtained new skills. Becoming more proficient with computers has been a goal of mine that I was proud to accomplish by changing the performer lineup page as an entirety and the festival food vendor list. Going into the internship, my goal was to gain knowledge and experience in the event planning process. I learned that the event management field is not suitable for just any person; you have to be organized, diligent, and able to multitask and work under high stress. Working in a small office for a well-known event exposed me to every aspect of the planning process. I have acquired professional skills and responsibilities from this internship that I can apply to any future career. That alone is why this internship has been three months of a worthwhile, rewarding experience.”

Nina Jacobson Sales and Marketing Manager, On the Waterfront, Inc., speaks highly of Jenna, saying, “Jenna is an extraordinary intern who is enthusiastic about her work. No matter how large or small the task was, Jenna accepted and completed it with a smile. Jenna has proven to be extremely well organized, detail oriented and very thorough in all projects she tackles. She always conducted herself with professionalism and was consistently willing to go above and beyond.”

Catherine Doederlein, Coordinator of Internships, NIU College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, commented on Jenna’s academic work: “Jenna Johnson is an incredibly talented and highly motivated student. She has maintained a perfect 4.0 GPA in all of her Major courses, several of which were taken for Honors level credit. Jenna has an engaging personality and motivates her peers through her high energy level and desire to achieve and help others achieve.”