Internships & Co-ops

2013 Internship/Co-op Student of the Month Winners

FEBRUARY Student of the Month: 
Timi (Oluwatimilehin)Adeboje, industrial engineering major

Michael Strong

The February 2013 recipient, Timi (Oluwatimilehin)Adeboje, industrial engineering major, completed an operations co-opwith Nestle USA, Pizza Division, in Northbrook, Illinois.  In describing his experience, Timisaid, “From the moment I interviewed for the position of operations co-op with the Nestle Pizza Division, I knew that I had come across a once-in-a-life chance to both maximize my education and get first-hand insight into a rewarding career.  Going into the internship, I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to continue to pursue industrial engineering.  I knew the technical background engineering provides would serve me well for career prospects, but I had a deep interest in business as well.  From this internship, I was able to see how well they mesh.  Problem solving ability is a must have skill for any engineer, and the internship exposed me to several opportunities to develop this skill.  From initiatives toward improving timing on equipment to reducing energy used in facilities to earning a 30-hour training certificate in safety, I gained an array of knowledge that I didn’t expect coming into the position.  Only two years into my major, I am getting experience some people don’t get even at the initial stage of their career.”

Thomas Jasinki, Group Engineering Manager, Nestle USA, speaks highly of Timi, saying, “Through Timi’s solid performance, he has done an excellent job of coming up to speed in his new role.  Timi’s ‘can-do’ attitude and desire to learn and succeed have a positive influence on the whole team that he works with.  It seems that the other team members regularly go above and beyond to make sure that they are not only delivering what they need to, but are actively sharing their skills and experience with Timi throughout processes and projects.”

Don Bramlett, Graduation Specialist, NIU Office of Retention Programs, commented on Timi’s academic work: “I met Timi when he began attending BMI (Black Male Initiative) weekly meetings.  He was engaged from the beginning, volunteering for community service and other events.  He has demonstrated responsibility, goal orientation, and a keen focus on maximizing his college experience.  He seems to always be in a learning mode of thinking.”

March Student of the Month: 
Jessica Cabe, journalism major

Tyler Swanlund

The March 2013 recipient, Jessica Cabe, journalism major, interned with Northern Public Radio, in DeKalb, Illinois, as a news reporter.In describing her experience, Jessica wrote, “Journalists of the 21st century are expected to master multiple communication platforms, including audio and video. Because of my academic experience with print and broadcast journalism, my internship with WNIJ coincided perfectly with my studies. During my internship, I wrote stories for web publication, but I also recorded interviews and voiceovers for radio. For my first recorded telephone interview, I had to learn how to record a phone conversation into Adobe Audition, place it onto the server and edit from a different workstation. Aside from learning the audio equipment and software, I learned general information about hard news reporting. Before my internship, I focused on arts and entertainment reporting, but had yet to really explore hard news. Since my internship with WNIJ, I have written stories about state funding and school safety, and I helped with election coverage. I will continue to work outside my comfort zone and come out a better journalist because of it. Being published before graduation is extremely important. The fact that I have article and photo credits on gives me a huge competitive edge.”

Victor Yehling, Managing Editor, WNIJ—Northern Public Radio, praisedJessica’s internship with the following words: “Jessica is on target all the time, and her work is focused and high quality.  I have turned her loose on several stories, and she has delivered excellent results.  I know she will be here on schedule, I know she will understand assignments, and I know she will do the job well.  Jessica is simply the best intern I have had since I have been here.”

 MehdiSemati, Professor, Northern Illinois University, Department of Communication, commented on Jessica’s academic work: “Jessica took a demanding course I teach on News, Entertainment and Journalism.  She received an A for her superior performance (of 27 students she was the only one to receive an A).  I have taught for the past 15 years, and Jessica is among the top 1% of all students I have taught at the undergraduate level.  During class projects, she demonstrated that she could work well with others, demonstrated leadership skills, and proved to be highly reliable.”

June Student of the Month: 
Dan Pritchett, journalism major

Dan Pritchett

The June 2013 recipient, Dan Pritchett, journalism major, completed a publicity internship with Victory Records in Chicago, Illinois, and a news internship with WNIJ in DeKalb, Illinois. In describing his experience, Dan said, “My internship in the publicity department at Victory Records gave me a professional setting to utilize my writing skills I continue to practice as an English minor. Two classes, JOUR 200 and ENG 363, gave me the extensive practice I needed to have confidence as an intern to succeed in the publicity department. The first major assignment I encountered was writing a press release for an Irish-punk band announcing a new album. This was the first time I realized my writing was going to be distributed on a scale I never experienced before. The aspect of pitching music to publications was another highly beneficial experience. When Victory Records' artists have new tours, music videos, albums, and singles, it is the duty of the intern to personally contact publications varying from small bloggers to Rolling Stone Magazine. This required me to intelligently communicate with professionals in the field I plan to someday have a career in. I now know how cut-throat this industry is and it woke me up to the atmosphere I need to prepare myself for.” Rachel Rosenberg, Victory Records, speaks highly of Dan, saying, “Dan was a pleasure to have at Victory Records – always on time, took on new tasks with confidence, and was well liked by the staff. During his time here, Dan updated our contact databases, made calls to press to pitch our artists/events, and assisted with video shoot set-up and compiling sendouts for press. There was never a time Dan sat idly with nothing to do, and he thrived in this environment. I have no doubt that Dan will be able to rise to any occasion and be a positive, professional addition to any team in the future.” Craig Seymour, Associate Professor, NIU Department of Communication, commented on Dan’s academic work: “Dan has always impressed me as someone with great understanding of how to apply academic knowledge to real-world settings.”

July Student of the Month: 
Joe Vanden Bos, accountancy major

Joe Vanden Bos

The July 2013 recipient, Joe Vanden Bos, accountancy major, interned with Schneider Electric, in Palatine, Illinois, as a financial analyst intern. In describing his experience, Joe wrote, “Accountancy emphasizes the ability to think critically and solve problems. At Schneider Electric, I worked in a cost accounting role where I consistently applied terminology that I learned in school to my job. I was also required to independently seek solutions to business problems. This is a skill that will serve me greatly in my studies. I grew in my technical skills and my professional skills. Coming into this internship, I believed that I was exceptionally proficient with Microsoft Excel. A few days into the job, I realized that this was not the case. I struggled to work at the pace that my manager expected of me. I scheduled training sessions with an IT professional and my skills began to grow. My manager also took my mouse away which forced me to utilize keyboard shortcuts, enabling me to complete tasks at a much more proficient pace. I knew that I wanted to have a career that had a positive effect on the lives of other people. Schneider Electric is a company that specializes in environmental-friendly energy efficiency. They not only produce a product that makes a difference, but also treat their customers and employees in a way that I hope I can achieve one day. My internship affirmed that I was on a career path that I love and will give me the motivation I need to continue to succeed.” Payal Patel of Schneider Electric praised Joe’s internship with the following words: “Joe was dedicated to his work and to the overall success of the team. Joe’s internship was part of a team that is extremely fast paced with high visibility to the controlling team, and Joe worked well with all levels of the organization. Throughout the three months with Schneider, he made a very positive impression on the management team with which he interacted.” Linda Matuszewski, Associate Professor, Northern Illinois University, Department of Accountancy, commented on Joe’s academic work: “Based on his consistent, outstanding performance in the classroom, I would rank him in the top five percent of all accountancy students. In fact, during his time at NIU, Joe has maintained an impressive 4.0 grade point average while also participating in many extra-curricular activities and working to finance 100% of his education. He is a student who is bright and motivated to work hard to achieve success.”

August Student of the Month: 
Joe Von Arx, mechanical engineering major

Joe Von Arx

The July 2013 recipient, Joe Von Arx,, mechanical engineering major, completed a systems engineering co-op with UTC Aerospace Systems in Rockford, Illinois. In describing his experience, Joe said, “While working as a co-op, I gained additional knowledge and experience in areas of engineering that I have already studied. For instance, I took an electric power systems class last fall, and during my co-op, I ran tests on actual electric power systems in state-of-the-art test facilities, using the very equations I had just studied. I was also introduced to areas that I have not yet studied. At UTC I worked with engineers who were controls experts, and I found the sub-discipline to be fascinating. The most valuable skill I developed while working as a co-op is how to generate, process, interpret, and present data from lab tests. Working in industry has showed me that I do not want to work as a manger. I do know, however, that one day I want to be a subject matter expert in an engineering discipline as were many of my fellow employees at UTC Aerospace. I hope to advance on the technical side of the business and eventually become a subject matter expert in controls engineering. When I graduate from NIU with my bachelor’s degree, I will have over 19 months of full-time experience working as a co-op at a world-class aerospace engineering company.” Michael Quigley of UTC Aerospace Systems spoke highly of Joe, saying “Joe has grown his technical understanding of our products, testing, and tools such that he could very quickly be left to complete his tasks with little supervision. He also extended his skills into the use of some very advanced modeling applications. Where Joe really contributed to our program was working to develop a process to track our Engineering Change Request system, extract meta data, and chart for presentation to management and to customers. This was a very important and very visible task. Joe is a great team player.” Nicholas Pohlman, Associate Professor, NIU Department of Mechanical Engineering, commented on Joe’s academic work. “Joe is an excellent student who clearly works to fully understand the concepts and applications of engineering. Joe Von Arx has the technical ability, academic standing, and long-term vision to be a successful representative of the best students of NIU’s College of Engineering and Engineering Technology.”

September Student of the Month: 
Greg Danielwicz, finance major

greg danielwicz

The September 2013 recipient, Greg Danielwicz, finance major, completed an operations and credit internship with SomerCor 504, Inc., in Chicago, Illinois. In describing his experience, Greg said, “My experience at SomerCor 504, Inc. opened my eyes as I learned how financial institutions are operated. My classroom learning directly translated into my duties and responsibilities as an Operations and Credit intern where I was responsible for working with the Small Business Administration (SBA). I was able to utilize performance ratios such as capitalization, liquidity, leverage, turnover and profitability ratios, and then benchmark the borrower’s performance to industry peers. One project I will never forget is when I worked with a borrower to obtain SBA financing for a new dentist office. I worked with the SBA to have the loan request authorized and answered the SBA’s questions prior to loan submission. This resulted in a screen‐out free loan that did not delay the loan application process. As a result of my effort, the borrower met his strict closing deadline and saved $807/month by utilizing SBA financing. Further, he hired an extra employee because of the cost savings, which was fulfilling for all parties of the transaction. Working at SomerCor 504, Inc. taught me how to manage a hectic workload between two different departments. I learned how organizational departments interact with each other and how every department is interlinked and dependent on one another. From my hands‐on experience, I have learned that small businesses are the backbone of America and are responsible for employment, growth, and economic stability. I hope to one day become a small business consultant and further revitalize small businesses across America.”

Ben DeVries, Vice President of Operations for SomerCor 504, Inc., speaks highly of Greg, saying, “Greg has been an exceptional asset to this company. Greg makes a concerted effort on a daily basis to learn new tasks, initiate and undertake projects that positively impact the company. The position that Greg currently occupies has been filled by a number of well-educated individuals over the last 3 years. Greg easily outshines those previous individuals with his work ethic, desire to learn, his ability to work in a collaborative atmosphere, and the honesty and integrity that he brings to the position. Greg has gone out of his way to make sure that our company is in compliance with SBA guidelines.”

Sukesh Patro, Assistant Professor, NIU College of Business, Department of Finance, commented on Greg’s academic work: “I am Greg Danielewicz’s teacher in Financial Process and Policy, a challenging, case-based course. The full extent of learning in this course is determined to a large extent by the student - the payoff is heavily dependent on student engagement. It gives me no small pleasure to say that Greg has made the best possible use of this course to not only showcase his strengths but to also identify his weaknesses and work on them. I believe that Greg’s strengths are his eagerness to learn, his commitment to excellence in everything he does, and his ability to handle a hectic workload. He has achieved superior results in both teamwork and individual assignments through these qualities.”

October Student of the Month: 
Tyler Hayes, chemistry major

tyler hayes

The October 2013 recipient, Tyler Hayes, chemistry major, interned with FONA International, Inc., in Geneva, Illinois, as an analytical intern. In describing his experience, Tyler wrote, “I worked as the first intern in FONA’s analytical lab performing routine flavor extractions for its Beverage, Grains, Confection, and Market Development business units. Since I want to become an analytical chemist, I was given the opportunity to perform in approximately 100+ hours of various solvent extraction techniques which really helped refine my lab skills. I can now work more efficiently in the lab over a given period of time without affecting the accuracy of my work. Additionally, I gained invaluable instruction and hands-on experience using their various gas chromatography mass spectrometers (GCMS)—which are vital instrumentation used for identification and quantification of chemical compounds in liquid samples. During the second month of my internship, while my manager was absent on medical leave, I was asked to change the column on one of the gas chromatography instruments. Normally, I would just observe and hand the necessary tools and supplies to my manager as she performed this delicate task. However, on the day she was absent, it was imperative that the column be changed out in order to try and fix the problems we were having with it. After a half hour, I was successful in changing it out properly. Being able to change out the column on the GCMS is something I would’ve never had the chance to perform at NIU unless I was a graduate student because the columns are very brittle and expensive. Now on a job application, I can say I have performed this important maintenance task. Interning at FONA has impacted my career goals more than I could’ve ever imagined beforehand because it has inspired me to pursue a PhD in Chemistry. After I complete my doctoral degree in Chemistry, I’d be honored to be able to go back and help contribute to FONA’s future success for all that the company has done for me.”

Robert Sobel, Vice President, Research, Quality & Innovation, FONA International, Inc., praised Tyler’s internship with the following words: “Tyler excelled within his role as an intern at FONA International. He exhibits a wonderful character ethic accompanied by a willing, able, and growing attitude. Tyler is a lifelong learner who has the ability to complete complex research projects on time and with a true sense of purpose and pride. Tyler has the ability to conduct complex scientific research, interpret data, and effectively work within a research group. Outside of these critical areas, Tyler is able to fully articulate scientific findings in variety of forums and mediums.”

David Ballantine, Associate Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies, NIU College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, commented on Tyler’s academic work: “Not only is Tyler a very solid student academically, he is also one of the most highly motivated and has a strong intellectual curiosity. I believe Tyler demonstrates the "ideal" for an internship program - many students gain valuable experience from their internship opportunity, but the best students will stretch their intellectual wings and use it as a springboard to launch them on their career path. Tyler has certainly made the most of his opportunities.”