One of my most exciting moments so far during my internship has been seeing my work outside my workplace, such as being handed out on flyers or most recently, the hanging banners outside of Wads for Summer Youth Programs this summer. It was a really fun and difficult process. I had to create many drafts to present to my boss’s boss, discuss with him what he wanted to see on the pillars, and come up with new design concepts that made everyone happy. I had to create 3 different banners that all had to have similar themes, and do this within a tight deadline. However, it was all worth it when he came in smiling the day they were hung up saying how much he loved the final product. It’s the little moments like that that make me realize this is what I want to do with my career.
So, I would have to say that a moment that sticks out particularly to me is when we had our Business Excellence Awards night. It was a night to showcase and award smaller businesses around the community for the outstanding marks that they made on the community. Anyways, I was wearing pants from two years ago that I thought fit me just fine, but they were just a tad tight. At the end of the awards ceremony the Chamber president called all of the Interns for the summer up on stage. When it came my turn to go up on stage, my foot caught the last step and I came tumbling down. As I fell, I heard this huge rip and my worst fear ever came true. I had just totally and completely ripped my pants in front of over a hundred people, and my face went beet red. Needless to say I tried to pull it off like nothing happened but I could hear a few giggles going around. Just goes to show you that you should never wear tight pants!!!
But that event caused me to have a memory that’ll last me a lifetime, and my coworkers could not stop telling me all their embarrassing stories. Since the beginning, I’ve been involved in many events with the Chamber and community. From setting up caterers, to calling members to participate in events, I have learned so many amazing skills. I still have two more months of my internship and I have many more events lined up for the Chamber. I cannot wait to learn more skills and experience more of the “adult” world. The number one thing that I will take away from this internship is that you always need to have a little fun with your coworkers. You need to laugh and get to know your coworkers and build connections. The more you connect with your coworkers, the better everything is.
I remember being completely overwhelmed as the semester and my internship started. Getting into Lean is something that forces you to change how you think about the world around you and this can be a very painful, tedious, and rigorous process. Most people don’t know what to do with all of the information they have just received or how to respect and apply it to their everyday lives. I remember one day I was so fed up with feeling so stuck in what I was doing and didn’t feel that Lean really had as much applicability as I thought. Tears were welling up as I sat at my desk, endlessly highlighting my “Lean for Dummies” book and trying to connect to what I was learning. My supervisor, Ruth Archer, and I were the only ones in the office at the time. She turned to me, calmly asked me what was going on, and waited intently until I could find what I wanted to say. “Is it normal to feel like you can’t do this?” I chewed on my lip as I waited for her answer. Then, she just smiled at me. She chuckled lightly and said that it was completely normal to feel overwhelmed by Lean and that getting there, to the point where I had mastered it, was a silly goal for my training period, because she hasn’t mastered continuous improvement yet, either. This is when I learned that Lean is a journey and that you can’t expect to grasp it until you’ve walked with it for a while. “You can’t do everything at once,” she guided me. I’m still learning that one, but I still appreciate the insightful talks that Ruth and I have to this day.
While I haven’t learned that I can’t do everything quite yet, I do understand that I can use Lean tools and philosophies to streamline my everyday life to make more possible. Now, being a college student I don’t really have the time to do so right now, but give it a week or two! I have learned a lot about myself during this internship and about what I stand for as an employee, as a student, and as an adult. There is still a lot ahead of me, but I am definitely proud of how far I have come.
“You haven’t gotten there yet, huh.. But look at how much you’ve grown.”
What’s the most important thing you can do if you are unsure of what career you want to pursue? Gain experience. I’ve had countless people ask me, “What are you going to do with an English degree?” I always responded with something along the lines of “I’ll figure it out.”
That’s exactly what I did when I started my internship with University Marketing and Communications. I became a student editor for Tech Today in November of 2015 and my English-major worries were put to rest. I finally found something that I could see myself doing after graduation. Editing had always been a career that I had been curious about, so I didn’t hesitate to apply for the job when the position opened up.
I’ve learned so many things during my internship at Tech Today. When I first started out, I was nervous that not knowing AP style would put me at a disadvantage. Sure, I had to learn a new style of writing, but it was so easy to pick up. I’ve learned how to write like a journalist. I’ve realized that editing a periodical isn’t just looking for spelling errors. I’ve learned that the readers of Tech Today are the number one priority. I’ve practiced how to speak up in a work environment and make my opinion be heard. I’ve even had the opportunity to train a new student editor.
The staff in the UMC made my internship so enjoyable. My supervisor was always very patient and understanding, which made my learning process go much smoother. Everyone else is so cheerful and friendly. I never felt like I was just “the intern,” but like a member of the team. It’s an accomplishment to be able to say that I worked for such a talented department. I look forward to seeing how the skills I have developed at my internship will carry on into my career.
I was nervous going into Kohler. Carrying a box of doughnuts toward the turnstile gates, I couldn’t help but wonder what I had gotten myself into. I had to swipe my badge twice–once at the gate and once inside the building–just to get to my desk. I sat down at my computer with someone who took a pastry and gave me my credentials for the email and various databases that Kohler uses. People stopped by to welcome me and grab doughnuts as I was given a crash-course in the software I’d be using for the rest of my co-op. Soon after, I was taken to each one of my coworkers all of whom greeted me with a handshake and a “Thanks for the doughnut!” Just like that, I was in.
Since then, I’ve gotten the chance to be a part of various teams working to create manuals, guides, and video instructions for products being sold all over the globe. I didn’t realize it right away, but the documents I’ve been working on will go out into the world and real people will follow instructions I had a hand in writing. My co-op’s almost done and I still haven’t gotten over how cool that is. In just four months I feel that I’ve gained more than I could have hoped for, and for that I am grateful to everyone I’ve had the pleasure of working with. I am more than impressed with the wealth of experience and the sense of comradery imparted by my coworkers and mentors; I know I will forever remember my time at Kohler as my first glimpse into the professional world of technical writing. Here in the office, you are not treated as a student, but as a fellow employee. Quality work is expected from you as you are relentlessly pushed toward self-improvement. If there is one thing I will take away from this experience, it’s that perfection is an ongoing process.
When I first came into this co-op, I had no idea what to expect. I’ve now been at Kohler for ½ a year and I can honestly say I have never had a dull moment here, and I love working as a technical writer. I could go on and on about how every day I feel lucky to work with such kind, witty, silly, and smart people, or how every engineer I’ve collaborated with has inevitable become a mentor and a friend, or how exciting it is to be trusted to manage so many projects for so many products across Kohler’s different platforms. I could honestly go on for days about how much I appreciate and enjoy this opportunity; instead, I’ll share one of my favorite memories here at Kohler.
My favorite memory was on NPD day. NPD (New Product Development) day is a day where the company takes a whole day off of work to have a picnic, present awards, and organize different team building games. We began the day by watching videos and recognizing teams for their hard work in product innovation, top sales and various other categories. Morgan and I kept on raving about how amazing it was that Kohler took the time to make goofy videos, present tons of awards, and make food and activities for their employees to enjoy. During one of the silly videos starring some of the Kohler’s head executives, I remember Morgan leaning over to me and asking, “What other company does this?” While the whole day was great, my favorite memory was definitely the first game we played.
The game consisted of a few team members, a basketball, and a small bangle like ring with long strings of rope attached. The goal of the game was to balance the basketball on the ring by holding the ends of the ropes. To win, we needed to get the ball, ring, ropes, and team through 3 wooden doorframes around the park faster than the team we were competing against. Each door was further away than the last, and more importantly, smaller than the last. There were only two rules – if the ball touched the floor or if any of the players held anything besides the ends of the rope, the team had to return to the starting line.
We started with a really intricate plan to weave our ropes together to make a basket. In theory it was a great idea, however in practice, not so much. We ended up spending the first 30 seconds or so making a huge web of ropes that was 50% a huge mess and 50% quite possibly the poorest basket ever made. Caught in the moment, we were all throwing rope around a ball without any sort of effective “securing”. Maria shouted out from the sidelines to try something else because the other team was already moving. Instead, we went for it and made it about 2 feet before our contraption fell apart. We ran back and started untangling the huge mess we had made for ourselves as the other team very slowly inched their way to the first door. At this point everyone was shouting different ideas and flustering the person who had -at that time- taken control. Two of my team members and I stood back and couldn’t help but laugh at the irony of how poorly our Tech Comm team was communicating with each other.
At some point I shouted out, “Why don’t we put the ring on the floor, put the ball on top, lift all of the ropes up like we’re making a ponytail and then make one big knot, then we each grab an end and run through?” Immediately everyone started untying our previous basket weaving idea and followed my suggestion. We looked over and the other team was far ahead but still moving quite slowly, so we knew we still had a chance. We all grabbed our rope and literally went racing through the doors screaming with excitement. The other team members who sat that game out, were running alongside us, cheering us on as we went through each door. When we finally reached the last door and all carefully maneuvered our ways through, we all let go of our rope and started screaming and hugging. The rest of our team came running over to celebrate with us as we chanted and gave high-fives. I remember feeling closer to my coworkers, happier with the hard work I’d been putting in, and laughing so much, I was sore the next day.
The whole day reminded me that there are still companies that believe in the “work hard, play hard” mentality. It also taught me that someday, I aspire to work at a company that values and rewards hard work. I honestly love what I’m doing here and know I will miss it so much! I think this co-op has not only given me much needed real-world experience, but it’s also opened my eyes to some of the traits I want (no- require) my full time career to offer me. While there are so many things that I respect and admire about Kohler, I have to admit, their easy going nature and spice of fun that’s sprinkled into everything they do, is what really draws me to them. Kohler also has a way of making you feel like you belong- whether that be to a team or a department, or a platform in general. I know that my experience in particular has been supportive, silly, welcoming, and just overall incredibly worthwhile. I feel really lucky to have experienced this all while still a student since I know have a glimpse of what’s to come after school!
“Communication is key.” This is a commonly used quote to represent the importance of communication. Effective communication is important for personal relationships, constructive working environments, problem solving, and conflict resolution. This holds especially true in a professional work environment.
There are so many ways to communicate a message whether it is through written word or through the use of technology and motion picture. Communication can be made through the way that we talk to one another, but even more forcefully, by the way that we portray ourselves. While working at KOHLER, I have learned that expressing confidence in one’s work speaks powerfully towards the knowledge that one is perceived to hold. Having confidence helps persuade others to understand that you are the subject matter professional. Being able to ask the right questions has been a crucial aspect of my journey at KOHLER. It has been an important lesson for me to learn as there are many times that being assertive is important in order to provide the end customer with what they need.
Technical communications has taught me more than what many believe involves only writing technical manuals. I have learned that there are many opportunities presenting themselves for my growth especially in the field of communication. As with many things, I have come to understand that the work that I put in is what I will get out. As long as I make the most out of any experience or opportunity that presents itself to me, that is how much I will receive in return.
When I first was hired to work in University Marketing and Communications (UMC), I was nervous and worried. I was hired to edit and publish the University’s Tech Today Newsletter. I didn’t know how to read editing marks, I didn’t understand AP style, and I felt that I was given a huge responsibility. That was two and half years ago. I currently still work in UMC as an editing intern, and I’ve grown since my first day.
UMC has a fantastic environment. Everyone works to maintain and promote Michigan Tech’s image and name. When you pick up a catalog about Summer Youth Programs, someone in UMC was responsible for the colorful images and engaging Michigan Tech-style text. When you click on Michigan Tech News about a professor doing research about wolves or nanoparticles, that news piece was written by either a student or a dedicated news writer. The department works together for a common goal. My favorite part, however, is working in a department full of wonderfully well-versed and sassy communicators. They know how to talk; they know how to create eye-catching designs; and they know how write.
This past semester I feel that I have expanded in my role as an editing intern. I have helped revise the submission process for Tech Today. I’ve had the opportunity to communicate directly with faculty and staff, and I’ve learned how to communicate effectively with them. And I trained a new student editor for the newsletter. After my two and a half years in UMC, I have grown and become a “content expert” on how to use the publishing program as well as the expert on the style guidelines for the newsletter. My time in UMC has culminated in my last year being spent as an intern. I am thankful for the lessons that I have learned this past semester, as well as the changes that I have experienced within myself and the department.
Working as an intern in technical communications for KOHLER Kitchen & Bath has been a great learning experience for me even though I have only been here for a little over a month. I have met so many people as well as have been able to help many people. It is very rewarding to know that the work I do has the potential to help a wide range of people near and far.
My first day at Kohler mainly consisted of meeting everyone in the office but I was quickly given a numerous amount of shower door projects that required attention to detail as well as frequent communication with an engineer. At first, this was overwhelming for me but I quickly learned that the engineer I was working with would be an extremely resourceful and patient person to work with. Around the same time, I was also given the opportunity to assemble one of the shower doors that I was writing an installation guide for which gave me insight into how a customer would see the document but also how usable the document was. After putting myself in the shoes of a customer, this was a great way for me to understand how important my role as a technical communicator can be.
There are still so many things for me to learn and I have already had the chance to experience different Kohler products that can play music, be heated, and even adjust according to gender! I would be lying if I said that I did not check to see what kinds of toilets and faucets are in a bathroom whenever I go into one. Kohler has already made a significant impact in my life. My work experiences have already affected the way that I view the world and I am looking forward to what else Kohler has to offer me but also what I have to offer Kohler.
This summer I have been given the opportunity to work for BB Marketing Group based out of Libertyville, IL. BB Marketing was started in 2008 and specializes in working with in the technology channel. I was given the chance to work for them last summer and am grateful to have to opportunity to do so again. My aunt who is the president of the company gave me the offer a few years ago and I finally took her up on the offer last summer and was their first intern. It has been quite the learning curve both for me and for them. I work remotely as a consultant, which adds a different view and dynamic than going into an office every day.
I work on a variety of projects with varying levels of creativity. Ranging from research and creating excel spreadsheets to designing layouts in Word. I am becoming well versed in Microsoft Office applications, and learning many things beyond the basics of the programs. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time working for BB Marketing and have been learning many valuable things. During this time I have truly learned the importance of time management and communication. It is very interesting and eye opening to only be in contact with ones coworkers through email or phone, but it brings a different perspective on working in the world outside of college. It has greatly helped my confidence in working independently. Working for a family member has also been a wonderful experience, as my supervisor my aunt and I now have gained a wonderful professional relationship outside the familial one we already have. I am excited about what the rest of my time with BB Marketing will bring.