Aspen Holmes, Intern for the MTU Office of Continuous Improvement

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.”

Aspen Holmes Illustration

Marlo Jayne, Tech Today Intern for MTU Marketing and Communications

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.