Category Archives: Internships

Liam Andersen, Intern at Keweenaw Research Center

Keweenaw Research Center buildingI spent my spring and summer semesters in 2018 working at the Keweenaw Research Center (KRC). My main job was writing project reports—actually, it was writing one project report. There was a two-year research effort about tank ice cleats that was wrapping up when I started the KRC, and I was given the final report for it. The job was a classic cubicle farm, reports-and-spreadsheets deal. Most of the work they do involves military contracts based on ground vehicle testing. Absolutely everything about the job was foreign to me. I’d never done real technical writing before, and I was dumped right into it with very little actual instruction; I only got a folder of information and the gist of the project.  Because of that, though, it was one of the fastest learning experiences of my life.

Having a trial by fire like that as my first internship was amazing in terms of preparation for other jobs. Since I was thrown in with little direction, I had to make my own way, wading through the confusion about how the data was organized, interpreting all the raw scientific data, and gleaning what the engineers had neglected to mention in their briefings. All my work since then has been incredibly smooth in comparison—knowing how rocky a starting point can be gave me an appreciation for every bit of help I get.

The actual experience I gained from the job was hugely eye-opening, too. The way the KRC is run is very informal in some places, but mind-bogglingly procedural in others. The cognitive whiplash from switching between the two nearly snapped my neck. On top of that, there were a hundred little things every day that I had to learn, or at least become familiar with, like modeling software and weird physics concepts. I hadn’t really thought about whether I wanted to work as a technical writer in an engineering field, but I’m glad I tried it—I would never know whether I liked it if I hadn’t. I definitely learned more about my limits from this job.

Looking back on it, I think I would’ve liked my first internship to be a bit more relaxed, but sometimes getting burned is the best thing that can happen to you—you might just come out fireproof.


Nathan Shaiyen, Photography intern at University Marketing and Communications

Nathan and his supervisor, Sarah BirdIf I told you that I didn’t enjoy my time at my internship, I would be lying. My time working for the University Marketing and Communication here at Michigan Tech has been one that I could never have imagined. The skills and experiences I learned are so important in helping me be a better professional in my field.

Working with a supervisor that always pushes me to be better and also allows me to express myself is something I never thought I would get out of a job. Also, working with a team that I can always learn from is great because I gain so much knowledge from different people in so many different areas.

My favorite moments in my internship were the times a client was thoroughly impressed with the end result of a project. This made me feel like I was really giving my all and it was being recognized, and I’m sure it made my supervisor proud, too. It meant that all I was learning was being applied to my work.

I could talk about all that I did and how I did it but what I’d rather say is that the experience is something that I’ll cherish. I think that as a student being able go out into the word and work really allows you to learn so many things that you might learn in the classroom, but it lets you apply what you’ve learned in the classroom to whatever job you are doing. The classes we take do a great job of preparing us for a lot of what’s going to come.

In summary, this is a great opportunity. Give your absolute best and try to learn as much as you can.


Wynter Lindgren, Writing intern in University Marketing and Communications

Image of laptop screen reflecting Wynter's faceIf you want to know if you have a passion for something, you should gain experience in it. Thankfully, Michigan Tech’s University Marketing and Communications department, or UMC, was my opportunity. I spent the past two semesters working in the department as a student writer. I had come into it with no idea what I would gain, but left with some important lessons.

First: planning. Being a college student already requires balance, but put a job on top of that and you have someone in need of Google Calendar. After adding in time for interviews, writing, and meetings, my time soon became thin. Meeting deadlines and creating content I was proud of was crucial to me. If I didn’t make the time, then the words would be bland and unimaginative.

Then I moved into learning about communication. There are so many people within the UMC, from writers to editors to those that make the content accessible. Making sure people know your intentions and plan of attack clearly is important. While this was great to learn, I also found out that sometimes people just won’t answer you and there is nothing that you can do about it.

Lastly, I would say I gained much more respect for people in my field. Of course, not being a part of it before meant I never knew much, but I didn’t realize the amount of work put in. It opened my eyes for me to see that writing wasn’t something that anyone could do, but something people with passion could do. Those who helped make my writing better knew exactly where I was at and gave wonderful ideas to aid me. If it wasn’t for them, I’m not sure I would have continued to love writing. The UMC made me fall in love with being a writer all over again.


Noah Kozminski, Intern with Kijenzi

Noah Kozminski standing at a table working on 3D printing hardware with other team membersMy internship with Kijenzi—a group introducing 3-D printing for medical applications in rural Kenya—was less a formally established involvement, and more a reflection of ongoing efforts I started in summer 2017 and will continue in this summer. I had the opportunity to continue investing my time and energy in a project that I believe in, and to have some tangible return on that investment in the form of credits.

This internship led me to develop and fund a research project, develop a web presence and branding material, and be an integral part of an international interdisciplinary team. I’ve had extensive opportunities to develop my skills as a professional communicator with the variety of work I have been responsible for over the semester and beyond, giving me the hands-on experience necessary to learn a trade. Getting outside the classroom and working on client projects with real-world impacts is an invaluable experience, and I appreciated the chance to work with Kijenzi during the academic year, continuing my involvement in the organization while also advancing my degree at Michigan Tech.


Jon Jaehnig, Journalist Intern at the Daily Mining Gazette

I think that one of the biggest things about working for the Daily Mining Gazette is that it’s published in such a small town. Most of the time when I went to talk to someone for a story they recognized my last name immediately, even though some of them recognized it from the other Jaehnig working for the paper.

Internships are supposed to be about experience, resume fodder, and networking, and I got all of those writing with the Gazette. I did a lot of journalistic writing and photography experience that I didn’t have from the classroom, I have links to dozens of my articles from the Gazette on my LinkedIn, and I got to meet several local business owners and influential community members. I learned a lot, and like to think that I accomplished a lot, and however long I stay in the area and whether or not I try to get a job with the Gazette after I finish my degree, this was a very valuable experience.


Kendall Belopavlovich, Marketing Intern at the Keweenaw Co-op

Kendall Belopavlovich standing outside the Keweenaw Co-op with a cart full of groceries
Kendall Belopavlovich standing outside the Keweenaw Co-op

Michigan Tech’s Communication, Culture, and Media program has prepared me to be a #crazysmart thinker and worker. During my junior year of college I was accepted into Keweenaw Co-op’s Marketing Internship program with one other student. It has been almost a year since I’ve began my life-changing journey at The Co-op, and I am so grateful for the skills and experience I have gained while working there.

The Marketing Department is small, housing a manager and two interns, but does a huge amount of work for the store. From event planning and execution, customer service, in-store branding and promotion, social media marketing and interactivity, to graphic design, video editing, and newsletter production, this marketing internship has given me more key-word skills than could be put into a resume. Speaking of- during my internship class and with the help of my manager, I was able to create an elegantly designed resume from scratch via Adobe InDesign that showcases my most sterling qualities as well as my ability to design.

Beyond the academic and skill-centric aspects of my internship, I have had the pleasure of working with a diverse group of people of different racial, religious, ethnic, and national backgrounds. The intersection of such diversity in one store, combined with the intersection of products and companies with ethical, sustainable goals has changed my world view. Words such as fair-trade, ethical, locally-sourced, and organic have taken on new and heavy meanings. My professional, academic, and personal tool-kit has become richer from this experience.


Matthew Cavender, Summer Intern for the Grand Rapids Football Club

A group of people representing the Grand Rapids Football Club standing together for a photo on a football field.
Matthew Cavender with the Grand Rapids Football Club

This summer, I had the pleasure of going back to my hometown of Grand Rapids, MI to intern with my hometown soccer team the Grand Rapids Football Club. It all started with a Facebook post by the team. They threw out a post on their facebook page that they were looking for interns, I submitted my resume and before I knew it, I was hired by Matt Roberts, the President of the team.

The actual work of being an intern for GRFC was fairly laid-back, but I still found it to be very worthwhile and relevant to the sort of work I’m hoping to do post-graduation. During game days, I would assist fan relations in a number of ways including putting up on-field advertisements, assisting in a guest hospitality booth, ticket sales, and my personal favorite, halftime promotions. Trust me, throwing tee shirts into crowds is every bit as fun as it looks. Usually at half time, the bulk of our work is done and the interns got to watch the second half of the game before going home.

Throughout the summer, I also did several community outreach events. One in particular that I remember was during a 5k run downtown near the Van Andel Arena area. Before and after the event, I had the opportunity to talk with many runners and community members about the team, show them our schedule, and share some upcoming promotions that the soccer team announced, including a game at Fifth Third Ballpark against Detroit City FC. The interpersonal communication aspect of CCM has always been my favorite, so I thoroughly enjoyed this part of the job.

GRFC has had a men’s team for a few years now competing at the semi-pro level, but this year the club added a women’s team. While the men’s team didn’t see much success, the women’s team only lost one game all season and won the United Women’s Soccer league in their inaugural season! For my time spent with the club, I was able to hold the trophy many times throughout the night.

Being a CCM major, I’m always comforted by how open-ended the degree program was; you can do almost anything you can imagine with it. When I’m not studying, I’m the President of the Michigan Tech hockey student section, Mitch’s Misfits. Being the leader of the Misfits has been the honor of my life, so I figured why not get professionally involved in the sports world?


Kati Hook, Graphic Design Intern for the MTU Creative Suite 155

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.

graphic_intern


Ciara Poe, Events Intern at the Battle Creek Area Chamber of Commerce

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.


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