Category: Undergraduate

Nathan Shaiyen, Photography intern at University Marketing and Communications

Nathan Shaiyen with University Photographer Sarah ByrdIf 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.


Liam Andersen, Intern at Keweenaw Research Center

Keweenaw Research CenterI 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.


Matthew Cavender, Summer Intern for the Grand Rapids Football Club

Grand Rapids Football Club posing for a photo on the field at night.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?


Kendall Belopavlovich, Marketing Intern at the Keweenaw Co-op

Belapavlovich outside the Keweenaw Co-opMichigan 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.


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.


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

I would say that a moment from my internship 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.


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

East entrance of Wadsworth Hall.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.


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.


Aspen Holmes, Intern for the MTU Office of Continuous Improvement

Illustration of a potted plant by Aspen HolmesI 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.”


Lizbeth Ramirez, Intern for KOHLER Kitchen and Bath Americas

Lizbeth Ramirez with group of Kohler internsWhen 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!