At Cornerstone, every student participates in an internship as part of their experience here. For ministry major Julianna Kusneske, her internship was a chance to put her practical knowledge to use and grow spiritually.

Julianna is currently a senior at Cornerstone, and in addition to pursuing a major in ministry, she is also working toward a nonprofit minor. As a freshman, Julianna entered college unsure of what she wanted to study. Encouraged by Dr. Jim Dekker, the chair of the Bible, Religion & Ministry Division as well as a professor, Julianna started looking into youth ministry programs. With additional help from Anne Gaertner, senior director of employer relations and internships, Julianna found West Michigan Youth For Christ.

In her hands-on learning, Julianna experienced what it was like working with students.

“I had responsibilities, but I didn’t think of them that way. I got to build relationships,” said Julianna, who spent much of her time getting to know students from Byron Center High School.

Oftentimes, she would be in charge of getting students motivated for an activity. She found that not everything was exactly like she expected, but she was able to learn what would work best in different situations. With foundational knowledge from her classroom education at Cornerstone, Julianna had many ideas and methods for different scenarios. However, when putting them into practice, she was able to see what worked best for individual students by seeing their responses firsthand.

During her internship, Julianna also created events, took part in the club the ministry held to teach students about Jesus and spoke on her personal testimony.

Julianna learned a multitude of things during her internship, including the importance of taking the time to understand each individual and learning students’ stories.

“A person can’t be understood by a look,” Julianna said. “It has to be by interacting with them.”

It is this mindset that reflects Christ to Julianna.

After graduation, Juliana hopes to work with young people from under-resourced areas. Her internship gave her experience connecting with that age group and showed her how building relationships can really make an impact.

If you are looking for a college that will help you build a firm foundation of knowledge and provide you with the hands-on experiences to develop your vocational skills, Cornerstone might be your best fit! Cornerstone has loads of resources to connect you with internships and help you along the way, so consider applying today.