Ceci Calzada: Learning in the Real World

By Elizabeth Boock on April 21, 2020

Ceci Calzada (B.S. ’20) is one of the most motivated, capable and driven individuals I have ever met. I talked with Ceci about her professional college experiences so far. With a major in business administration and minors in creativity and management, Ceci is equipped for the evolving job market. Her passion for her field and what it's teaching her is obvious. She perfectly exemplifies the crossroads of creative thought and technical skill required to excel as a business woman, and as a current intern at Steelcase, she's well on her way.

Persistent Pursuit

All it took was one visit to Steelcase to convince Ceci that she had to work there. While on a tour with Cornerstone University's student organization, Enactus, during her freshman year of college, Ceci immediately saw the company's commitment to innovation and was drawn to it. Steelcase is an established company here in Grand Rapids that offers furniture and technology products. The company also offers highly competitive and desirable internship programs for college students in various fields.

Even though many of the students who apply to intern at Steelcase don't get hired, Ceci knew she had to pursue her dream of working there.

"I got three different interviews in the course of the last two years, and they didn't turn out. And I was like 'Oh no, Steelcase doesn't understand. I need to work there!'" Ceci said.

Ultimately, Ceci's persistence and faith in her abilities paid off. A Steelcase recruiter was invited to one of Ceci's classes to judge class presentations. The recruiter was already familiar with Ceci from previous internship applications. After connecting with Ceci in person during the class presentations, the recruiter was convinced she needed to find a position for her.

Applying What She's Learned

Through her Steelcase internship, Ceci has access to hands-on experience and exposure to the business market.

"I'm a student associate with the workplace innovation team at Steelcase. My team was chartered with bringing innovation to the company whether by solving a market need or internal problem. For instance, we identify problems in the workplace. If my team has identified a need or problem, we'll do research, we'll synthesize it, [and] we'll brainstorm how Steelcase can solve that need," said Ceci.

She has found her in-class learning to be increasingly applicable to what she does at Steelcase. When she comes across a challenge in a project, she often falls back to the thought of "What did I learn in class?" and uses that as a point to move forward. She has found her creativity minor to be especially helpful. Her team values innovation and being adaptable to the changes required by clients and the marketplace.

Prepared to Excel

Ceci is preparing to graduate this spring. She feels confident that the experiences she is getting now will prepare her for whatever she does next, whether at Steelcase or elsewhere.

She also has a piece of advice for incoming freshmen: "Look for opportunities early in college, whether they're leadership opportunities on campus or jobs. Gain experiences, start building your resume and polish it so that by the time you're an upperclassman you're able to look for those positions that are more competitive. Be persistent. If you really want to work at a place, keep applying."

Ceci is just one student who proudly represents the tenacity and desire for learning promoted at Cornerstone. At the end of the day, her goal is to honor Christ in the workplace and make Him known through her academics, internships and relationships.

I encourage you to keep moving forward in your own college story by exploring our available majors at Cornerstone!

Category: Student Perspectives