Cornerstone Students Gain Valuable Internship Experience
Several Cornerstone University students are utilizing their summer breaks to gain valuable, real-world experience by serving as interns at companies and organizations related to their fields of study.
One of these students is Collin Prather (B.S. ’19), an interdisciplinary studies major with a focus in intercultural entrepreneurship. Collin is currently serving as the Operation Christmas Child volunteer relations intern with Samaritan’s Purse. Samaritan’s Purse is a non-profit, Christian crisis relief organization which conducts work in a variety of countries and aims to provide spiritual and physical aid for hurting people. The organization can be recognized domestically by their large Operation Christmas Child campaign each holiday season, a mass shoebox collection that provides the opportunity to present the gospel to gift recipients.
“Nearly every step of this massive project requires the partnership of volunteers, so volunteer coordination is a year-round process,” Collin explained. “Each shoe box collected is processed at one of the eight processing centers across the nation; over nine million were collected domestically in 2016.”
“In short, my job this summer is to play a role in re-designing the volunteer experience, from top to bottom.”
Collin’s internship responsibilities include analyzing volunteer survey data for trends, critiquing Samaritan’s Purse’s web processes, evaluating the efficiency of current volunteer roles and creating tools to enhance the volunteer experience.
“It’s been such an honor to be a part of an organization that so uniquely combines such high-quality work with a core commitment to the gospel,” Collin said. “During my time with Samaritan’s Purse, my faith has been strengthened, I’ve developed professionally and ultimately feel that I have a better understanding of the skills necessary to thrive in the real world. I’m very thankful for my professors and advisers at Cornerstone that have invested in me, been my advocates and helped put me in this position.”
Another CU student, Larissa Espinosa (B.A. ’18), a digital media major, is working as an intern at Women’s LifeStyle Magazine.
Women’s LifeStyle is a multi-media platform designed to reach customers in an effective manner. It is a popular, locally owned print publication also supported by a dynamic, mobile-friendly online presence and interactive website, as well a friendly, helpful and consistent social media interaction. It has around 450+ distribution locations in Grand Rapids and is syndicated in Lansing, Kalamazoo and Muskegon (Northshore).
“I get to work with amazing people that teach me how the process of a magazine works,” Larissa said. “I’ve had the opportunity to learn how to do a layout for the magazine. I help to improve their social media platforms such as Instagram and Twitter. I’ve learned how to post on their website, and I have gained photography skills through photo-shoots for the magazine and social media.
“My graphic design classes at Cornerstone have prepared me to use several different Adobe design platforms. Thanks to that, it has been easier for me to work on layouts with InDesign and do some Photoshop for the magazine. The photography classes that I have taken have also helped me when it comes to pictures. I really enjoy my internship at Women’s Lifestyle magazine because they are helping me to prepare for my dream job—which is to work for a magazine.”
Benjamin Van Til
CU student Benjamin Van Til (B.S. ’18), a sports management and business management double major, is working as an event operations and marketing intern for the Meijer State Games of Michigan.
The Meijer State Games of Michigan is a multi-sport Olympic style event that welcomes athletes of all ages and abilities. Every year there are Summer Games and Winter Games in Grand Rapids. This year, Grand Rapids is hosting the State Games of America, a national multi-sport Olympic style event. This event will involve State Games medal winners from all over the country as well as Ontario Canada. The event is August 3-6. An estimated 25,000 people will visit Grand Rapids for the weekend; 12,000 of them being athletes. The event will make an estimated $10 million economic impact for the city of Grand Rapids from direct visitor spending.
As an event operations and marketing intern, Ben works to create different kinds of marketing promotions such as social media events, venue guides, preview videos and sponsorship packages. Ben works to coordinate event and venue logistics and distribute sports equipment.
“My favorite part about the internship is knowing that I’m helping organize a national event that gives thousands of people the chance to compete and have fun in the sports they love,” Ben said. “I’m not just an intern who goes out and gets coffee for the office, I’m actually making a difference in the company by seeing the event come together. I also have learned it takes a lot of hard work to make it in the sports business world and you really have to have a passion for it, but it is definitely all worth it in the end.”
Student Mackenzie Martin, a business administration major with a biblical studies minor, is spending her summer as a product development intern at Request Foods, Inc.
Request Foods, Inc. is a frozen food factory located in Holland, Mich. Request Foods, Inc. processes various frozen food products for brands that ship across North America. Request Foods is a Christian-based company owned by Jack De Witt who also serves as the president. Their mission is “to honor God in all we do, to help people develop, to pursue excellence, and to grow profitably.”
Mackenzie is responsible for updating the Request Foods nutritional information database. She works to gather nutritional data from suppliers, organize it, verify its accuracy and enter the information into the Request Foods, Inc. software to allow for calculation. Mackenzie also works to assist other Request Foods, Inc. employees with current projects and initiatives.
“My favorite part of this internship is the people I get to work with,” Mackenzie said. “The people at Request Foods are so genuine and kind. People that I work with make a point to try and get to know me, and even people in other departments ask how I’m doing in passing. It really feels like they are a family here.”
At Cornerstone, 100% of traditional undergraduate students complete an academic internship or practicum. More than a graduation requirement, these hands-on opportunities allow students to explore their vocation and gain practical experience necessary for career success.
For more information on Cornerstone’s student-focused vocational resources, visit the Center for Career & Life Calling’s web page.