Cornerstone Students Gain Internship Experience at Gordon Food Service
by Jordan Grooters (B.A. ’17)
Cornerstone University students are consistently reminded of the importance of living a life of integrity through chapel, class and community life. This summer, two Cornerstone students are experiencing life at Gordon Food Service (GFS), a company that has integrity as one of its core values. Amber Keen (B.S. ’20) and Hannah Drake (B.S. ’19) are both serving as interns for Gordon Food Service, an independently held company that is the largest family-operated food service distributor in North America.
Hannah Drake is working as a tax intern at GFS' office headquarters in Wyoming, Mich. Throughout her internship, Drake has had responsibility for a variety of tasks within the tax department, including city income tax returns, organizing new inventory items into tax categories and working on research projects for the U.S. sales tax team.
"A big project that I was able to work on throughout my internship was a management services report for the company, which discusses the cost centers of the company and allocates expenses between Canada and the U.S.," shared Drake.
Drake has found her internship experience to be challenging yet rewarding.
"This internship has allowed me to narrow down what I want to do for my future career," she shared. "It has been great to be able to gain experience in tax and to talk with other accounting and finance departments at GFS to help me get a better understanding of what my options are after I graduate."
Cornerstone's traditional undergraduate business courses helped prepare Drake for this experience.
"I have been able to apply a lot of what I've learned in classes to my internship, specifically in Professor Fleenor's Business Statistics class, Dr. Detwiler's Business Communications class and all of Professor Loiselle's accounting classes," she shared.
Amber Keen is also interning at the Wyoming office of GFS as a category manager intern for desserts and salty snacks. She has been compiling a competitive market review research project on cookies in which she has collected feedback from different regions about how different cookie vendors work with GFS. She also worked to take inventory and reallocate resources in order to make room for new products in GFS' Springfield and Shepherdsville distribution centers.
Keen credits the Center for Career and Life Calling Office at CU for helping her in her job search. She was also pleasantly surprised at how applicable her course material has been in her position.
Keen shared, "I have learned a lot in the classes I have taken so far, but I didn't realize that I could actually apply them in the real world until I got here. Cornerstone helped me search for internships, encouraged me to put myself out there, helped me formulate my resume and taught me how to interview honestly and with confidence. Even though I haven't had as much schooling as all the other senior-age interns here at GFS, I can tell that Cornerstone has done a wonderful job of adequately equipping me for this experience."
Keen has also had the opportunity to have Cornerstone alumnus Matt Grochowalski as her mentor throughout the process.
Both Drake and Keen are thriving in the corporate culture at GFS. Drake shared, "Not only does GFS treat their employees and their interns well, but they also encourage people to move around within the company in order to learn more about GFS as a whole. I've had opportunities to seek out other employees outside of my department, and they have been more than willing to sit down with me and share insights from their experiences and their roles within GFS."
Keen's experience has been equally satisfying. "What I love most about my internship here is that my team and supervisor are so adamant about me asking questions. They genuinely want me to learn and to get the most out of this internship as possible," said Keen. "I love that my team treats me like a long-term employee not just an intern."
A student's internship experience can be extremely influential in choosing a career path. Cornerstone works to partner with companies that share our values and encourage our students to build a network of professionals who will encourage and mentor our students to enter their fields with integrity and competency.