Cornerstone Students Gain Valuable Summer Internship Experience
by Danielle Barton (B.A. '19)
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 Margaret Cragel (B.S. '17), a business economics and business finance major. Currently, Margaret serves as a financial research assistant in the pharmaceutical department at the corporate offices of Meijer. Meijer, a regional grocery store chain, is a family-owned, private corporation that started in 1934. Now, Meijer operates in six different states and sells anything from generic groceries to fashionable clothes to entraining toys and sporting goods.
"I was placed to work with the Pharmacy department, which was selected for me by Meijer's College Relation's Team," Margaret explained. "I am very passionate about my current responsibilities because it'll allow our customers to lead healthier lives. Eventually the goal of my project is to advertise the potential savings that patients can access, which I will present to head leadership at Meijer in early August."
Margret further discussed how her classes at Cornerstone University have helped her live out the Christian call to give to those who are in need.
"About a month ago, God led me into taking a summer Cornerstone class, 'Poverty and Cure,' and I started learning about how to help the poor from an economic perspective. Now, I was strategically assigned a project from Meijer to find ways to help those who need financial assistance to access their needed medications."
Already, during her internship, she has discovered significant potential savings for Meijer customers who are in need of financial help.
"Meijer continues to handle business based on the simple philosophy: '…take care of your customers, team members, and community…and all of those will take care of you, just like a family.' This principle is driven through Meijer's company, and is a statement I can stand behind confidently."
Another CU student taking an internship this summer is Alec Thies (B.S. '18), a business finance and accounting major working for American Village Builders (AVB). For over 30 years, AVB has been a regional construction and development firm that leads in residential construction, commercial construction, major remodeling projects and real estate development projects. AVB's portfolio of development projects includes Woodbridge Hills, Oakland Hills, Hidden Lake and several other communities that have placed over a billion dollars' worth of projects in Southwest Michigan. Along with that, AVB's commercial construction portfolio includes buildings like the Brain and Spine Institute and the Stryker Center at Borgess Medical Center, Portage Northern High School and the American Institute of Architects' award-winning Newell Rubbermaid International Design Center, among multiple other construction projects.
Alec serves as an estimating intern at AVB. His main roles include preparing estimates, processing change orders and issuing purchase orders. These jobs consist of updating prices for projects, processing and recording changes on custom jobs and moving money around in specific budgets to get correct dollar amounts where they need to be. Occasionally, Alec also has the privilege of working in AVB's accounting office.
"My CU classes, especially my accounting classes, have given me great basic principles for working with money. I have run into situations where something I learned in class helps me accomplish something at work."
Alec's role at AVB involves working with and analyzing a multitude of numbers. He states that his accounting background has prepared him well for his current internship and also for future accounting and auditing positions.
Working as an intern at the McCahill Fitness Center on the campus of Farmers Insurance, Kara Martin (B.S. '19), has the opportunity to grow her knowledge and experience as she is receiving a major in exercise science and ministry. The McCahill Fitness Center is a part of the McCahill Group that provides customized fitness services to individuals and employers. Farmers Insurance is just one of the multiple businesses that has partnered with the McCahill Group to create a health culture in the workplace. Kara plays a part in the McCahill Fitness Center as their fitness specialist.
"I not only get the hands on of teaching classes and training clients, but I also get to witness first-hand the business details required to run a functional fitness center," Kara pointed out.
At the fitness center, Kara serves a unique group of members. Most of the clients she works with have a typical 9-to-5 desk job. Ultimately, this causes problems such as weight gain and poor posture. To help fix this problem, Kara's roles at the McCahill Fitness Center includes leading group exercise classes, helping out with personal training activities and achieving marketing goals for the fitness center.
"In my position, I am becoming equipped for my post-graduation life. I have learned so much in this facility, and I am beginning to recognize the potential I have in this career."
The Battle Creek Bombers are a collegiate summer baseball team that competes in the Northwoods League, which includes teams from all around the Northern region of the United States. Qualifications to participate on these teams consist of having NCAA eligibility. Teams are comprised of the top college baseball players in the area.
Corey has the honor of marketing for the Battle Creek Bombers through various sources of media, such as doing postgame interviews and recording each home game played at C.O. Brown Stadium in Battle Creek, Mich., for the Northwoods League's website.
"Professor Hammond's business communications class has come quite in handy with the social media work," Corey explained.
Business communications at Cornerstone teaches students a variety of different professional social media communication skills, how to professional write emails and business letters, how to communicate professionally face to face and a vast amount of other helpful business communication skills.
His favorite part of his internship is the people that he gets to interact with. "I am free to be myself as well as have the opportunity to share my faith with others in ways that aren't awkward," he stated. "CU has helped me combine my work with my faith so that I can take it into the real world."
At Cornerstone University, 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 webpage.
Cornerstone University is a Christ-centered university with a passion for global influence through the transforming power of the gospel. As an interdenominational institution located in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Cornerstone offers traditional undergraduate programs as well as adult undergraduate and graduate programs through the Professional & Graduate Studies division, Grand Rapids Theological Seminary and Asia Biblical Theological Seminary.