Cornerstone Students Make a Global Impact Through Summer Internships
by Danielle Barton (B.A. ’19)
Whether halfway around the world or right here in West Michigan, Cornerstone University students utilize valuable internships to help prepare them for their future careers. From majoring in pre-med to business marketing to mathematics, three Cornerstone students are using their God-given talents to gain global and local experience through their internships this summer.
Traveling to Migori, Kenya, for her internship, Melanie VanSloten (B.S. ’20) will be joining the KenyaRelief team during a month-long internship. KenyaRelief facilitates multiple different operations in Kenya including a medical and surgical clinic, an orphanage and a school. KenyaRelief also organizes and sends over 20 mission teams to the country including medical and surgical teams, educational teams, ministerial teams and construction teams.
As a pre-med major, Melanie plans to use her skills learned at Cornerstone to assist with patient care. Some of her responsibilities include helping terminally ill children at the nearby orphanage, assisting with lab work and being able to scrub in during a few surgeries at the end of her internship in order to observe the medical and surgical practice.
Melanie describes her internship search process as a "mix of hard work and a lot of God." She had visited Kenya once before and was heavily impacted by her trip. She goes on to say that her first trip there was the main reason why she decided to study pre-med. Unfortunately, when she first wanted to join one of the short-term mission trip teams to Kenya, there wasn't enough room for her. However, God later provided an opportunity for a different experience instead.
"After that, plans fell beautifully into place," Melanie expressed. "I could see God opening up doors abundantly. It was clear to me [the new plan] was an opportunity like no other."
Melanie described that her classes and experiences at Cornerstone have prepared her well to pursue this internship opportunity.
"My classes have always paired science with the gospel," Melanie said. "I will have the chance to witness to the patients I work with through my actions and my speech. I feel equipped to share the gospel and show Christ's love."
"Over the school year, I participated in a Bible study with Dee Mooney and a few other Cornerstone women. I was able to grow closer to God and have a team behind me to support me as I travel."
Meanwhile, back in Michigan, David Dodds (B.A. ’19), a business marketing major, is participating in a summer internship at Meijer's corporate campus in Walker. Meijer is a privately-owned, family-operated grocery store with more than 235 locations throughout Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and Wisconsin.
At Meijer, David serves as the Own Brand Fresh intern in the meat and seafood department. His work supports the company's strategic efforts to bring premium products to customers. More specifically, his responsibilities include participating in quality control audits on products, ensuring the company's standards are met by interacting with vendor partners and supporting the individual efforts of the core teams.
One of the things David most enjoys about interning at Meijer is their "winning strategy." The strategy includes being customer-focused, winning with their team and having a passion to compete.
"Essentially, I have the luxury of walking in to work every day and knowing that we will be better than the day before and endlessly strive to deliver the best experiences to customers," David explained. "Every idea, plan, goal and strategy is customer oriented in the end."
As he enters his final year at Cornerstone, David elaborated on how the classes he has taken have prepared him for his current internship.
"Whether Organizational Behavior with Dr. Detwiler, Sales Marketing with Professor Sack or Marketing Strategies with Professors Scharp and Vander Veen, each class has given me specific information that I have been able to apply in a real scenario," David said.
David further went on to identify how critical it is to be able to collaborate effectively with a wide variety of people, especially when you work for an organization with more than 70,000 team members. Each of his classes has taught him valuable skills to apply in the business workforce.
Another student who is participating in an internship this summer is Nicholas Scholl (B.A. ’19), a mathematics major. He currently serves as the recreational product claims intern at Farmers Insurance in Caledonia, Mich. Farmers Insurance is a nation-wide agency that sells and provides insurance coverage for a variety of things including homes, small businesses, cars and much more.
As an intern with Farmers Insurance, Nicholas has multiple different responsibilities. Some of his duties include calling those who are insured and handling claims, further investigating losses and negotiating prices.
"What I love the most about my internship is the ability to grow and reach out to professionals in the corporation who I aspire to become [like]," said Nicholas. Along with that, he explained that his classes have better prepared him to make the most out of his internship. "[In] my classes at Cornerstone, I learned how to solve problems, how to communicate effectively and [have gained a greater] knowledge about the business world." He concluded that his internship has helped him build a solid foundation of in-office experience which will help him in his future work.
From assisting with international patient care to ensuring quality products for a regional grocery store to assisting insurance claims within West Michigan, Cornerstone students are learning valuable skills that will help them better transition into their future career. With 100% of traditional undergraduate students completing an academic internship or practicum, Cornerstone students have the opportunity to create both global and local change.