Cornerstone University Undergraduates Explore Their Callings Through Real-World Experience
by Danielle Barton (B.A. ’19)
What does an entry-level college graduate need to succeed in today's marketplace? Experience. One of the best ways to gain such experience is through an internship. By taking an internship, students are provided with adequate opportunities to apply classroom knowledge in a real-world setting. From a global furniture company to the City of Grand Rapids, Cornerstone University students are gaining practical experiences while classes are out for the summer.
One of those students is Taryn Sack (B.S. '18), a double major in business finance and business marketing. She is currently interning at Steelcase Inc. as their strategic product marketing intern. Steelcase is a multi-billion dollar company and one of the world's leaders in office furniture. From first introducing a line of safe deposit vaults, lockers, strong boxes, steel shelving and wastebaskets in 1915, Steelcase is now recognized among the "World's Most Admired Companies" by Fortune Magazine (2016) and continues to grow in innovation and creativity.
Taryn's roles at Steelcase includes two primary jobs: determining how well a product is doing based on its sales history and creating extensive competitive matrices when a new product is developed or has already been developed and needs to be compared to the competitive market. Whereas these two things consume most of her time, every day is always a little bit different at her company due to the creative and educational aspects Steelcase offers.
"My time at Steelcase has been nothing short of amazing and saturated with learning experiences," Taryn explained. "With access to corporate university classes at Steelcase University, learning sessions about innovation and curiosity within the workforce during Curious Minds sessions, company blogs and podcasts, employees never stop learning here. This relentlessly creative environment is exciting and inspiring, and I will bring this same attitude with me as I move forward in my career!"
As she reflected on Cornerstone's impact and preparation for this internship, Taryn concluded that her business professors, fellow business students and her role as the captain of CU's women's basketball team have all helped her prepare for what she is currently experiencing. Not only has Taryn learned ethics and strategy from her professors, but also competition and camaraderie from her peers, along with leadership and hard work from her basketball experiences.
Another student utilizing their summer break with a valuable internship is Ethan Wyant (B.S. '19), a computer information systems major. Along with Taryn, Ethan is also interning at Steelcase Inc.; however, he serves as an information technology intern on the company's Methods, Tools and Process team.
As a part of the team, Ethan keeps track of several major internal technology systems. He is responsible for integrating both ServiceNow and SolarWinds into Steelcase's work environment. These systems help Steelcase operate and work more efficiently within their company.
ServiceNow is a system used by employees within Steelcase to ensure that their computers and workstations are functioning correctly. For example, if an employee's computer is not turning on correctly, employees are able to submit a work order that contains the issue. ServiceNow will then assign that work order to the proper team that will resolve the issue.
SolarWinds is a system used that keeps track of Steelcase's routers and servers. Overall, it allows for Ethan to watch everything on the company's network from afar.
Throughout his internship, Ethan has been designing and building a way for both systems to communicate with each other and share resources together. This ensures that no technological problems arise. By coordinating these two systems together, Ethan plays an important role in the efficiency of Steelcase.
Overall, Ethan came to the realization that working as an information technology intern has helped him experience a greater understanding of the subjects that are taught in his computer information systems classes at Cornerstone.
"These subjects prepared me for my role, and now my role is honing them into well-defined skills to be used in the future."
Working at the Grand Rapids City Archives and Records Center, Miracales has the privilege of learning more about the city, the culture and the history of Grand Rapids. The City Archives holds multiple historical documents including photos, films, burial records, felony records, ordinances, blueprints, election results, directories and more all pertaining to the city. Materials held there date back to the early 1800s to today's records.
Miracales' internship incorporates many different roles, however, the majority of her time is spent processing requests from clients, indexing records, participating in photo identification and digitizing documents.
"I think my favorite part of this experience is discovering the history of Grand Rapids," Miracales commented. "For example, on Thursdays, we dig through our collection of photos to pick one that we post on our Facebook page. It's intriguing to see pictures dating all the way from the 1920s and the stories they tell."
These students are just a few of the students who are utilizing their classroom experiences with hands-on opportunities. At Cornerstone, 100% of traditional undergraduate students complete an academic internship or practicum. By participating in internships, students explore God's calling for their lives and gain the practical knowledge necessary to succeed in today's marketplace.
For more information on Cornerstone's student-focused vocational resources, learn about our Center for Career & Life Calling.