Where am I?
Fontbonne Student Internships
Hometown: Hazelwood, Mo.
Major: Fashion Merchandising
Interned at: GAP, Chicago, Ill.
Try something new. Don’t be afraid to accept a challenge. That’s what I did by stepping outside my comfort zone to work at Gap’s flagship store on Michigan Avenue in Chicago — where the standard of visual merchandising is set for all other stores, including displays, windows and product placement.
I loved Chicago and the exposure it gave me to everything new — a new working environment and lots of new people. I didn’t know what to expect, but I was fortunate to learn from three managers at the district, regional and corporate levels. Each taught me what works best from different perspectives. It also gave me a sneak peek at potential jobs in my future, which was very exciting.
The classroom prepared me for a professional role, and now I feel excited, motivated and challenged to move beyond college and into the professional world.
Home Country: Honduras
Major: Computer Science
Interned at: Rexnord Industries
During my internship with Rexnord Industries (Milwaukee, Wis.), I worked on a large project overhauling an outdated catalog. The company then asked me to translate the catalog into Spanish, requiring me to learn new design software in less than two weeks – which I did. I proved that I could handle the job myself rather than sending it out-of-house, saving the company a great deal of money.
Fontbonne emphasized that work ethic and professionalism are key in a work setting. It was a great compliment for me to be recognized as Rexnord’s first employee of the month and to learn that I far exceeded their expectations as an intern.
Before I transferred to Fontbonne, I had no computer experience, but in just two and a half years, I’ve gained so much — in the classroom, on the job and through my own initiative. If I hadn’t learned what I did in class, I may not have had the courage to continue learning on my own and get where I am today. I’d advise anyone with an opportunity for an internship, paid or unpaid, to take it without hesitation.
Hometown: Florissant, Mo.
Major: Early Childhood
Interned at: Head Start
Shadowing the center coordinator for Head Start showed me what it takes to run an
early childhood center. It includes paperwork,
payroll, enrollment and finding employees to fill in for staff members who miss work, even if you have to do it yourself.
I learned what it takes to be a leader in this field.You need to be able to compromise and help everyone with his or her unique problems, and, at the same time, be prepared to switch priorities at a moment’s notice. And it takes a lot of patience to handle a classroom full of children — 20 different kids means that there are 20 different personalities and attitudes.
It’s exciting to find a practicum that’s related to what you want to do — and I know this is something I want to do — but it can be tiring trying to juggle all of your own personal responsibilities, as well, especially when you have a family. The opportunity and experience, however, are well worth the effort.
Hometown: Rolla, Mo.
Major: Business Administration with a Marketing concentration
Interned at: Saint Louis Science Center
During my internship, I was responsible for implementing a new Saint Louis Science Center program, Kids’ Club, and marketing its membership to families throughout St. Louis. I worked with a true professional who challenged me to think and figure problems out for myself. She relied on me to be independent. I traveled all over the city and worked a lot of events, like Taste of St. Louis, Cardinal’s games and days at Grant’s Farm.
In the office, I learned how to communicate with various departments, like graphic design and public relations. All the departments interacted with each other on some level, so I shadowed other areas to see how they connected with marketing. The people I worked with reflected the qualities of top-notch businessmen and women. My supervisor was always on her toes and was very reliable, and she gave me great advice.
As a student, I believe it’s important to take internships, because when you graduate, it’s not always about the degree you have, but the experience you’ve gained. I’d highly recommend interning — and at more than one place, if possible. Each business or organization offers a different environment, one you might not understand until you experience it.