Internships Impact Olivet Student Experience

Nine students share about their summer internship experiences.

Summer breaks are impactful times for students to step away from the classroom and gain valuable experiences through internships, jobs and travel opportunities. Here are a few first-person examples of how Olivet students grew personally and professionally through their unique internship opportunities during summer 2022. 

Adriana Thayer
Crystal Lake, Illinois
Class of 2024
Major: Biology; Minor: Chemistry

This summer I worked in the Regenerative Medicine and Disability Research Lab at the University of Illinois College of Medicine Chicago. During my eight-week internship, I conducted a project studying the effects of antioxidants to minimize both the amount of corrosion and treat the negative side effects of corrosion in a hip implant. Throughout the internship, I worked under Dr. Mathew T. Mathew as well as a graduate student in his lab. At the end of the eight weeks, I was able to present my research at a scientific forum which took place at the medical school.

I chose this internship because I was personally invested in the project I was working on. Previously, my dad was in a car accident that caused massive damage to his hip and will probably cause him to have a hip replacement in the future. This internship allowed me to help others and possibly provide a better future for my dad.

This experience taught me a lot of patience. Research is a slow process that may not work all the time and takes a lot of problem-solving. Patience was a necessary skill that I had to develop. This internship also gave me an opportunity to apply skills and knowledge that I learned in my classes here at Olivet.

Completion of this internship gave me experience in a new field and has helped to develop where I want to go in the future. I was also able to make connections with a lot of new people in the field I want to work. I am so grateful to Olivet and the professors I have had that gave me the support, letters of recommendation and skills to complete this internship.

Valerie Haessig
Syracuse, Indiana
Class of 2024
Major: Interior design

I worked with Bright Architecture in Kankakee. I used a computer program to create building plans including ceilings, floors, roofs, doors and windows. I chose this internship because I wanted real world experience in my field, so I know what to look forward to.

I learned about the different aspects that need to be considered when designing a building. I never would have thought of having to make a holding cell for the courthouse or how to figure out how to fit HVAC systems in between the ceiling and the roof with limited space. This experience helped me envision what I will be doing once I graduate. It helped me learn about the different paths I can take with my major.

Nate Foor 
Bourbonnais, Illinois
Class of 2024 
Majors: Marketing and Management

Tanalian Bible Camp is off the road system and requires a bush plane to get to. My primary responsibility was to produce the camp’s weekly recap videos along with many marketing tasks, photography and running all media and sound during twice-a-day chapel services. I also was part of the program crew and had the opportunity to lead campers on hikes in the Alaskan backcountry of Lake Clark National Park.

Going to my hometown school, I promised myself that I would spend my summers away from Bourbonnais, find a new adventure, or find an internship or job in an unfamiliar place to grow me and to stretch myself outside my comfort zone. Then I considered serving, and on a deep, third-page Google search, I ran into Tanalian Bible Camp in middle-of-nowhere southwest Alaska. It was quite the unorthodox way of finding an internship. I had an amazing summer, full of adventure, full of learning new things, and at a place that I loved!

I could write a novel on significant experiences and lessons learned this summer. We hosted eight weeks of camp, and I successfully produced a video each week. I was able to shadow and work on marketing projects for the camp. I learned to be more lighthearted, and I learned time management in a workplace setting. It was an honor to serve this summer!

Aimee Nana
Bethany, Oklahoma
Class of 2023
Major: Interior Design; Minor: Marketing

This summer I had the opportunity to be a design intern for an interior design company out of Edmond, Oklahoma, called Kelsey Leigh Design Company. I was on call for a multitude of different tasks ranging from technical design to business management.

For this internship, I was hoping to gain hands-on experience in a specific residential field. I also searched long and hard to find a design company with a Christian foundation and was able to find just that within this company. 

I learned so much from this internship. I learned about design, about life, about leadership, about faith, about hard work — and even smaller things like this season's popular paint colors or the best pillow cover vendors! We traveled for projects every few weeks and would run local errands daily. I had the opportunity to meet with specific trades like cabinetmakers, carpenters, ironworkers and plumbers. I was able to sit in on client meetings, expert calls and various master classes, soaking up information about my future industry.

Working under Christians was a blessing, as I got to witness real-life application of morals in the workplace. Each person on our team values faith in all aspects and represented the love of Christ through each part of the design process. I was able to grow tremendously in my understanding of interior design, but I was also able to meet the Lord in a new and unique way through my vocation.

Pricila Carmona
Kankakee, Illinois
Class of 2023
Major: Marketing-Management and Commercial Graphics Concentrations 

This summer I was chosen as a finalist for the Multicultural Advertising Internship Program (MAIP). The MAIP is a national fellowship program for aspiring diverse entry-level advertising professionals that lasts 22 weeks, including 12 weeks of virtual spring training and a 10-week internship at a top advertising company. Selected applicants obtain real-world job experience, networking opportunities within the industry, and a significant career pathway to better position oneself in the marketplace.  

I interned with Havas in the Chicago office. Havas is the world's fifth-largest communications group and a top 10 advertising agency. Havas is an outstanding advertising firm with a large network and an abundance of brands as clients. My summer-long team project through MAIP with other students from throughout the country was working with Yellow Shoes by Disney as our client. My team's marketing strategy project was one of the top five finalists.

As part of my strategy internship at Havas, I assisted in the development and implementation of strategic projects. In addition, I collaborated with multiple departments to obtain data and provide insights that gave a deeper understanding of the market and our customers to support strategy development. During my time at Havas, I was able to expand my horizons and discover new opportunities in the advertising industry that I was previously unaware of. Hands-on experience is a beautiful thing that no textbook can teach you. I thank God for this blessing that has opened so many doors for me and helped me figure out what role in advertising I want to work in.

Samantha Joy Martin
Oswego, Illinois
Class of 2023
Major: Public Relations and Strategic Communication 

This summer, I was the marketing and communications intern for Soul City Church. I provided social media support to the communications coordinator by creating content such as reels, Sunday stories, sermon recap videos and fun posts. I also provided project management support for the Soul City Cafe and bookstore. And I researched and presented branding recommendations for Soul City Worship, as they are launching a new album this fall. 

During my internship, I learned how to be a better content creator and leader. I learned that public relations professionals are to advocate for a client, consumer, and designer or contractor and how to foster healthy conversations while doing so. I learned in content creation that it is important to know the story you’re trying to tell and ask how each piece is conveying it.

This experience impacted my life by confirming my vocation in the public relations and communication industry. The staff at Soul City was very encouraging and helped me to steward my gifts this summer. It helped me to grow in my faith by being in church more consistently than I have been and helped me to trust God’s plan for me, as I stepped into a place where I didn’t know anybody but did know that I was where God wanted me to be.

Olivia Winters 
Bartlett, Illinois
Class of 2023 
Major: Zoology; Minor: Music

I worked as an intern at First Environmental Laboratories as a lab technician in the organic preparation department. We received samples of soil and water from places as far as the Virgin Islands to test if there were contaminants or if the water was drinkable and then would give those reports to our clients. I chose First Environmental Laboratories because I thought it would be a good fit after meeting with some of the people that worked there. I was also curious about what it would be like to work in a lab.

The things I learned from my organic chemistry class at Olivet came in handy, but, in addition, I learned the various methods of how chemists extract organic components from samples so that they can come back to their clients with accurate reports.

This job also taught me how life-changing it is to work under someone who believes in God. As both a Christian and scientist, I learned a lot from my boss. He set an example as someone who knows how both Christianity and science go hand in hand instead of the two being conflicting ideas. Other chemists in the lab said they preferred their current job over past jobs because of how much they said their boss cares for them.

Emmet Wolff
Bourbonnais, Illinois
Class of 2025
Major: Business Administration; Minor: Legal Studies

I was chosen as the strategist intern at Prolific for a 10-week internship program. Prolific is the parent company to four others, which includes a paid media firm, a marketing firm and two others.  Prolific describes itself as a growth firm. I was part of a team of three other interns, and we were given California Closets as a client. We worked with their team to learn about their business and develop a strategic growth plan for them. Our team did a large amount of research respective to commercial construction and general contractors. We then strategized and developed a strategic growth plan. The team from California Closets decided they wanted to expand into commercial casework, and we created a plan for them to do so.

I chose this internship opportunity because of the team aspect and due to us having our own client. I learned a lot from this experience. I not only improved my professional skills and professional behavior in the workplace, but I also just met a ton of super-smart people. Over the 10 weeks, we met with people across the family of companies under Prolific and met people in different fields to learn about what they do. This experience gave me an idea of what work in this field looks like and has helped me regain my love for school and love for learning. It made me excited for the rest of college because I will be able to apply the things I did and learned to things I will continue to learn.

Zshu Elizabeth Asis
Kankakee, Illinois
Class of 2023
Major: Public Relations and Strategic Communications

After taking a course with Dr. [Jeff] Williamson, he referred me to Pathfinder in Kankakee, IL. After much thought I was determined to give back to my community and build relationships throughout Kankakee County. Pathfinder allowed me to learn how to get comfortable being uncomfortable and as a gateway for me to connect with the Kankakee County Chamber of Commerce. At Pathfinder I further developed my skills in writing and successfully published two press releases, a branding guide and a press kit. But most importantly, I learned how to not doubt myself and be confident in the work field. 

Olivet has prepared me not just spiritually but academically for what God called me to be. As a native Spanish speaker, I was able to connect with clients and translate documents. Colossians 3:23 encouraged me during my internship “Whatever you do…” This summer I was able to weave in my faith and who I serve in what I do. It was been a blessing to impact the lives around me and help clients of Pathfinder.

For more information about Olivet's more than 140 areas of academic study, contact the Office of Admissions at admissions@olivet.edu or 800-648-1463.

Published 10/14/2022
LB