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CMU student growth outside the classroom and across the globe

Summer internship opportunities exceed students' expectations

Contact: Heather Smith

​​​​​​​From Michigan to Japan and beyond, Central Michigan University students have worked throughout the U.S. and around the globe this summer as interns ​alongside leaders in their career fields.

Five CMU students reflect on their internships and how they have gained hands-on experiences, made lasting connections and advanced their skills in order to be successful once they enter the workforce.

Clarkston senior Eric Kurowski spent his summer in China taking a different approach to gain real-world experience. The marketing and logistics management major from Clarkston, Michigan, learned about business through his internship at NMT Project Logistics.

“Learning in a classroom is great, but it can teach you only so much. Building good relationships with people and other businesses is crucial in the world of business, especially when you are an outsider as I am in China,” Kurowski said.

He said it is important to respect others’ cultures and traditions.

“The language barrier and cultural differences make my internship really unique because you are pushed outside of your comfort zone,” he said. “This internship is preparing me for the future by teaching me to take risks and put myself out there. I think being able to add an international internship to my resume will show companies that I am open to new challenges.”

When an opportunity arose for junior Katherine Kolar to be one of only 14 students nationwide to be chosen for a summer internship with the NanoJapan International Research Experience for Undergraduates, she jumped on it.

“Submersion into an environment of constant learning has definitely been the most beneficial part of my internship. Words cannot express how much I’ve learned in the past three months I’ve spent living in Japan,” Kolar said.

She learned about Japanese culture and groundbreaking research, an opportunity she will never forget.

“This internship has allowed me a glimpse into the life of globalized research. I feel like academically I’ve been able to reach beyond the classroom and learn more than I thought I would,” Kolar said.

“Also, I now fully realize the necessity of international relationships among people all over the world, in all fields. Coming out of this internship I find myself better able to empathize with people outside of my culture and have an understanding of what it is like to live in a country that is foreign to you.”

Boasting "America's biggest skiing," the Big Sky Resort Conference Center in Montana has provided even bigger opportunities for Mackinaw Island senior Marie Bunker.

“I love that I’m treated more as a fellow employee rather than an intern,” she said.

Bunker, a recreation major, said she has been surprised by the amount of time that is invested in coordinating an event from start to finish.

“The hands-on experience has been the most beneficial because I have been able to actually coordinate events myself rather than just watching. This experience has allowed me to gain confidence and skills beyond what the classroom can teach because I’m experiencing it firsthand.”

Growing up, Warren senior Kenneth Cordry spent his time working in mechanic shops and fixing cars with his father. Little did he know he would be an intern at one of the largest automotive companies in the world — Ford Motor Company — just a few years later.

“I intern at one of Ford’s transmission plants where I work with final assembly process engineers to ensure the assembly line is running at the targeted rate,” Cordry said. “I get to work with some of the best engineers in the world on some of the best automotive products offered on the market today.”

Ford is preparing Cordry for a future in engineering through hands-on experiences and networking opportunities.

“Having these experiences makes me more confident about my role as an engineer,” he said. “I have met a lot of people in the engineering field who I can connect with in the future.”

For Saginaw senior Kimberly Johnson, moving to New York City for the summer wasn’t enough. Two internships later, the apparel merchandising and design major is gaining experience in all aspects of the fashion industry.

“I really feel like it’s the blueprint for my career,” she said. “Every person I come into contact with is giving me valuable knowledge that I could potentially use in the future.”

Working at both, an online source for shopping boutiques around the globe, and at VV Patchouli, a luxury Italian leather house, Johnson’s schedule is hectic – but valuable and rewarding.

“This experience has taught me to be patient,” she said. “Who you know can open so many doors. And, I’ve learned to appreciate the little things in life – whether it’s the walk to work or a piece of knowledge shared between colleagues.”

Port Huron native Angela Hill knew she had found her calling when she accepted a position as an intern at Doyon/Aramark Joint Venture in Denali National Park and Preserve.

Prior to arriving in Alaska, however, Hill had no idea what to expect.

“My internship was interesting because I was given the opportunity to work in human resources departments at two locations, Doyon/Aramark Joint Venture and Denali Park Village,” Hill said. “Although both locations were Aramark, they operated differently and gave me a sense of how to manage employee relations within a company at various locations.”

The human resources management major said the best part of her internship was being able to travel to Alaska, although it was a challenge adapting to such a remote area. This opportunity was one she never thought she would have the chance to experience, however, receiving the Richard R. Veazy scholarship from CMU allowed her the unique opportunity.

“I officially have the knowledge to hire an employee into a corporation or business, organize a staffing plan and most importantly make a difference in the lives of employees,” Hill said.


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