2008 Outstanding Co-op/Intern of the Year Award Winners

Danielle Cooper Name:
Danielle Cooper
College of Education & Health
Health Science
St. John's Hospital

I had the incredible opportunity to participate in an internship in my area of study, physical therapy, during the summer of 2008. Working for St. John's Hospital in Springfield, IL, was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Not only did I gain valuable, first-hand experience in my selected career, but my employers have made it clear that I will have a job with St. John's when I graduate. I also have an opportunity to receive a scholarship from St. John's Hospital for graduate school.

In the rehabilitation department, I observed and aided therapists in several settings including outpatient, inpatient, pediatrics, orthopedics, aquatics, various pediatric clinics, and the transitional care unit. I was also able to observe two anterior cruciate ligament reconstructions, an orthopedic doctor's clinic, and how othotics and prosthetics are measured and manufactured. I also aided therapists in mobilizing muscles and joints using manual techniques and assisted with range of motion exercises. The second half of the day I helped with clerical responsibilities including registering new patients, identifying correct ICD-9 codes, contacting insurance companies, assembling patient charts, scanning patient documents for medical records, and keeping accurate patient data. I was also selected to complete several special projects throughout the summer.

The knowledge and skills that I gained through my internship at St. John's Hospital undoubtedly helped me to get into my first choice graduate program. I will be attending Bradley University's Doctor of Physical Therapy program beginning this summer and could not be more excited.

Melissa Wahl Name:
Melissa Wahl
College of Liberal Arts
and Sciences
English & Spanish
Neighborhood Writing Alliance

As an English and Spanish major with a minor in Professional Writing, I hope to enter into the publishing/editing field upon graduating in May 2010. During the course of my Sophomore year, I happened upon a description for an internship at the Neighborhood Writing Alliance's Journal of Ordinary Thought in Chicago on the Northwestern University website.

I was drawn to the description of their organization and how their mission is to "provoke dialogue and promote change by creating opportunities for adults in Chicago to write, publish, and perform works about their lives." Through further investigation, I found that they hold writing workshops almost every day of the week in many of the low-income neighborhoods of Chicago where they "encourage participants to write from their everyday experiences and to think of writing as a way to share their own stories and observations." Those adults, who participate in the writing workshops, can then choose to submit their pieces to be published in the Journal of Ordinary Thought. The journal is published on a quarterly basis, on the belief that "publishing provides a way for the writers to share their stories with a broader audience, and extends those conversations to a broader community."

Because their organization solely consists of three employees, my job as an intern wasn't just one specific job, but many jobs. I helped with many aspects of the journal itself, attended the writing workshop held at the Lindblom Park YMCA, proofread grant proposals, and sent out subscription renewals. I also put together materials for the writing workshop leaders, kept the writer database updated with demographic information, and was put in charge of a large project in which the Neighborhood Writing Alliance partnered with Dropping Knowledge International.

I am so thankful for the time I spent working with the Neighborhood Writing Alliance. I gained extensive experience in the editorial field in the non-profit sector, and I believe this internship has prepared and pushed me to gain the skills necessary to fulfill my dream of becoming a literary editor.

Erin Wood Name:
Erin Wood
Slane College of
Communication and Fine Arts
Communication - Journalism
Peoria Journal Star

As an intern at the Peoria Journal Star during the summer and fall of 2008, I worked as a reporter covering everything from the police and fire beat to news-feature stories and even a few longer, in-depth reports.

During my internship at the Journal Star, I worked as a full-time employee, and I was given hefty assignments equal to those of the other reporters in the newsroom. I covered stories such as the Democratic and Republican national conventions, a father who killed his young son while doing tricks on a motorcycle, a woman who was sued for the wrongful death of her foster child who died in a fire, as well as an in-depth report about Peoria's homeless youth that was featured as the main story for a Sunday issue of the Journal Star, among others.

Overall, my experience at the Journal Star helped me extend the skills I have learned in the classroom, specifically in reporting, which is the career I hope to pursue upon graduation. The hands-on experience I gained as a real-world reporter was one of the most challenging but realistic and rewarding experiences I will take from college.

I will graduate in May with a degree in journalism and a minor in marketing. I hope to pursue a job in reporting for a major daily newspaper or attend graduate school and earn a master's degree in journalism.

Lindsey Ford Name:
Lindsey Ford
Caterpillar College of Engineering & Technology
Civil Engineering

I had the privilege of working for a transportation engineering firm called TranSystems during the summer of 2008. As the Highway Design Team Intern I was assigned a number of tasks. The largest of these was completing an engineer's estimate for a project involving a two-mile stretch of highway. This required me to learn the drafting program, MicroStation, quickly in order to utilize it while doing the estimate. Documentation of where I got information and assumptions I made was crucial while I was doing the estimate. This was required so that someone else could retrace my work and easily make adjustments to the values if something in the project changed.

I was also exposed to making sidewalk ramps compliant with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards. At the time of my internship the Act had recently been passed and was a major part of the work TranSystems was doing. Proofing the plan set for consistency and completion is another task I was given. I was especially helpful doing this because I had a fresh set of eyes. Reviewing a set of plans is similar to checking a paper for grammar problems, except you're looking for different things. The more people you have look it over the more consistent it will be in the end.

TranSystems cares about the well being of its employees and involvement their with the community. Some of the other employees and I participated in an event put on by a volunteer organization called Chicago Cares. We went to an elementary school and painted lockers for the students that would be coming in the fall. This was a great opportunity for me to get to know my co-workers and to the community I was living in for the summer.

There was a great balance of give and take of information between TranSystems and me. I think this balance is very important for any employee and I am grateful for the opportunity I was given to be an intern at the company. Working as the Highway Design Team Intern also helped me decide to pursue a full time position in the field of transportation engineering, which I am still seeking.

Derek Oddo Name:
Derek Oddo
Foster College of Business
Bradley University - Athletics

At the culmination of my junior year at Bradley University, I embarked on uncharted waters and accepted a newly formed position with the Bradley Athletics Department. I was hired on as the "Creative and Web Services Intern" and worked in conjunction with the marketing and sports information departments while also assisting in daily activities and events. Throughout the summer, I worked part-time from home doing various projects including the "Leave a Legacy" theme to the 2008 soccer season. Yet, the most notable was the redesign and re-launch of the updated BradleyBraves.com website.

While the new website was certainly exciting to be involved with, there were numerous other projects that I worked on that I am particularly proud of. One would certainly be producing Inside Bradley Athletics, a weekly web show that highlights happenings in the Athletic Department. Each week is a new experience as there is always something else going on and this show provides a means to highlight the various activities that Bradley sports take part in. From grabbing b-roll footage, to snagging an interview, or capturing on tape the athletes' community involvement, I have been given yet another creative outlet. And the biggest test to my creativity and work ethic was certainly the Men's Basketball marketing campaign.

This project saw me in charge of the Men's Basketball creative for the "Are You Fan Enough" campaign. Involved in this were all the creative aspects of a NCAA division one marketing drive such as billboards, scorecards, advertisements, magazine covers, portions of the media guide, promotional items, shirt designs, etc. This was the single most recognizable thing I was involved with given the grandiose scale of the items involved. On any given day, I could see something I created in a commercial, driving by a billboard, or at a local restaurant. Not many interns can say that something they have created is so readily seen by the community, and this is something I will forever be grateful for.

This position and those individuals I worked with gave me an opportunity that I will forever see as the foundation to my professional career. I credit these individuals with providing me an environment of not only creativity, but professional growth through trial and error. Individuals like John Searby, Bobby Parker, Ken Kavanagh, Mary Lou Janssen, Jeff Baldwin, Jim Rea and all of the other coaches and staff that have continued to not only push myself, but allow an environment for continued improvement and success. I have fallen flat on my face numerous times and I've been to the lowest of lows. But, I have also seen the fruits of hard work and a mentality to try anything. This position is a phenomenal stepping stone for my future aspirations of owning my own business. Something I would not have gotten if I did not seek out an internship.