2013 Outstanding Co-op/Intern of the Year Award Winners

Kayla Darby Name:
Kayla Darby
College of Education & Health Sciences
Learning Behavioral Specialist I
Camp Big Sky

As an aspiring special education teacher, I was thrilled to become the first intern at Camp Big Sky. Camp Big Sky is a 501(c)(3) charitable not-for-profit organization with a mission to provide education, training and skills development to children and adults with disabilities through the participation in accessible outdoor activities. The camp is open every Thursday, Friday and Saturday from the first of May until the end of October, offering both daytime activities and overnight camping. All day services are provided at no cost to participants and family members; friends and caregivers are welcomed and encouraged to visit as well. As a Life Skills Educator Intern, I foresaw the development, implementation, and evaluation of an innovative Life Skills Education Program during the summer and fall of 2013.

Children today often have limited opportunity to connect with the natural environment. Camp Big Sky has therefore provided a unique opportunity for students with exceptional learning needs. Using the environment as a context for learning, this educational program has provided a foundation for these students to learn the skills necessary for independent living. The transitioning step is of the utmost importance in successful independent living after high school and many local school districts lack this fundamental programming. The Camp Big Sky Life Skills Program offers a means of education and transition training for junior high and high school students in life skills classes.

As an intern, I increased my professionalism and collaborative skills through partnership with Bradley University’s Teacher Education Department, the Special Education Association of Peoria County (SEAPCO), Farmington Central Unified School District "265, and Camp Big Sky. I learned how to differentiate instruction to a group of students with a wide range of exceptionalities while continuously modifying instruction and objectives based off individual needs. I continued to develop my classroom management skills while creating meaningful relationships with my 18 students.

My responsibilities as a Life Skills Educator also included general camp counselor duties at Camp Big Sky. I foresaw daily camp activities such as boating, fishing, arts and crafts, and lawn games. When children and adults attend Camp Big Sky, they are welcomed with open arms. They are not looked upon as persons with disabilities, but as individuals, the same as you and me.

This once in a lifetime real world experience has enforced my love of teaching students with exceptionalities and has prepared me for my novice and student teaching field experiences. It was with great joy to see the progression my students made, not only through academics, but in their behavior and social-emotional well-being. My heart has been forever touched by the people I have encountered at Camp Big Sky and I cannot wait to see how the camp flourishes within the next few years.

Lindsey Petersen Name:
Lindsey Petersen
Foster College of Business
Business Management & Administration
Allegion — LCN Closers

During the summer following my sophomore year at Bradley, I spent my time working for LCN Closers, which is a sub-company of Allegion, formerly Ingersoll Rand. I worked as their human resources intern. Going into this internship, I was an accounting major; I was confused as to what I wanted to do with my degree, because I was starting to dread my future as an accountant. I went into the internship looking for answers as to what I truly would like to do, since human resources was a career I had just begun to consider. Leaving this internship, I am now confident that human resources is the best fit for my career path.

Right from the beginning, I immediately felt at home at LCN. The employees were very welcoming and eager to get to know me. More importantly though, I loved the work I was doing and enjoyed going to work each and every day. I felt that I was truly making a difference in some of the employees’ lives by simply showing that I cared. This made the employees actually want to come to the human resources department when they needed help, instead of dreading their visit to the office.

A majority of my time was spent on various projects throughout the summer. I developed a crisis action plan, created their recognition program that is now flourishing, redesigned company policies, created and presented an interviewing workshop for the employees, worked closely with the management team on a daily basis, planned the company picnic, trained employees, interviewed, hired, and got to sit in on crucial experiences with my supervisor. I was lucky enough to have a supervisor who was looking out for my best interests, and she made sure that the work that I was doing was relevant and informative.

My summer with LCN flew by, and I was not looking forward to leaving; I truly enjoyed my time with this company. The employees there went as far as to throw me a send-off lunch on my final day. I developed long-term relationships with many of my co-workers and had many networking opportunities throughout the summer. The relationships continued, and my supervisor insisted that I come back to work for them over my winter break. I gladly returned and worked on various projects for them such as: developed their training schedule for the 2014 year with a budget of $25,000, and organized college mixers for recruiting purposes, along with some additional smaller projects. It was nice to see that the work I had done for them over the summer was still going to good use, like the recognition program that I created.

Leaving both of these experiences with LCN as a human resources intern, I now am certain as to what I want to do with my career. I have found something that I am truly passionate about, while also having the confidence to say that I truly am good at what I do. I have been blessed with the opportunities that I have been given, and I look forward to my continued relationship with this company. Next summer I will be working for a different company within Allegion, named Steelcraft near Cincinnati, Ohio.

These experiences have helped me immensely; I now know what I want to do with my career, and I can utilize the rest of my time at Bradley to make sure I can grow as a better professional for my career. This internship has provided me with a plethora of knowledge that I will continue to use as I follow my career aspirations.

Abby Schierer Name:
Abby Schierer
College of Liberal Arts & Sciences
Wildlife Prairie Park

Growing up in the Peoria area, I went to Wildlife Prairie Park a lot as a kid. From school field trips to days with the family, I have a lot of memories of the Park. The summer following my Sophomore year at Bradley University I began to volunteer for the Park giving tours of their historical log cabin and schoolhouse. When I began searching for internships during my junior year at Bradley, Wildlife Prairie Park was my top choice.

I interned at Wildlife Prairie Park the summer after my junior year, and it was an incredible experience. My main job was to help the Park organize all of their historical information. To do this, I read all of the Park’s Newsletters, dating back to the Park’s opening in 1978, and searched for any other historical documents I could find. I compiled all of my findings in a historical guide, and by the end of the summer I had typed over 160 pages of information. I also started a filing system so the Park could continue to organize historical information after I left.

Wildlife Prairie Park also involved me in other aspects of the Park and its operation, giving me a variety of work experiences. Each day, I spent a few hours working in Gertie’s Discovery Workshop. This gift shop/children’s discovery area gave me the opportunity to interact with visitors and share my newfound knowledge of the Park. It was wonderful to be able to share my experience at the Park with guests. Wildlife Prairie Park also gave me the opportunity to apply my interests in writing and photography to my work. Articles I wrote, along with photographs I took of the Park and it’s animals were used in the Park’s new marketing brochures and in the Park’s monthly newsletters. I think that the variety these projects added to my internship made the experience that much more valuable.

I am very grateful that I was able to intern at Wildlife Prairie Park. I was able to work on projects that were directly beneficial to the Park I had grown up with. The internship also gave me incredibly valuable work experience and the opportunity to expand my professional portfolio. Now, I not only have the childhood memories of the Park, but also the memories of an incredible summer I spent working for them.

Nicole Van Schaick Name:
Nicole Van Schaick
Slane College of Communications & Fine Arts
Graphic Design
Boy Scouts of America - W. D. Boyce Council

As a Graphic Design major, working for a non-for-profit company seemed less than ideal. What was expected to be an average internship filled with coffee runs and paper shredding, my internship at the W. D. Boyce Council, Boy Scouts of America ended up being a hands-on experience I will never forget.

It was a little over a year and a half ago when I first arrived at the W. D. Boyce Council to begin my graphic design internship. I had originally anticipated designing a few programs, pamphlets, and performing any other minimal tasks needed. Although, I quickly realized my preconceived notions had greatly underestimated the potential of my position.

Through each completed design, I gained more and more trust from the council administration resulting in a greater amount of artistic freedom and responsibility. By the end of the year, I was brainstorming and proposing ideas, communicating with print companies, and creating designs for a plethora of projects.

At the council, I was able to design essential materials such as the Friends of Scouting brochure, Annual Report, and dozens of programs and flyers. I also received the opportunity to help market the extreme 5k race Mud Mayhem. I created the logo and branding for all advertising materials such as posters, flyers, website graphics, and billboard designs, along with event materials such as the medal design, t-shirts, banners and signs. Other major pieces I designed included 12 foot-long banners for a large fundraising event known as the Distinguished Citizen Award and a large backdrop for the Blowing Up the Shower House Movie Premier. I was able to photograph for many of the events and graphics as well.

Probably the most rewarding part of my experience of my internship was seeing the final outcome of my projects. My design work on Mud Mayhem even received national recognition as an honorable mention in the National President's Awards for Marketing Excellence.

I am so thankful and humbled I received the opportunity to create designs for the W. D. Boyce Council. The Boy Scouts, despite my preconceptions, ended up being the perfect place for me to learn, grow, and thrive as a graphic designer.

Kevin Wollscheid Name:
Kevin Wollscheid
College of Engineering & Technology
Industrial Engineering

In 2013, I traded away a midWestern winter for palm trees, the beach, and rocket engines. Starting in mid-January I worked with the Process Engineering team for SpaceX.

SpaceX is a private Aerospace company based out of Los Angeles, California with its sights on eventually transporting humanity to Mars. It is a company full of bright young minds with a "work hard, play hard" mentality. SpaceX interns are given abnormally large responsibilities and the opportunity to learn something new every day. My daily routine consisted of 50% production floor work, working hands on with the engines tasked with transporting the Falcon 9 rockets into space. The other 50% of my time was spent on analysis work at my computer. This 50/50 split allowed for me to learn how product design and the realities of production tie together.

Many projects I worked on had major implications for meeting a successful launch rate the company is striving to achieve. The most important skill that Bradley has helped me to develop to use in the workplace is the professional communication skills it takes to solve problems. Bradley's small class size's help to encourage communication and critical feedback.

Outside of work, Los Angeles was an amazing place to live. There was not a weekend that went by without something fun to do. My weekend activities ranged from bungee jumping to surfing lessons to camping in California’s beautiful national forests. I consider the 7 months I spent working for SpaceX to be the best of my life. I encourage all of my fellow Bradley students to set their bar high, strive to land new and challenging internships, and force themselves into trying new things. After all, they say "Life begins at the edge of your comfort zone" so get out there and try it.