2014 Outstanding Co-op/Intern of the Year Award Winners

Brendon David Name:
Brendon David
College of Education & Health Sciences
OSF St. Francis Medical Center
As a nursing major approaching my final year at Bradley, I was eager to do whatever I could to gain more experience in the clinical setting and further my knowledge as future nurse. In 2014, I traded a relaxing, sunny, summer vacation for a 10-week, fast-paced externship on the Neurological Intensive Care Unit at OSF St. Francis Medical Center.

OSF is currently the fourth largest medical center in Illinois with more than 900 physicians and 600 patient beds, along with being the area's only Level 1 Trauma Center. With that being said, my time on the Neuro ICU was anything but boring. The unit cares for a variety of different patients ranging from strokes, aneurysms, tumors, to traumatic brain injuries.

As an extern, I conducted full body assessments with emphasis on neurology, provided direct patient care, participated in multiple codes where I had to perform CPR, and at times did post mortem care. On the Neuro ICU specifically, I participated in an ECMO procedure, assisted with and witnessed ventricular drain placements, as well as assessed and monitored the terminally ill. My experience on the Neuro ICU enabled me to not only gain hands on experience, but forced me to critically think and prioritize time; skills needed to be a successful nurse.

The greatest benefit this externship was the reassurance I choose the right major. It taught me to truly think like a nurse and provided me with experiences, which enabled me to see how my patient care can directly influence a patient's outcome. I still get goose bumps thinking back to the times patients and their families hugged me and said, "Brendon, you're going to make a great nurse. Thank you for everything." In addition to the knowledge I gained from this experience, the comments such as these are what make this career worthwhile.

Shane Garland Name:
Shane Garland
Caterpillar College of Engineering & Technology
Mechanical Engineering
NuScale Power
In May of 2014 I packed my car to the brim and began a solo multi-day trek from my hometown of Saint Louis, Missouri and drove to Corvallis, Oregon. As I waved good-bye to my family I knew the upcoming summer internship at NuScale Power was going to be an adventure.

NuScale is a nuclear design company with a goal of designing and licensing a new generation of nuclear power plants. The design is a small modular reactor similar to a conventional pressurized water reactor. The design differs from conventional designs because the plant will be scalable in power output, employs passive cooling, and removes many safety hazards. My role was in the primary systems group which is responsible for design and analysis of the reactor module support systems.

I was immediately welcomed by the NuScale team, and I quickly undertook real problems with direct implications toward the final license and design of the plant. I enjoyed the ability to employ knowledge I gained through my education to solve important tasks and actively contribute to a technologically advanced design. In addition to enjoying my job, the environment at NuScale made it exciting to work every day. The NuScale team was very supportive and enthusiastic about the job at hand and everyone was working hard to complete the design in a safe but timely manner.

Due to my unique position with one semester remaining to graduate and being a participant in Track & Field at Bradley, I was able to extend my internship for a second term through December 2014. Since I had greatly enjoyed my summer work, I appreciated the opportunity to continue through the fall and then return to Bradley for the spring semester to finish my collegiate running career and obtain my degree.

On top of thoroughly enjoying my internship at NuScale, I greatly enjoyed exploring the outdoors of the Pacific Northwest. I have lived in the Midwest my entire life so my long drive through the mountains to the countryside of Oregon was eye opening. I found nature to be stunningly beautiful, and spent every possible moment exploring the outdoors. My love for the outdoors and my aptitude for engineering created an avid interest in alternative energy sources. I am interested in discovering new means of providing innovative clean energy to the growing global population while protecting our diminishing natural resources. Working for NuScale helped confirm my interest to contribute toward low carbon emission solutions.

Overall, the internship with NuScale was one of the greatest experiences of my life. I was able to learn a great deal about the engineering design process while working on subject matter I enjoy. I witnessed true passion for engineering by interfacing with members of NuScale who truly believe in the design and are risking their futures to make the design a reality. Finally, I greatly enjoyed exploring the outdoors in the Pacific Northwest and can see myself living somewhere near the mountains where the beauty of nature is abundant.

Stephanie Robbons Name:
Stephanie Robbons
Slane College of Communications & Fine Arts
Television Arts
In the fall of 2014, I had the opportunity to work at WEEK-TV HOI 19. I was craving a chance to put the skills I learned throughout my education in Television Arts to good use in the real world, and my work at one of the highest ranked television stations in the area really gave me reason to be proud of myself.

My job as an Associate Producer was to assist in every part of the final newscast. Every day, between WEEK News 25 and HOI 19, 17 half-hour broadcasts are produced and aired. The wide variety of my role included researching and writing news stories, editing on-air videos, and running the teleprompter and ensuring each show stayed on schedule. Additionally, I went into the community to film and write stories of my own.

I am so grateful to have experience directly related to my degree. Through connecting with an array of people, including politicians, activists, and the viewers, I have immense pride knowing I helped inform the community and bind it together with powerful stories. I have created an immeasurable list of contacts and an expanding network by becoming a part of the community. When people came to me with stories they wanted to share, it was an incredible feeling knowing I helped make their stories known and published them on broadcast television.

Overall, the benefits I gained from working at WEEK-TV HOI 19 are priceless and will assist me as I bring the skill sets I gained to cities across the country as I grow and expand my career.

Shannon Vance Name:
Shannon Vance
College of Liberal Arts & Sciences
International Studies
American Red Cross
As an International Studies major, several potential career paths await me after I graduate: Foreign Service, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO), or the Federal Government. The summer following my junior year, I was able to find a bright light in a sea of options. For me, the American Red Cross has always been a dream of mine and I was fortunate enough to spend a summer working for the Central Illinois Chapter's International Services Department.

As part of a two-person team, I quickly became an integral member of the department. My supervisor allowed me incredible amounts of responsibility and I became much more than your average paper-pushing, coffee-fetching intern. I had my hands in three very different large-scale programs: Restoring Family Links, Service to the Armed Forces, and International Humanitarian Law. Each program brings a different element of international affairs to the City of Peoria.

The program, which found its way into my heart very quickly, was Restoring Family Links. This program reunites families separated by war or other international conflicts. In order to ensure staff and volunteers were trained to handle future cases, I was tasked with creating an internal training program. Within a few weeks, I had created a packet of materials that were to be used for training. I also facilitated a training program in which we called five different chapter offices in our region and tested their knowledge on the program and protocols before and after they received the training materials.

Aside from the training program, I was also able to work closely with the International Humanitarian Law Action Campaign on Bradley's campus and provide assistance to Service Members and their families in times of need.

The biggest surprise of the summer came when I heard associates from National Headquarters asked for the training materials I created. Very quickly, this internship became the start of my professional career and the start of the rest of my life.

Sarah Welsh Name:
Sarah Welsh
Foster College of Business
Business Management & Administration - Human Resource Management
OSF HealthCare
As a Human Resource intern at OSF St. Francis Medical Center for the past year, I gained practical experience and an insightful understanding of human resource management at a prominent network of hospitals. Responsible for employee benefits, I processed qualifying life events, status changes, education reimbursement, and Family Medical Leave Absences.

I developed interpersonal and organizational skills as the result of my experiences at OSF. As a member of the Employee Benefits Team, I recognized the critical role relationships have in the success of OSF and all organizations. As a team, we accomplished numerous goals; executives defined specific goals while our team agreed upon additional objectives. My team depended upon me for various roles including the timely and accurate creation of a comprehensive benefit census report. This task was specifically defined by my direct supervisor with a timeline and checkpoints, which were coordinated with the needs of other team members on the project. My personal organizational skills regarding the research related to the report was an essential factor in its success.

My internship continued to provide me with experiences I was immediately able to align with courses at Bradley University. In addition, this position afforded me a first-hand glimpse into the unique world of business management, which is my ultimate objective. I can now envision my career in the arena of Human Resources as the result of the ongoing, invaluable practical applications of business concepts and philosophies provided by this internship.

I believe the significant volume of high quality work I produced best demonstrates my personal growth. OSF confirmed my value when they awarded me with HR Service MVP for the month of June and was asked to become a part-time employee. I am confident these experiences will make me a more well-rounded and knowledgeable professional.