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Redbirds explore opportunities with on-campus internships – News – Illinois State – Illinois State University News

Redbirds landed internships across the country and across the quad this summer.
Megan Patterson ‘22, Career Services internship connections coordinator at Illinois State University, connects students to internships and employers to students. She essentially works as a matchmaker—finding and preparing Redbirds for the perfect job. While some students travel thousands of miles away for their summer internship, others find the perfect fit right on campus.
“Find out what you’re passionate about, incorporate it into your internship, and don’t be afraid to do it. The only way you’re going to find out if you do or don’t like it is by trying it,” she said.
Patterson said internships are beneficial to a student’s academic and professional career.
“Internships teach you what you don’t know and can’t learn in the classroom through a textbook,” she said.
We interviewed students who held on-campus internships to find out what they learned, what they worked on, and how they’re following their passions at Illinois State, outside of the classroom.
Kaitlyn Taylor has always had a passion for sustainability. Her summer internship at the Office of Sustainability as a student sustainability manager helped Taylor elevate her knowledge and gain experience for green living.
Over the summer, Taylor worked on organizing, restructuring, and renovating the Share Shop, a free secondhand thrift store for students on campus, which opened in April 2022. The internship allowed Taylor to experience her two passions—sustainability and marketing.
“A big focus on my internship has been combining my organization skills with my business skills. I’m very business-minded and interested in sustainable packaging. Marketing was a way for me to get involved in the sustainability world from a business side,” she said.
Aside from prepping the Share Shop for the fall semester, Taylor also helped develop an employee handbook for the Share Shop so students are trained consistently in the future.
As an intern, Taylor enjoyed educating others about sustainability. She said giving presentations and hosting a table at the Preview Expo helped enhance her leadership and speaking skills.
“This internship allowed me to see what I want to do for my future career because it is a niche to find business sustainability work,” she said.
Taylor plans to return to the Office of Sustainability as a student intern in the fall and continue her work with director Elisabeth Reed. Upon graduation, she plans to work at Walt Disney World as an intern and later land a job in corporate social responsibility.
As a social media video intern at University Marketing and Communications (UMC), Micah Sewell’s workday is never the same. Sewell films and edits footage to help create content for Illinois State’s flagship social media accounts.
“Working (at UMC) has allowed me to work on building confidence in myself and in my work while building my skill set and learning new things I can use in the future,” he said. “There’s a lot of stuff I was able to create while working at UMC that I didn’t think I had the ability to do, and I’m happy how it turned out.”
Sewell was hired in spring 2022 and plans to continue his internship until he graduates in fall 2023. A transfer student from Columbia College Chicago, Sewell said he had little videography experience before working as a social media video intern, but he developed an interest in making short films at his former institution.
As a part of his internship, Sewell and a team of creatives at UMC in collaboration with campus partners strategize ways to promote events and traditions on campus, like filming a Day in the Life video for ISU Police’s Pawfficer Sage, developing a graphic-heavy Social Media Day video, and interviewing students.
Sewell said his internship with UMC is rewarding because it makes him think outside the box, and he has the opportunity to work with other creative people in the office.
When Sewell graduates, he plans to pursue a career similar to his role at UMC.
When Maggie Kline transferred from Heartland Community College in 2021, she had just switched her major from criminal justice to graphic design.
As a student sustainability manager and a graphic designer, Kline worked alongside student Kaitlyn Taylor in renovating the Share Shop to prepare for the fall semester. Over the summer, both Kline and Taylor pushed sustainability efforts across campus by delivering refillable aluminum Pathwater bottles, delivered the new sustainability strategic plan, and worked at Preview Expo to educate new Redbirds about the Office of Sustainability.
With a background in graphic design, Kline designed social media posts for Welcome Week to promote sustainable swaps and resources for students like Fix It Friday and the Share Shop.
Kline works alongside Director of Sustainability Elisabeth Reed to create promotional material for social media and marketing materials, such as posters.
“Because I had to do a lot of research for informative posters and sustainability is a fact-based department, it’s taught me about accountability in research and accountability as a designer. The things that we post and create need to be credible for our audience, so what we have in our designs is incredibly important,” Kline said.
She admits that before her internship, she didn’t know a lot about sustainability, but she said working with Reed and Taylor over the summer helped her realize her love for sustainability and making an impact. 
“This internship has taught me that I can be sustainable as a designer. I never thought this would be something I’d be worried about like printing on recycled paper, printing on T-shirts with 100 percent organic cotton—those decisions I can affect in a workplace are important. The information that my designs communicate has a really big impact on the readers,” she said. “I didn’t realize that before—the things I design and write about matter.”
Kline plans to continue her internship with the Office of Sustainability as well as an internship with Event Management, Dining, and Hospitality in the fall. After graduation, she hopes to move to Arizona and get a job involving her two passions—design and sustainability.
Shannon Thommes, a public services intern at Milner Library over the summer, experienced different aspects of the library, from examining the wear of donated books and considering them for a collection, organizing catalogs, and working on libguides.
Thommes was previously a student worker at Milner Library’s reference desk before transitioning to her 10-week internship. Her prior experience helped her learn about the different resources Milner Library has to offer.
During her internship, Thommes said she was proud of all the work she contributed while helping make library resources more accessible.
“I truly felt like I was a part of the library—the jobs that I’ve had, the people I interacted with, I didn’t feel like I was just an intern. I was doing important work,” Thommes said.
One of Thommes’ biggest tasks was a marketing project. “I created an official handout for our loanable technology collection, like what we have at the reference desk. It provides information as to what people have access to, how they can access it, and where they can go whether it’s online or in-person. I made a social media post to pair with that, and created a game to utilize during Welcome Week in the fall,” she said.
Before Thommes started her internship, she approached her history internship coordinator Dr. Alan Lessoff who helped created the library science internship position.
“That’s something I want to stress. Advocate for yourself and ask questions. The worst thing they can say to you is, ‘No,’” she said. “Put yourself out there and don’t expect anything to fall into your lap. Internship anxiety is real. Ask your professors and advisors for help and tell them what you’re looking for,” she said.
Thommes will graduate at the end of the fall semester and hopes to attend graduate school for library science.
Sarah Patterson is a data management intern at the Stevenson Center, contracted by McLean County’s Criminal Justice Coordinating Council (CJCC), a collaboration between criminal justice agencies.
As an intern, Patterson assists in analyzing data and conveying findings for the CJCC. Patterson has learned about data transfers, running and writing code, and processing data that’s digestible and readable to others.
“I’m shocked by the things I’m able to do now that I couldn’t do before. I was never a computer or numbers person. Just because you don’t like math or science, doesn’t mean you can’t take the interest you do have and translate that into something meaningful,” she said. “I’m passionate about community development, helping people, and making the criminal justice system better.”
One of the things Patterson is proud of and is currently collaborating with partners on is creating a separate court for emerging adults in Bloomington-Normal, which she said would help build a better court system for juveniles.
Patterson originally landed her internship during her junior year in April 2021. She has stayed on as a graduate assistant and will continue until she graduates in the spring. She plans to find a government job in forensic anthropology.
Students seeking internships are invited to attend the Fall Internship Fair September 21, hosted by Career Services in the Bone Student Center. Resume review and interview preparation is available in advance. Contact Internship Connections Coordinator Megan Patterson or follow Career Services on social media for more information.

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