Monday, July 27, 2009
Local communities offer students first-rate internships
Connecting with the business community – across the globe or across the street – opens the door to valuable experiences for SBA students. In fact, the SBA’s – and OU’s -- strong partnership with neighbors Rochester and Rochester Hills is bringing SBA students real-world experience through a variety of internships.
In Rochester Hills, OU President Gary Russi is co-chair of the Mayor's Business Council, a group of government, business and academic leaders focused on economic development, and Mohan Tanniru, dean, OU’s School of Business Administration, is a part of the Entrepreneurship and Innovation subcommittee. Through this collaboration, the SBA’s Center for Integrated Business Research and Education (CIBRE) is offering business expertise -- and interns -- to the city.
Across the border, the City of Rochester and Oakland University signed a partnership agreement in 2003 to bring Rochester businesses and Oakland students together through internships and career-related employment.
The partnerships are translating to opportunities for two student interns who are currently working in the city offices of Rochester and Rochester Hills, tackling new media and human resources projects.
Carlena Janiak (SBA ’09) has worked with the City of Rochester Hills for nearly a year in the Planning and Development Department. She’s creating a database of all business resources available to local entrepreneurs, as well as developing a social network of local entrepreneurs through Linked In and Twitter.
“Internships are a valuable supplement to the education I received at Oakland University,” says Janiak. “The classroom is a great place to learn skills and an internship is a great place to practice those skills.”
She plans to apply to graduate school to pursue a Ph.D. in Economics with a focus on environmental economics.
Clarinda Harrison, economic development assistant in Rochester Hills, appreciates the fresh perspective Janiak brings to the workplace. "In the city office, we might be detached from the new way of doing things, but interns are still attuned to academics. Carlena has brought great ideas to Rochester Hills."
In the City of Rochester, Natalia Pulawska, human resources major, is assisting with city administration, helping manage city records, processing employee leave forms and updating personnel files. She also is learning to administer the city’s payroll and working on projects such as putting together employee handbooks and creating custom employee calendars.
“Natalia is enthusiastic, knowledgeable, helpful and professional,” says Holly Meyers, who manages human resources for the city. “She is a great asset to the city and pretty much exactly what we were looking for.”
Through the SBA’s CIBRE, internships link local businesses and students throughout Metro Detroit. The internships provide students the opportunity to expand their learning outside the classroom, gain marketable skills and determine a career direction before graduation.
“Internships enable our students to test drive their career choices and sample their interests in a real work setting to gain confidence,” says Donna Kellstrom, business manager and director of corporate relations, for OU’s SBA. "Our location in Rochester serves as a catalyst for the business community and provides convenient access to expert and student resources."
By Dawn Pauli