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Northwest Missouri State University

News Release

Northwest student Melissa Ruggiero, who won this summer's Career Services internship photo contest, says her summer internship at the University of Kansas Medical Center has opened her eyes to new opportunities and careers involving research.

Northwest student Melissa Ruggiero, who won this summer's Career Services internship photo contest, says her summer internship at the University of Kansas Medical Center has opened her eyes to new opportunities and careers involving research. (Submitted photos)

Sept. 18, 2014

Students gain real-world experience with summer internships

By Jennifer Kirk and Alexandra Mortallaro, media relations assistants

From working for city, county or state government entities to museums and recreational areas, Northwest Missouri State University students took their skills and experiences from the classrooms to the real world this summer and built their resumes through internships.

Northwest students worked internships with the Federal Reserve Bank, Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo, Sports Radio 810 WHB in Kansas City, Mo., and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, just to name a few.

By the end of the summer, more than 30 students entered photos of their adventures in Career Services’ Annual Internship Photo Contest, which is open to all students participating in internships, practicums, field experiences or directed teaching experiences.

Judges chose Melissa Ruggiero, a junior chemistry major from Lee’s Summit, Mo., as this year’s photo contest winner. Ruggiero completed a summer internship at the University of Kansas Medical Center. She conducted research, analyzed data and presented her findings to the University’s pharmacology department at the conclusion of the program.

Her research was used for a grant proposal by a graduate student who is working in the same lab. Ruggiero believes the hands-on experiences she obtained will reap benefits for her and lead to a more fulfilling career.

“If you would have asked me in May if I could see myself doing research for the rest of my life or going to graduate school, I would have most definitely told you no, but this opportunity has completely changed my career path,” Ruggiero said.

Many Northwest students share similar experiences after completing their summer internships. To view more of the photos submitted to Career Services by students in summer internships, click here.


Taylor Barton: Gov. Jay Nixon’s office

Taylor BartonTaylor Barton, a senior political science major from Jefferson City, Mo., had the opportunity to intern in the office of Gov. Jay Nixon. Barton answered phones for the governor, made call-backs, provided detailed write-ups to staff and interacted with colleagues in the governor’s office.

Barton believes the opportunity could play a significant role in her future career.

“I definitely think that having an internship opportunity of this magnitude will not only look good on a resume but also potentially help me obtain interviews,” Barton said.

“It also helped me gain a better understanding of how the state government works and what goes on in the inside.”

Barton is a student who understands the importance of all Northwest has to offer. Not only did her classes prepare her for her internship, but her participation in mock interview days and using the assistance of her advisors helped as well.


Danielle Thomsen: Paragon International

Danielle ThomsenDanielle Thomsen, a sophomore industrial engineering major from Nevada, Iowa, spent her summer working for an international machine and concession equipment company that sells products in 43 countries. The time management skills Thomsen gained at Northwest were put to use at Paragon International.

First, Thomsen worked on the assembly line so she could see where changes were needed to make the process easier for employees. She gained experience assembling snow cone and popcorn machines and made an impact on some of the company’s decision-making processes. 

“My favorite part was reassembling the assembly line,” Thomsen said. “They put it completely up to me so I could do whatever I thought was best for the line.”

Thomsen’s internship made her confident in her choice of major, which is one of the many reasons why internships are important.

“Look into a bunch of different options,” Thomsen said. “You can have awesome experiences in the least expected places.”


Grace Horvath: MasterCard International

Grace HorvathGrace Horvath, a senior computer science major from O’Fallon, Mo., (pictured at right in photo) interned as a software developer for MasterCard International in the MasterPass department where she spent most of her time coding. Horvath was exposed to an area of technology development to which she was new, and she gained a better insight of computer systems as a whole. Her internship helped clarify the area of development she wants to go into when she graduates in December.

MasterCard has been in the payment industry for decades, but the future of the company is to remove plastic cards and have them stored in an electronic wallet, Horvath said.

Horvath scored her internship with the use of many Northwest campus resources and befriended people from Lithuania, Canada, California, Alabama, Michigan and New York among other regions.

“It seemed like at least half of the states were represented and several other countries,” Horvath said. “It’s truly amazing to say I have friends all over the world.”

The faculty and stuff in every department at Northwest are helpful, Horvath said, and she found that to be especially true of the computer science department when she was preparing for an internship.

“The computer science department is absolutely amazing about staying connected to the industry and teaching what the industry is looking for in students,” Horvath said. “The department also places a strong emphasis on professionalism that was attributed to my success at MasterCard.”


Hailey Hill: Wide Awake Films

Hailey HillHailey Hill, a senior broadcast production major from Shawnee Mission, Kan., took advantage of an opportunity to intern for Wide Awake Films in Kansas City, Mo., during the summer. The media group focuses on historical, commercial and corporate video and film productions.

“It gave me a lot more hands-on experience,” Hill said. “In class you just focus on how to make a good video. There, you really have to interact with the client. It’s not all about what you want.”

One project Hill worked on was a historical Civil War shoot. Hill helped the production assistant and director in overseeing the production. Although she was familiar with many of the production techniques, Hill became more skilled with the business side and outreach to clients.

After graduation, Hill hopes to work in video production. Hill’s internship with Wide Awake Films enabled her to make connections and network to help her land that future job.


Mackenzie Hoyle: Kansas City Power and Light District

Mackenzie HoyleMackenzie Hoyle, a senior public relations major from Plattsburg, Mo., worked with the Kansas City Power and Light District in downtown Kansas City, Mo. As an intern, she helped coordinate summer series such as Family Fun Days, World Cup watch parties and free summer concerts.

“It helped shape me into a better public relations professional,” Hoyle said. “I can now organize and promote events at a high-scale venue.”

Hoyle’s favorite part of the summer internship included helping the Kansas City Power and Light District host the World Cup watch parties. The series hosted more than 10,000 people in Power and Light’s nine-block entertainment area. Hoyle helped organize the watch parties and worked with social media to maintain a live feed.

Hoyle plans to continue her path in event planning after graduation. She hopes to work with a venue that hosts concerts and other events similar to the Kansas City Power and Light District.


Nathan MattNathan Matt: Nebraska Machinery Company

Nathan Matt, a junior graphic design major from Omaha, Neb., landed a summer internship with the Nebraska Machinery Company in Omaha. The company is a CAT dealer for all of Nebraska and sells varied types of machinery, such as wheel-loaders and forklifts. Matt’s responsibility for the summer included designing for different projects like creating mailing pieces and organizing promotional items.

“One of the best parts that I am taking away from my experience this summer was learning about working in a professional environment,” Matt said, adding he learned how to act and present himself in a highly professional job setting.

Matt chose the internship because he wanted to build his outside experience in the graphic design field.

“To students looking for internships,” Matt said, “I would say to always be challenging yourself and go outside your comfort zone.”

For more information, please contact:

Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900

Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468