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News Feature

Oct. 10, 2023

Students gain professional experience through summer internships

By Georgia McGonigle, communication assistant

Students at Northwest Missouri State University completed a wide range of summer internships – from artificial cattle breeding to summer camp photography – and learned new skills they can apply to their career preparation.

Internships help students develop professional skills and exercise what they’ve learned in their studies. Career Services at Northwest recommends that students gain hands-on experience outside the classroom and assists students with every step of the internship process, including searches and résumé reviews.

“Learning by doing is a different way of learning than just learning by reading or learning by writing,” Hannah Christian, the director of Career Services, said. “So, it gives students an opportunity to do something in a different way that they may not know that they like or dislike.”

A sampling of Northwest students’ recent summer internship experiences appears below.

Corben McClintock

Corben McClintock at Turner Construction.

Corben McClintock at Turner Construction.

Corben McClintock, a senior computer science major from Kansas City, Missouri, worked as an information services intern with Turner Construction.

McClintock, who worked on the construction site of a data center, was tasked with troubleshooting technology, setting up audio-visual equipment, downloading software and patching wires. He assisted anybody on the site who was facing technical issues and helped ensure that programs were functioning properly.

“Problem-solving and being an analytical thinker was really something I gained from it – just because, on a construction site, you never really knew what was going to happen,” McClintock said.

He believes the internship experience taught him things about the professional world that his coursework could not.

“The classes do help out a lot, especially computer science,” McClintock said. “They do a great job of showing you what is going to be expected of you, but there’s really no other way of learning than to get up on your feet and move quick.”

Jackson Routh

Jackson Routh interned with Select Sires.

Jackson Routh interned with Select Sires.

Jackson Routh, a senior animal science major from Gladstone, Missouri, interned with Select Sires, a global company that specializes in bovine genetics and reproduction services with cooperatives throughout the nation.

Routh traveled to cities in Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri to help deliver breeding supplies and equipment to customers. At other times, he helped breed cattle.

During the course of the summer, Routh developed a better understanding of cattle breeding and wants to implement his skills in both his professional and personal environment.

“I really, really like the cattle industry itself, and I think I found my niche in the breeding and genetics industry,” Routh said. “I would really like to do something of this orientation after school, and even if I don’t get a job specifically, I will incorporate it into my own herd.”

Routh believes internship experience is valuable, and it allows students to explore their interests before they graduate college.

“If you want to feel more prepared to step outside of school after you graduate, do an internship,” Routh said. “If you really love something, chase it. Don’t let it go away just because you’re in school.”

Emily Hansen

Emily Hansen was a photographer at Kanakuk K-2 Kamp in Lampe, Missouri.

Emily Hansen was a photographer at Kanakuk K-2 Kamp in Lampe, Missouri.

Emily Hansen, a senior from Maryville, majoring in communication with a public relations emphasis, interned as a photographer at Kanakuk K-2 Kamp in Lampe, Missouri.

Hansen, who also is a photographer for the Bearcat cheerleading team, spent eight weeks at the summer camp taking pictures of the campers during activities like football, wakeboarding, basketball and jet skiing. Her daily duties included photographing every camp activity and meeting upload deadlines so parents could view the photos online.

The internship exposed Hansen to new photography styles and pushed her out of her comfort zone. Hansen explored new creative directions by capturing action shots of campers dunking basketballs and captured pictures while navigating a jet ski.

“I took the camera bluff-jumping with me because parents really haven’t gotten to see kids bluff-jumping,” Hansen said. “I’d go up on the ropes course and get pictures of them doing the ropes. I was fearless this summer.”

Because of the experience, Hansen believes her camera abilities have improved.

“I’m so happy that I did it, because I don’t know where I would be, photography skill-wise, if I didn’t have that experience this summer,” Hansen said.

Katie Byrd

Katie Byrd interned with WDAF-TV in Kansas City, Missouri.

Katie Byrd interned with WDAF-TV in Kansas City, Missouri.

Katie Byrd, a Kearney, Missouri, junior studying mass media with an emphasis in multimedia journalism, interned with WDAF-TV in Kansas City, Missouri.

Byrd’s internship entailed shadowing reporters, writing news stories and developing on-air appearance skills.

She says the experience made a positive impact on achieving her professional goals and helped her realize the news industry is where she wants to be.

“I feel like this internship just really solidified that this is the career I want to go into,” Byrd said. “It was great getting to learn from the anchors and reporters. They had a lot of really good, not only career advice, but life advice. Every day, I left feeling so excited for what the next one would bring.”

Because she was exposed to many facets of the broadcast journalism profession, Byrd says her time at WDAF helped her develop multiple skills that will benefit her professionally.

“I became a much better writer and communicator in general,” Byrd said. “I feel like I learned how to write a concise and very informative news story.”

Byrd believes her courses at Northwest prepared her well for her internship.

“(Classes) gave me a lot of background knowledge with writing, video editing, camera operating,” Byrd said. “I feel like I applied what I learned but I also just learned so much more than I ever would have thought.”

Trent Jones

Trent Jones interned at Missouri Farm Bureau in Jefferson City, Missouri.

Trent Jones interned at Missouri Farm Bureau in Jefferson City, Missouri.

Trent Jones, a junior agricultural media and advertising major from Higginsville, Missouri, interned at Missouri Farm Bureau in Jefferson City, Missouri, an organization that advocates for farmers and agriculture.

Jones worked in the public affairs department, and his responsibilities included filming and editing video footage, photography, writing news releases and working on the organization’s quarterly magazine.

Given the creative freedom to write, edit and design his own work during the internship, one of Jones’ favorite pieces of work was a magazine feature story, titled “Four-Legged Lawnmowers.” It was about a herd of grazing goats belonging to a Missouri Farm Bureau family that visits farmland throughout Missouri and eats unwanted plants. Working on the feature story allowed him to practice and develop his media writing abilities while learning more about design and photography.

Jones believes internship experience can help a student’s professional development and introduce them to professionals who can benefit their career goals. 

“I feel like internships are one of the easiest and best ways to network and also learn career skills,” Jones said.

Elaina Houston

Elaina Houston, a senior theatre major from Lake Sherwood, Missouri, interned at the McLeod Summer Playhouse (MSP) at Southern Illinois University (SIU).

Houston spent the summer working with professional theatre technicians and exploring her passion in a different environment than Northwest. Houston deepened her skills and knowledge of specific techniques and equipment with other interns and MSP staff.

“I learned how to use the tools in a proper way and got to learn a lot about rigging, which is something that I didn’t know how to do beforehand,” Houston said.

In addition to hands-on learning in the tech theatre field, Houston took other valuable lessons from her time at MSP.

“I learned how to be a follower,” Houston said. “For most of my experience in theatre, I have been in some sort of leadership role, but at SIU, I was just a worker.”

Houston left her internship inspired and ready to begin a career in set design, and she believes all students with similar aspirations should have an experience like hers.

“This internship got me super excited to work with new people in this area,” Houston said. “I would highly recommend this for anyone who wants to do an internship or learn more about performing arts. I could go on and on about the good memories that I made there.”


Dr. Mark Hornickel
Administration Building
Room 215