Internships: Students applying classroom skills to the real world

Three of our graduate assistants share their recent internship experiences.

BensonBy Melissa Benson, Second-year MPA Student and Graduate Assistant

Internship: Health Information Management Department, University of Michigan Health System

Pursuing an MPA degree, as well as a graduate certificate in Management of Public Healthcare Services, was a perfect fit with a summer internship with the Health Information Management (HIM) Department at the University of Michigan Health System. I worked on defining the Legal Health Record policy, which specifies which healthcare records will be released for legal purposes. One of the most valuable skills I learned was how policy is formulated from the ground up. The skills I learned were predicated upon understanding how federal and state legislation and governing bodies regulate healthcare practices. My internship experience in the HIM department complemented my MPA coursework. The foundational knowledge I developed in our personnel and strategic management classes was extremely helpful. The strategic management course provides students with the opportunity to learn how to identify issues, organize a strategy for resolution, and seek long-term solutions.

PrestonBy Christopher Preston, Second-year MPA Student and Graduate Assistant

Internship: Michigan Department of Transportation – Office of Business Development

At the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) – Office of Business Development (OBD), I was given the opportunity to be a student assistant.  The OBD certifies Disadvantage Business Enterprises (DBE), owned by female and minority entrepreneurs.  In addition, OBD conducts Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) compliance reviews for contractors receiving federal funds.  During my tenure with OBD, I was able to gain practical work experience in both of these areas by conducting field interviews, DBE certifications, and EEO compliance reviews.  Seeking an internship that provides practical work experience in your future field is critical.  My success in finding internships has rested on my ability to seek out opportunities not conveniently advertised through Eastern Michigan University.  Attending professional development seminars and searching field-specific job boards will set you apart.  My experience in OBD has led to an interview for an analyst position in the very office I interned at.  Interning should be viewed as an extension of your education and the start of your professional career.

TimmreckAlexa Timmreck, First-year MPA Student and Graduate Assistant

Internship: Citizens Research Council of Michigan

I was fortunate enough this fall to spend time interning with the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, a nonpartisan, nonprofit, public policy research organization. My tasks included completing research and producing policy memos related to issues involving state and local government within Michigan. The opportunity to apply the policy analysis skills and writing skills that I’ve learned in classes to important issues that directly affect me was academically and professionally invaluable. Coming in to work every day meant getting the chance to learn something new. As a traditional student with limited work experience, completing internships has been an integral part of my education at EMU.

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