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We recognized six individuals and organizations that dedicated their energy and expertise to successful internships in 2013 during the 8th Annual IMPACT Awards luncheon, sponsored by Ivy Tech Community College. These are the second in a two-part series on winners.

David McKinnis presents Claudine Meilink with the 2013 Impact Award.

Claudine Meilink

Career Development Professional of the Year

Since 2006, Claudine Meilink has played a key role in facilitating student-employer connections at Purdue University. She wears many hats within the Center for Career Opportunities (CCO), including career counselor, employer coordinator and data collector.

Meilink volunteers as a Faculty Fellow and has served on search committees for various departments on campus. She also serves as an at-large board member with the Career Development Professionals of Indiana and also held leadership positions with Midwest ACE (Association of Colleges and Employers), even chairing two of its conferences.

“Claudine is one of those people who makes working in career services at Purdue such a pleasure,” declares Christine Muir, systems administrator for NACElink Systems at Purdue. “Her dedication and enthusiasm for students and our programs keeps us developing new initiatives and programs for our student body. Her energy and constant drive is invigorating.”


Group Dekko

Employer of the Year (For-Profit)

Group Dekko offers one of the most innovative internship programs in the state. Group Dekko partnered with East Noble High School this year to launch “Project Explore” – an internship program designed to expose students to the manufacturing sector and provide them with industry contacts who will mentor them through school and beyond.

“Northeast Indiana is filled with advanced manufacturing organizations,” explains Justin Clupper, program manager for the Graduate Retention Program at Greater Fort Wayne Inc. “In addition to the issue of ‘brain drain,’ employers have also seen a growing gap in the middle-skill set. Group Dekko has looked ahead and understands that this gap is only going to grow if certain practices aren’t put in place today.”

The summer of 2013 began with on-boarding curriculum that included group activities and overviews of the company. A two-week rotational period followed, allowing students to experience five departments. After that, students selected two departments that interested them most, and they spent two weeks with each of those in a paid internship position.

As a culmination of their work, the students came together and used the skills they developed to create a product that was functional and could be sold to support a charity. The students designed and manufactured a tablet device stand that included a space for the charging cable. They organized a luncheon for family, friends, school administrators and community leaders to share what they learned from the experience and give people an opportunity to purchase their product, with proceeds going to Riley Children’s Hospital.


Indiana Senate

Employer of the Year (Not-for-Profit)

State government spends significant time discussing workforce development and building skills in the Hoosier labor market. The Indiana Senate practices what it preaches, offering a comprehensive internship program for students to put their education to meaningful work.

Internships fall into the following categories: legislative, legal, communications and information technology. Throughout the internships, the interns are supported with regular meetings with the program supervisor for questions and feedback.

The senate offers a well-rounded internship by providing networking opportunities, organizing keynote speakers within the areas of government, politics and community leadership and coordinating off-site trips.

“Not only does the Indiana Senate internship program allow interns to interact with legislators, but it opens up an extensive network of professional contacts,” says Mitchell Osterday, a 2013 legislative intern. “The immersive nature of this internship promotes interaction with these professionals and encourages interns to make meaningful connections with current and future leaders in Indiana.”

“The Senate is proud of its commitment to helping our interns find their next best opportunity, both within the Senate and within other prominent organizations,” asserts Jen Carlton, majority staff director.

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