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Indiana INTERNnet celebrated internship excellence on February 26, 2019 at the 13th Annual IMPACT Awards Luncheon. Though the event is over, and the winners have been announced, we are continuing to celebrate the nominees’ successes.




These are their stories.


My name is Jake Coker.  I am a junior at the University of Saint Francis in Fort Wayne, IN where I study Finance and am a member of the EPIC honors program at the Keith Busse School of Business.  I am also a member of the Cougar football team.  Before enrolling at USF, I went to high school in Tecumseh, MI where I grew up.


Indiana INTERNnet: You are a student at the University of Saint Francis in Finance, correct? What made you interested in pursuing that?


Jake Coker: Growing up, math was always one of my favorite subjects, so I knew that I wanted to work with numbers when I got to college.  Between accounting and finance, I liked finance more because there is no right answer, so you really have to do your research and be able to defend your answer.  To me, it’s almost like a game to see how right you can be.


IIN: Describe your internship experience with The Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership. What were your favorite aspects?


JC: My experience was awesome!  As cliché as this sounds, from day one I really felt more than “just an intern.”  My ideas and the work were being valued, and I could really tell that from my team members.  I really liked the culture and the mission of the company— seeing all that the region has to offer was really eye opening and made me appreciate northeast Indiana a lot.


IIN: What was the most challenging project you were assigned?


JC: I was assigned a career pathways project that was challenging because when it was assigned to me, my boss didn’t have a specific end goal in mind.  That open-endedness made the whole project tricky because we had to get on the same page on what exactly we wanted the outcome to be.  This goes back to why I liked working there so much, though, because my ideas were valued in this project.


IIN: How many internships have you completed? Could you describe the benefits you’ve gained from these experiences?


JC: Working with the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership was my first internship, but I am currently in my second internship with Whittle Strategic Accounting in Fort Wayne.  I have learned how to be a professional and what it takes to succeed from both my managers that I have had in each internship.


IIN: Was this your first internship? Why did you choose to complete an internship?


JC: This was my first internship.  I wanted to complete an internship really because I knew it would help me learn and development that much more beyond the classroom so that I am more marketable when I am looking for a job after graduation.


IIN: What are your future plans and career goals?


JC: I want to become a financial analyst upon graduation in the spring of 2020.  Beyond that, I want to make a difference in the community in which I work in and be an invaluable asset to the company I work for.


IIN: Why are internships important?


JC: Internships are so important to help you figure out your career goals and set your expectations for what you want your job to be like after graduation.

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