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Employer Feature: Dunes Learning Center


Northwest Indiana is brimming with opportunity for young professionals. One organization that truly exhibits internship excellence is Dunes Learning Center. Located in Chesterton, the organization offers internships as camp counselor and interpretive naturalist. We spoke with the Education Director, Erin Crofton, about their program.


Indiana INTERNnet: What exactly is the Dunes Learning Center and what role do you play in the organization?

Erin Crofton: Dunes Learning Center is a national model for place-based residential environmental education. Operating in partnership with the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, Dunes Learning Center educators provide year-round curriculum and standards-based learning experiences in nature. Our trained education staff and 63-acre campus located inside Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore are truly unique and valuable resources.

As the Education Director, I lead education staff and programs. This includes program development, implementation, education staff recruitment, training, supervision and evaluation.

IIN: Why is the Dunes Learning Center …

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Carolyn Duong: Making an IMPACT

Indiana INTERNnet celebrated internship excellence on Feb. 5, 2014, at the 8th Annual IMPACT Awards luncheon. Though the event is over and the winners have been announced, we are continuing to celebrate the nominees’ successes.

Carolyn Duong’s dream is to be a dentist.

And she credits internships with helping her discover that dream.

Carolyn completed two internships with Steven Hollar, DDS and David VanWormer, DDS while studying at Grace College in Winona Lake, IN. While at both offices, she was able to practice proper bedside manner, engage in conversation with the patients and learn more about various oral conditions and treatments.

“I saw how each dentist truly cared for his patients and was able to use his education, knowledge and training to help his patients be free of pain and oral disease,” Carolyn recalls. “I wanted the same for my own career.”

Drs. Hollar and VanWormer both commended her …

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Goodwill intern puts classroom knowledge to work

Victoria is a junior studying journalism and public relations at Indiana University. She is a member of Alpha Chi Omega sorority and is also the director of the Canvas Creative Arts committee on IU’s Union Board. In her free time, Victoria enjoys running and writing.

Last year, I worked as a student ambassador for Goodwill Industries of Central Indiana. As a student ambassador, I worked on marketing Goodwill to students at Indiana University and members of the Bloomington community. My work consisted of hosting events, utilizing social media and a lot of crafting.

Goodwill Industries of Central Indiana focuses largely on giving back to the community. They do this through donations at their stores as well as working to educate people at the Indianapolis Metropolitan High School and The Excel Center, a tuition-free charter school for adults.

At Indiana University, my educational focus is journalism and public relations. This student …

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8th Annual IMPACT Winners, Part I

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 first three stories; we will post the other three in an upcoming blog.

Pam Plain Intern of the Year (College/University)

Pam Plain led an international public health initiative as a summer intern with Komen Tissue Bank (KTB) at the IU Simon Cancer Center in Indianapolis.

KTB began to collect breast tissue from women all over the world, and started in Kenya, Africa, where the prevalence of a particularly aggressive type of breast cancer is common.  Plain made arrangements for facilities and transportation of medical and surgical supplies and volunteer materials from the United States to Kenya.

“This involved tens of thousands of dollars, superb communication skills and organizational skills, and an understanding …

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Internship Experience at Native American Museum Confirms Career Interests

Heather is a senior humanities major in the honors program with minors in French and history at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College. She a member of Sigma Tau Delta International English Honor Society and holds the position of editor-in-chief of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods’ literary arts magazine publication, Aurora. In her free time, she volunteers with the White Violet Center for Eco-Justice, a ministry of the Sisters of Providence.

This fall semester I interned at the Native American Museum at Dobbs Park in Terre Haute, IN. The museum is run by the Terre Haute Parks Department because it resides on park property. Nestled in the woods, the Native American Museum serves the Terre Haute area through community education on the culture and history of the native peoples of North America, particularly on the peoples of the Woodlands and the Great Lakes regions.

The primary goal for the Native American Museum …

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IMPACT Awards – Have you nominated?

Do you work alongside a career services colleague who goes above and beyond for students? Do you advise a student who shined during an internship this year? Do you collaborate with an employer who manages a stellar internship program?

Indiana INTERNnet is saluting achievements in internships and mentoring. Check out this post celebrating last year’s winners.

The IMPACT Awards Luncheon, sponsored by Ivy Tech Community College, is not until February; however, the deadline for nominations is quickly approaching. We need your help so we can recognize those who are making a difference in the internship community. We are accepting nominations until Oct. 22 for Indiana employers, interns and career development professionals. You can visit the IMPACT Awards web page by clicking here.

Individuals are invited to submit more than one nomination in any or all of the award categories:

Outstanding Intern (high school, college and non-student): contribution to employer’s business; …

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Ending on a Sweet Note

This is a guest blog by Armenda Boyer, a sophomore at Purdue University. She is currently working toward a dual major in Agricultural Communication and Agricultural Economics. This past summer, she was an education intern for the Indiana State Fair Commission.

I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I accepted an offer to work as an education intern at the Indiana State Fair. Of course, I expected to have the opportunity to work with children and to share my love of all-things agriculture. And I was able to do just that! What I didn’t expect to do involved 6,500 pounds of caramel corn and a national television show…

The World’s Largest Popcorn Ball tipped the scales at 6,510 pounds. Check out my last post to see how this massive sphere of popcorn and sugar came together to break a world record! The popcorn ball …

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A Record-Breaking Internship: Making the World’s Largest Popcorn Ball

This is a guest blog by Armenda Boyer, a sophomore at Purdue University. She is currently working toward a dual major in Agricultural Communication and Agricultural Economics. This past summer, she was an education intern for the Indiana State Fair Commission.

I spent last summer working as an education intern at the Indiana State Fair. Along with the everyday, agricultural education outreach, my internship provided me numerous unique opportunities. And I mean truly unique!

Each year the State Fair highlights an agricultural commodity produced in Indiana.  If you visited the fairgrounds August 2-18 you probably recognized the 2013 theme:  Year of Popcorn. This field crop was apparent at each turn of the fairgrounds—from the child-friendly popcorn maze to the red and white striped, popcorn container-inspired gift shop on Main Street. The focal point of the popcorn theme was certainly the World’s Largest Popcorn Ball—a 3-ton caramel corn …

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Three Internships Prep For Big-Girl Job

This is a post by Ball State University graduate Kelsey McPheeters. After graduating with a Bachelors of Science in public relations from Ball State University in May 2013, Kelsey McPheeters joined LMV Consulting as the marketing and communications intern. Not only does she maintain client websites and update social media, but also develops newsletters, among other various tasks.

As graduation was approaching, I began my job search hoping to land an account executive position with a public relations agency in Indianapolis. Early in my search, it became apparent to me that the positions I wanted to apply for required agency experience, or post-graduation experience.

Although I had two non-agency internships (Special Events at Indiana State Fair and Marketing/PR at IU Health Ball Memorial) under my belt, I decided to turn to Indiana INTERNnet to look for a third. After all, the third time’s a charm, right?

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Wabash College Students Intern with Innovative IT Firm

This is a press release from Sara Palmer, senior technical writer at Leonard-McDowell.

Leonard-McDowell, an Indianapolis-based IT and business development firm, welcomes two bright new interns from Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Ind.

“Hiring interns injects fresh ideas not only into our company, but also into our clients’ companies,” said Frank Leonard, managing partner of Leonard-McDowell and 1986 graduate of Wabash College. “We give them the professional experiences they need to have their resumes stand out and they give us a different perspective on business, technology and culture.”

Tyler Owensby, a junior majoring in economics, brings a strong work ethic and a forward-thinking approach to his position as a business development and sales intern. His strengths pull from his natural ability to analyze, minimize and eliminate risk.

“I enjoy evaluating business practices and indicating the areas that can be made more effective to reduce risk,” Owensby said. “No matter what industry …

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The Life and Times of an Internet Marketing Intern

The Life and Times of an Internet Marketing Intern is a guest blog post by Rachel Brown, the Content Marketing Intern at digitalrelevance. In this position, she produces valuable advanced content and contributes to the company blog. Brown expects to graduate from Butler University in 2015 with degrees in English Literature and French. This is her reflection on her rewarding internship experience with digitalrelevance.

An English literature and French major at a liberal arts university. Does that sound like someone who would throw herself into the world of Internet marketing? I thought that girl would be out of place and struggle to find her way in.

My time at Slingshot SEO and digitalrelevance proved to be quite the opposite. Right from the start, I had confidence instilled in me from my supervisors, and I was put right to work. As an intern in the editorial department, my fellow Search …

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A Virtually Equine Semester

“A Virtually Equine Semester” is a guest blog post by Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College student, Stephanie Dolan, about her experience at a virtual internship.

A horse lover from birth, I was thrilled to see the posting last winter for a virtual internship with the Indiana Horse Council. I’m an Indianapolis resident, but I was not quite sure how I would have managed a full-time job with an in-house internship. The fact that this internship was virtual made this experience a dream job for me, and I am so grateful to my site supervisor, Mary Marshall (the Secretary of the IHC Board of Directors) for choosing me as her first-ever intern.

The mission of the Indiana Horse Council is as a non-profit corporation dedicated to the well-being of the horse industry. The Indiana Horse Council protects, promotes and preserves the interests and activities within the Indiana equine industry in the areas …

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What Inspires Me: My Mother’s Immeasurable Impact

Mother’s Day should be celebrated, not just one day out of the year, but every day. The most influential heroes are rarely the ones quoted in speeches or on Pinterest, but rather the silent ones that give their all and ask for nothing in return. For me, that unsung hero whose influence permeates every facet of my life is my mother.

I wish I could count the hours she stayed up at night worrying over me, but she does not keep a log of them. I wish I could point you to a display of all of her gold medals, but they do not give those out for best mom. I wish I could add up how much money she has spent raising me, but she is not one to keep receipts. I wish I could begin to understand how she passed on that last piece of pie because …

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Unexpected Internship Realities, Part I

This is Part I of a three-part series discussing unexpected situations that could arise during your internship and how to persevere and handle them professionally.

You know the two sure things in life are death and taxes, but might I add a third? You won’t get along with everyone you meet.

What if one of the people you clash with in your life happens to be your internship supervisor?

Whether you’ve got a boss who’s a micromanager, an intimidator, a downer or a person generally difficult to work with, here are a few things to remember when you feel your patience waning.

1. Always show respect

No one says you have to like your boss, but you do have to show him or her respect. Do the work they assign to the best of your ability and do it their way. If you have a disagreement, address your boss …

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Mind The Employment Gap

From “what are you going to do when you grow up” to “what are you going to do after graduation” to even “what’s next for you,” life seems to be one never ending string of career questions. These questions assume that one is continually equipping one’s self with the tools needed to proceed onto the next career milestone. Up until my graduation from college in May 2011, I thought I was ready to take on “the real world” – to do whatever I was going to do when I grew up. However, like many of my generation, I faced a reality that I was not expecting: the student employment gap.

A labor shortage is a stark realization as the Baby Boomer workforce retires, heating up the competition for emerging talent. However, a striking contrast exists bewteen what employers require and what college students bring to the table. As reported …

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