Internship Presentations And Awards Celebrate Experiential Learning At Lexington
As crazy as it is to return to school in September and have a major project and presentation due only two weeks later, student internship presentation day is an exciting time at Lexington College. Internship II students, having completed a twelve week internship, gave power point presentations and Internship I students, after their six week internships, gave verbal presentations before their display boards. This is their moment to display the hard work and effort put out in real job experiences. As Vice-President Kelly O’Leary told them, “By immersing yourself in real work you have uncovered the inner logic of a job and become capable of understanding it with greater depth. In internships you have observed how businesses work, how different people work and how YOU work!”
Students’ grade for the 3-credit course is earned not only by working, but by creating a presentation board and handing in a complete report, including job analysis, employer evaluations, job descriptions and company profiles. “It’s a lot more work than I thought it would be,” said Sandra Pogoda (Class of 2014, from Chicago), “my binder had over 40 pages in it, and that was just for Internship I!” Sandra won Honorable Mention for her presentation on her work in the Banquet department at the Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center.
“The internship competition winners are determined by a mystery judge,” explained Academic Dean, Dr. Jolene Birmingham, “the purpose of the competition is to help the students enjoy the presentation experience. The students who present stimulate their classmates to overcome their insecurities. Internship presentation day is meant to help everyone gain confidence and enjoy being recognized.” This year we had a tie for first place between Kaitlyn Wales (Class of 2014 from Chicago, IL), who worked at NoMi in the downtown Hyatt and Melissa Mora-Lathus (Class of 2013 from Monee, IL), who opened and managed a Noodles & Co. franchise.
Melissa had everyone laughing when she mentioned that she worked on an all-women staff. “At first I was excited about the potential for ‘girl-power,’ but after a while there were a lot of tears and people locking themselves into the walk-in.”
Second place went to Sarah Zacek (Class of 2016 from Illinois), who worked as an event planner for a floral design shop called Bōkay Flowers. Sarah’s duties included not only floral design, but delivery and decoration for a variety of weddings, parties and celebrations. By the end of the summer, she was handling private parties on her own.
Third place went to Hillary Marquez, who worked at The Flower Flat, a unique Café in Chicago, with a floral retail component. A highlight of her summer was a prix fixe dinner she designed, priced, cooked and served herself.
Vice President O’Leary summed up the experience encouraging the students, “You are here because you have made a valuable and meaningful contribution to society. By applying your talents and Lexington education in the work world, without even realizing it you have enriched the fabric of our culture and given our world the gift of your effort and your service.”