Local Internships for Students Unleash Career Preparation Opportunities
by Lauren O’Grady
At Grace College, education goes beyond the classroom. We make college and career readiness a priority, and we work to provide our students with practical, real-world experiences as they prepare to enter the workforce. To accomplish this, we connect our students with internship opportunities in the surrounding community.
Dave and Joy Grout are two local business owners who support students by providing internships. As parents of a Grace graduate, the Grouts know first-hand how Grace values career preparation, and they love to play a role in that. The Grouts aim to prepare students by providing direct feedback and tangible learning in real-life work environments.
“We believe in creating a culture that enables future professionals to learn, grow, share their skills, and refine their future paths,” said Dave.
Dave runs Timberline Team, a consulting company that helps other businesses with branding, marketing, and business strategy. Joy runs Personalized Fitness For You, a business that offers personal training for women, both virtually and in person.
Five Grace students share their thoughts on interning with the Grouts and explain how it has prepared them for their future careers.
Reagan Boyle: Capitalizing on Career Preparation as a Designer
Reagan Boyle is a first-year student majoring in digital communication. When she began searching for work opportunities, she was looking for two things: a solid mentor and a position that would allow her to practice her graphic design skills. She found Dave through Handshake, a job search platform caterered to college students.
“Reagan has used her time with Timberline Team to grow like a vine,” said Dave. “Not only does she love to learn, but she is also passionate about applying what she discovers. She takes feedback from projects for clients and integrates it into what she is doing.”
As an intern, Boyle mainly does digital and print design work. She has experienced professional growth as part of a team, and she feels that the internship has served as a form of career preparation.
“I’m actively honing crucial skills in business operations like story-telling, problem-solving, honest communication, and collaboration,” said Boyle. “I’m constantly growing as a designer, business professional, and believer.”
After graduation, Boyle plans to pursue website design and content creation. She has a particular interest in supporting small businesses as they pursue growth within their communities and beyond.
Nicole Knoerr: Learning Best Practices
“Nicole came to us as an eager and capable student. Nicole is resourceful, a great communicator, and is willing to go the extra mile. Our job is to reinforce these skills and combine them with her classroom knowledge to move her faster to her future,” said Dave.
Knoerr’s chief responsibility as an intern is to learn best practices for selling and promoting products on Amazon. Her business classes have taught her the importance of serving clients, and her internship has given her the opportunity to put this into practice. Knoerr is most appreciative of the time her mentors have taken to “pour into” her, helping her better understand concepts and expectations and giving her book recommendations for her professional growth.
After graduation, Knoerr plans to get a license in either cosmetology or real estate. Her internship has contributed to her career preparation by giving her a foundational understanding of how to best serve clients.
“I’ve realized that if you are honest with your client and you care for their needs more than your own, it will reflect you, your company, and God in a positive way.”
Brayden Lane: Gaining Real-World Experience
Brayden Lane is a first-year student majoring in business administration. Lane’s internship experience has been overwhelmingly positive.
“I have been able to work on projects for actual companies and organizations where I can see my work come to fruition in real life. It’s an amazing feeling when you see the final product and know that you had a part in the creation process.”
In a matter of a few months, Lane has learned how to start a nonprofit, operate a variety of business-related software, and conduct himself in a business setting.
“Two words,” Dave said of Lane. “Hard worker! That is built within his DNA. Our team comes alongside him by providing insights on how to head in the right direction and by teaching him what questions to ask before a project is started. Show Brayden a direction, and watch it get done.”
Lane values the career preparation and real-world experience he has gained as an intern and feels confident about what’s to come in the future.
Lauren O’Grady: Using the Humanities in the Business World
Lauren O’Grady is a third-year student with an English major and a digital marketing minor. During her second year at Grace, a classmate reached out and invited O’Grady to interview for the Timberline Team. Through her work, she also got involved with some projects for Personalized Fitness For You. O’Grady plans to work as a content creator after graduation and the internship has been instrumental in her career preparation journey.
“As a humanities student, I struggled to see how my skills would translate to the workplace,” said O’Grady. “In working with Dave and Joy, I’ve learned to recognize the value of my written communication skills, and I’ve learned how to apply these skills in a business environment.”
O’Grady’s internship responsibilities have included writing blogs, editing professional documents and presentations, and collaborating on various projects. She appreciates that her mentors have had the patience to teach her and push her out of her comfort zone.
“Lauren has grown and developed her skills over the past two years with us. She now takes on projects with a sense of confidence and an understanding of what needs to be done,” Dave said. “Give her a bunch of words that are not optimal. She will return with an eloquent, concise, and professional document that not only informs but inspires.”
Alyssa Peña: Receiving College and Career Preparation
Alyssa Peña is an incoming Grace student, and she plans to study communication in the fall. Although Peña is still finishing high school, her internship is giving her a “head start” in terms of college and career preparation.
Dave commends Peña for jumping in as a high school student and applying herself. “ She has learned how to manage projects, understand client needs, and tackle research projects,” Dave said. “Because of her unique skills and abilities, she has project-managed website builds, and client campaigns and is presently working on a grant.”
Ultimately, internships are learning experiences that are made to help students achieve personal and professional growth. The Grouts love preparing their interns for future careers while simultaneously equipping students with tools to navigate daily life.
“Our greatest success is when students reach back years later and say that their experiences with our organization have shaped and changed their careers,” the Grouts say. “We love to hear that they are implementing what they’ve learned in their own culture and environment, and walk with God.”
Is career preparation important to you? Inquire to receive more information about how Grace will provide you with everything you need for college and career readiness.