Each year, Facilities Services hires a mix of high school and undergraduate students who gain hands-on experience working in a variety of fields such as finance, procurement, business systems, design, construction project management and facilities operations. This year we celebrated a milestone by hiring 24 students, representing the largest group of interns ever hired for a single season.
More than half of FS interns are from ACE (Architecture, Construction, Engineering) Technical Charter High School, located in neighboring Washington Park. This is the fourth consecutive summer FS has partnered with ACE Tech. These internships not only expose the students to real-world working experience in the administrative and skilled trades roles, but also helps to invigorate employees. Through weekly panel discussions, FS staff volunteer time during the lunch hour to discuss their various roles at the University, as well as their education and career paths.
“We partner with ACE Tech because we feel these students can learn a great deal from our employees about the skills they need to succeed in a professional environment,” said Roslyn Johnson, director of procurement and economic impact. “And while that’s true, each summer we’ve found the kids have imparted a bit of spirit and enthusiasm to our employees, who through their mentoring, begin to view their own skills and achievements in a different way.”
FS interns have diverse backgrounds and interests. These internships allow the students to explore fields they would like to work in or areas that they’ve never been exposed to before. Melissa Mulder, a junior at Purdue University, is interning with the Capital Project Delivery unit, gaining real world experience in the practical application of mechanical engineering, her major. She visits the Steam Plant daily to monitor an ongoing facility upgrade project. With a minor in management, Melissa said she is able to explore a side of engineering that she cannot in school. She aspires to work in higher education and is looking forward to fostering a better understanding of how a University functions.
Through these internships, FS provides a sneak preview into potential careers for high school and undergraduate students. While the skills they learn will benefit them in their education and future positions, FS staff benefits from an extra pair of hands during the busy summer season and an infusion of youthful energy.
From ACE Tech, the following students are working in FS this summer: Abdull Gregrory, utility plant engineering shop; Andrew Comier, inventory; Catherine Jones, north campus engineering; Demarquezs Martin, multi-trade; Frederick Reed, residence halls & dining engineering; Javarie Criss, carpenter's helper; John Gill, building automation systems shop; Maribel Rodriguez, capital project delivery administrative assistant; Rashad Flowers, multi-trade; Savon Anderson, plumber's helper; Tromel Brocks, hull court; Tyler Burrell, south campus engineering; Yareli Gutierrez, procurement administrative assistant.
Our college interns hail from Michigan, Indiana, Iowa and Illinois. From Illinois, we have: Andrea Rivera Sierra, an Illinois Institute of Technology student working with our business systems team; Alicia French, a recent University of Chicago graduate working with our Planning + Design team; Justin Manley, a University of Chicago student also working with our planning + Design team; Isaiah Bradley, a recent University of Chicago Lab Schools graduate working with our business systems team; Peter Schlosser, a University of Illinois Chicago student working with our Planning + design team; Monica Scinto, a University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign student working with our capital project delivery team. From Purdue University, we have: Justin Sinclair, working with our finance team; Melissa Mulder, working with our capital project delivery team; and Zui Mo, working with our business systems team. From Iowa State University, we have Katelyn McVey, working with our capital project delivery team. From Western Michigan University, we have Diamond Davis, a recent graduate, working with our finance team.
-- By Janine Wilkosz, Capital Project Delivery executive assistant II