Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Internships bridge classroom and workplace, give students edge in career search

The Chillicothe Campus takes seriously its role as a gateway to opportunity for area residents. In that spirit, more than just providing an opportunity to a quality education at an affordable price, the campus is serious about providing students with an educational experience to prepare them for success beyond their college careers.

That preparation includes an increased emphasis on internships, co-ops and other experiential opportunities that help to connect the classroom with the workplace.  While internships may have once been somewhat of a luxury item of the college experience, they are increasingly becoming a necessity in terms of landing an entry-level job to a future career.

IMPORTANT STEP IN CAREER PREPARATION

“Having that experience on a resume speaks volumes to a prospective employer,” said OU-C faculty member Tanya Hire. “To have some professional experience under their belt will help students get an interview more quickly and shows initiative.”

“While earning a college degree gets your foot in the door and allows individuals to apply for jobs, having this type of experience – and the soft skills such as teamwork and listening – that are developed in this setting, are often what can get you the job,” said Hire, assistant professor of business and OU-C campus coordinator for the Bachelor of Science in Applied Management (BSAM) program.

“The internship is similar to an extended interview,” Hire said. “It offers an opportunity for the students to see if the values and skills they have are a match with those of the organization and for the potential employer to make the same observation.”

The BSAM program includes an internship component of 135 hours during a given semester. Among professional fields that BSAM students have explored through internships are banking, real estate, farming, fund-raising, restaurant kitchen management and quality assurance.

Whatever the field, internships help provide the students with perspective and focus.

“It is important for students to get a real-world dose of what their professional ambitions entail on a daily basis. It is also important to understand the actual demands of the job and if they want to do that on a daily basis,” Hire said.

Coordinator of Student Support Martha Tanedo arranges internship programs on campus and understands their value.

“Doing an internship is invaluable in allowing a student to see how the academic degree is applied in the workplace,” Tanedo said. “In addition to gaining skills that are job-related, interns also get exposure to what it is like to be on the job every day and to see what the corporate culture is like. They can see the office politics and better understand the communication and other skills that are needed beyond what is listed in the job description.”

EXPERIENCES BENEFIT STUDENTS IN SEVERAL WAYS

Internships periodically lead to other opportunities, as OU-C student Maria Woodfork discovered. Woodfork was offered a full-time position with PPG, a local company after a successful internship
this past summer.

Woodfork, who plans to enter the BSAM program in the spring after completing her associate degree in Office Technology (OTEC) this semester, led a team of four individuals revamping PPG’s accounting system and inputting W-9 tax forms from approximately 4,000 vendors.

“It gave me an opportunity to be in a leadership role and the chance to shine and put to work the things I had learned at OU-C,” Woodfork said. “I feel that I was prepared for this opportunity. Everything I learned in my classes prepared me for what I was asked to do. I was able to take what I learned in stress management, administrative procedures and other courses. I could refer to what I learned in my classes and apply it to the workplace.”

The internship allowed Woodfork to put theories into practice and to see how the office setting operates on a daily basis. Her internship was funded partially by an Ohio Means grant, which is sponsored by the Ohio Board of Regents.

She was encouraged by faculty member Allison White, the OTEC program coordinator, to pursue the opportunity.

“The internship program gives you really good opportunity to get a feel for what you are going to be doing and to make sure it is a good fit for you personally,” Woodfork said. “It gives you an opportunity to get with an employer you may not be able to experience otherwise.”

Woodfork has put the full-time employment offer on hold while she pursues her bachelor’s degree.

“My future plans are to get into office management,” she said. “I like office work, including the contact with people and working behind the scenes. Often, in these positions, you are the face of the company. I often represented PPG to the public this summer and I liked that.”

Joshua Jordan, who is pursuing an associate degree in computer science technology, gained insights into his chosen profession during a co-op experience with Glatfelter during spring semester 2013. He was involved in a project that used a series of computer programs to produce easy-to-understand
operational reports.

“The classroom gave me the basic knowledge and understanding of computer programming. From the co-op, I was able to learn the business side of things and how to interact with people in a business environment,” Jordan said.

Jordan, who plans to pursue a BSAM degree, worked closely with faculty member and computer science technology coordinator Joe Triplett to arrange the opportunity, which has given Jordan increased focus in both his academic and career pursuits.

“Now that I understand how a business runs its databases, it is easier to see what classes to sign up for, and it definitely gives me more focus as to what I need to learn. It also gives more relevance to what I am studying in class, and assignments make more sense in terms of what I need to gain from them,” said Jordan, who has shared insights from his co-op with Triplett, to incorporate in OU-C classes.

Students who are interested in pursuing an internship, co-op or similar type of experience should contact Tanedo at tanedo@ohio.edu. She maintains contacts with OU-C faculty members and area businesses to arrange these opportunities, which are formally and informally integrated into many academic programs.

Nominations sought for OU-C service awards to recognize current and former students making an impact

A new twist is being added to an annual campus and community event.

This year, service awards will be presented to current and former students who are making a special impact globally or in their communities when Ohio University-Chillicothe commemorates Heritage Day beginning at 6 p.m. on Nov. 14 in the Stevenson Center Learning Commons.

These awards capture the spirit of Heritage Day and the Chillicothe Campus’ mission of engaging with its region and preparing students for lives of impact. Members of the campus and community are encouraged to nominate possible recipients.

These new awards include:

STUDENT COMMUNITY SERVICE AWARDS

These awards recognize current students (either individuals or groups) who are actively involved in efforts such as community outreach, volunteer activities and/or philanthropy efforts, either formally or informally.

RECENT ALUMNI SERVICE AWARDS

These awards are designed to recognize individuals who have attended OU-C within the last five years and who have demonstrated outstanding service to their local communities or the global community through efforts such as volunteer activities, participation/leadership in civic organizations, philanthropy, engagement with OU-C and other service projects, either formally or informally.

Nominations for both awards are sought from OU-C students, faculty and staff members as well as OU-C alumni and community members.

To nominate a possible recipient, submit a nomination letter of 200 words or fewer by 5 p.m. on Oct. 16 to Kim McKimmy at kellyk@ohio.edu and/or Jack Jeffery at jefferyj@ohio.edu and include ‘Service Award Nomination’ in the subject line. Letters should clearly describe the service activities the nominee has engaged in that warrant consideration for an award. Nominators should also indicate which award the nomination is for as well as their contact information and that of those individuals being nominated. A committee will determine and notify the recipients.

Recipients will receive a certificate and will be recognized at the Heritage Day event. It is anticipated that recipients will represent a range of academic, professional and civic pursuits.

More details about the Heritage Day events will be forthcoming. The occasion is intended to serve as a homecoming-style event on a regional, commuter campus and connect with community members, many of whom are former students. The event is free, and members of the campus and area community are invited to attend. The occasion will include refreshments and entertainment.

Hilltopper volleyball team has new look, same lofty goals




Coming off its first Ohio Regional Campus Conference State Tournament in the program’s history in 2013, the OU-C women’s volleyball team has faced high expectations this season. Although the seasons change and the roster is largely revamped, the team continues to set its sights on lofty goals, according to coach Tara Bethel.

“I feel we have built quite a nice program over the past six years, with the championship being a goal we had all season and ultimately the icing on the cake,” she said.

The Hilltoppers, who are 6-6 overall and second in the ORCC with a conference record of 3-2, play their final regular-season match at Miami-Middleton on Oct. 2 before defending their title when the state tournament begins Oct. 12 at Ohio State-Newark.

Although only two of the women who experienced the championship win returned to the team this year Bethel believes that all of the players understand what it takes to win and possess the necessary talent to make it happen.

“Offensively, we are loaded from every position. My players are not intimidated to get up and put the ball down. My setter, Hannah Halcomb, is back from last season, and she is top notch. Defensively, my girls are all over the place. They do not let many balls drop and do a lot of communicating in the back row,” says Bethel of the 2013 team.

In addition to these strengths the women display on the court, she also says that they are one of the mentally toughest teams that she has ever coached. When it comes to key players Bethel says that each member of the team is invaluable to the success of the program.

“All eight of my players play a vital role on our team. For us to win another league and state title, each has to bring what they can offer to the table. We are way too balanced as a team to zero in on just a couple girls,” she says.

OU-C has been somewhat a team without home this season. Because of the Shoemaker Center court being resurfaced, the Hilltoppers have played their home matches at Unioto High School this season.

OU-C VOLLEYBALL ROSTER

Name  ... High School
Madison Arledge ... Southeastern HS
Erin Barnes ...  Chillicothe HS
Hannah Halcomb ... Adena HS
Jackie Kellough ...  Huntington HS
Amber Lewis ... Paint Valley HS
Natalie Neff ... Unioto HS
Alex Roback ... Waverly HS
Brianna Weese ... Southeastern HS

Hannah Miller, Assistant coach

OU-C softball team to host alumni game

In commemoration of the program’s 10th season in 2013-14, an Ohio University-Chillicothe softball alumni game will be held at noon on Oct. 5 at the VA Memorial Stadium in Chillicothe. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for students and free for non-school age children. Gates open at 11 a.m.