2022 IMPACT Award Winners Announced Recognizing Excellence in Internships

For media information, contact:   
Matt Ottinger at (317) 264-7541 / mottinger@indianachamber.com 
Rebecca Patrick at (317) 264-6897 / rpatrick@indianachamber.com

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

2022 IMPACT Award Winners Announced Recognizing Excellence in Internships

February 22, 2022 (INDIANAPOLIS) — Nine categories, 80-plus nominees and infinite potential. The 16th Annual IMPACT Awards, presented by Work and Learn Indiana, honored outstanding talent and contributions regarding Hoosier internships at a virtual celebration today.

The top winners – chosen by a panel of impartial judges – are:

  • College Intern of the Year: Jenna Burow, Purdue University (Fishers)
  • High School Intern of the Year: Shelby Rosenberger, Franklin County High School (Brookville)
  • Non-Traditional Intern of the Year: Dana Perez, The Children’s Museum (Indianapolis)
  • College Career Development Professional of the Year: Kathy Kassissieh, Rose‐Hulman Institute of Technology (Terre Haute)
  • High School Career Development Professional of the Year: Eric Feller, Oldenburg Academy (Oldenburg)
  • Intern Supervisor of the Year: Kameron Utter, Quest Safety Products Inc. (Indianapolis)
  • Employer of the Year (For-Profit): Corteva Agriscience (Indianapolis)
  • Employer of the Year (Non-Profit): Indiana Park and Recreation Association (Noblesville)
  • David R. McKinnis Community Partner Award: Teresa Lubbers, Indiana Commission for Higher Education (Indianapolis)

“Interns are increasingly a critical component of Indiana’s workforce, especially for developing future talent and growing our economy,” reports Todd Hurst, executive director at the Institute for Workforce Excellence, a subsidiary of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce that houses Work and Learn Indiana. “The ongoing partnerships between employers and high schools and higher education institutions should be a point of pride for the state and it’s exciting to see.”

The event was sponsored by Ivy Tech Community College, with Gerry Dick of Inside INdiana Business serving as the emcee.

The Work and Learn Indiana program cultivates the creation and expansion of high-quality experiential learning opportunities within the state. For more information about Work and Learn Indiana, visit www.workandlearnindiana.com or call (317) 264-6852.

Details about the 2022 IMPACT Award winners are below with the list of nominees at www.indianachamber.com/IMPACTAwards:

College Intern of the Year: Jenna Burow, Purdue University

To many, forensics is a fascinating and challenging field. For Jenna Burow, it’s a potential career and an enduring passion. She’s been interning with the Fishers Police Department, primarily in the forensics unit, since 2017. When COVID-19 led to the elimination of her paid internship position in 2020, Burow persevered, requesting to continue as a volunteer.

Among her accomplishments are earning a designation as a certified evidence technician and drone operator. She’s qualified to respond to/process crime scenes and trained to deploy the police department drone to search for missing children, endangered people and criminal suspects. She also serves on the Indiana Division of the International Association of Identification, a rare distinction for an intern.

Her supervisor, Sgt. Jim Hawkins, cites her mentoring skills as a strength: “Jenna sees the value in training her replacement. She cares enough about the forensics unit that she has purposefully cultivated relationships with other interns to develop future leadership within the lab.”

Burow has excelled in applying critical thinking and problem-solving capabilities. She created an interactive lesson plan that she has implemented as an instructor, teaching classes for the Fishers Police Department Teen Academy and Cadet Program.

High School Intern of the Year: Shelby Rosenberger, Franklin County High School

Shelby Rosenberger was interested in pursuing internships at Franklin County United Way (Brookville) and Laurel Elementary School (Batesville). The result? Take on both!

Rosenberger embodies empathy and professionalism when maintaining confidential information about students and their families.

Rosenberger enjoys inspiring others and demonstrating leadership. When students were participating in a Girls on the Run Practice 5K, for instance, she wrote positive messages in chalk on a running course. In addition, she impressed Pam Gutzwiller, school counselor at Laurel Elementary School, by meeting with students and completing tasks on her behalf when she was out of the office.

“Shelby is gaining practical skills, real-life experience of the school workplace – particularly in the school counseling field. However, no matter what career she chooses to pursue, she is a person I would want on my team,” Gutzwiller comments.

Non-Traditional Intern of the Year: Dana Perez

During her internship with the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, Dana Perez developed an impressive proposal for the organization’s Juneteenth Jamboree VIP experience. Building out three different options for consideration, she showed an impressive attention to detail with vendor information, budget breakdowns and visual aids with design concepts for the event space.

Based on Perez’s thorough research and analysis, the team secured funding for her proposal. She then brought her own proposal to life, successfully delivering a positive VIP experience to the museum’s guests. She showed a proficiency in planning and analytics, but also utilized her creative skills for the event, even going as far as to design and build custom centerpieces. She took full responsibility for managing the space, ensuring guests felt welcomed and entertained.

Perez did not stop there. Going the extra mile, she partnered with museum staff to develop a post-event survey for guests’ event experiences so she could continue improving. She even stepped up to assist the museum’s development department with grant research to advance the museum’s mission. Her commitment towards going above and beyond made a lasting impact on her internship supervisor and colleagues at the museum.

College Career Development Professional of the Year: Kathy Kassissieh

For the past 16 years, Kathy Kassissieh has built relationships with students, alumni and employers. In her role at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, Kathy is responsible for many alumni success stories. She helps students find internships in unique industries like rollercoaster design, candy manufacturing or robotics.

Kassissieh previously ran an entrepreneurial internship program at Rose‐Hulman where she would complete onsite evaluations of an employer’s internship program, determine the learning outcomes of the student, and then provide feedback to the employer. Due to her previous success with that program, Indiana employers contact her to gauge industry internship standards. Kathy is well-known as a resource for both employers and students.

She also builds a rapport with students, making an effort to get to know them. In turn, students feel heard, and that they can trust her advice, just as employers trust her candidate recommendations. By taking the time to listen, Kassissieh establishes herself as a valuable connector for students and employers who is not easily forgotten.

“Alumni will seek her out to say hello, get caught up on life, and share how their career is progressing,” says Scott Tieken, Rose-Hulman’s director of career services and employer relations. “Each one of them will express how she made a huge impact on jumpstarting their career and getting them where they are today.”

High School Career Development Professional of the Year: Eric Feller

In his role at Oldenburg Academy, Eric Feller is cognizant and respectful of the experience each employer can offer an intern. By collaborating closely with employers, he allows organizations to further develop their efforts to engage younger Hoosiers at work. Thanks to Feller’s clear and consistent communication with employers, they feel more at ease taking on high school interns. He expects interns to describe their current projects and responsibilities, ensuring interns are completing meaningful work that satisfies everyone involved.

Feller developed extensive contacts in southeast Indiana so he could place students in internships most closely related to their interests. While high school internships are increasingly common, having enough of a variety of opportunities to tailor to a student’s interests speaks to the impressive level of his relationship-building.

The commitment Feller has for facilitating high school internships pays off. Employers take notice of the quality of the Oldenburg Academy students they interact with. “Oldenburg Academy’s internship program is one of the best high school programs with which I have worked,” says Amy Streator, executive director of the Ripley County Community Foundation. “[Oldenburg Academy] students are eager and ready to learn, and engage in hands-on activities that will give them the largest return on their time.”

Intern Supervisor of the Year: Kameron Utter, Quest Safety Products Inc.

In 2016, Kameron Utter was Quest Safety Products’ first student intern. Today, he’s the intern supervisor and leader of the intern program along with serving as e-commerce sales manager.

Utter partnered with Marian University (where he graduated in 2017) and other higher education institutions across Indiana to design the intern program. Quest’s internship opportunities encompass marketing, accounting, finance, operations, procurement and e‐commerce.

Coaching is an integral component of his leadership. New professionals (interns and full-time employees) learn from a business culture training model he created.

“Kam’s story is especially meaningful as it speaks to the value of work‐based learning and cyclical nature of paying this experience forward and giving back,” observes Alice D. Susemichel, director of employer relations at Marian University. “Kam takes the time to meet, learn about, understand the desires of and assist each intern in the program professionally. He desires to see each of them grow to their potential. Most importantly, he builds a vision and mission for each intern starting with the WHY what is done for customers is so important. In doing so, he builds a work team that is collaborative and hungry, humble and kind.”

Employer of the Year (For-Profit): Corteva Agriscience

The research and development (R&D) division at Corteva Agriscience recruits and trains undergraduate and graduate interns across all facets of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. In addition to helping hone on-the-job skills, internships at Corteva provide opportunities to network and give back.

Departmental internships are offered in areas such as R&D (data science, plant biology, plant pathology, insect biology, herbicide biology, molecular biology, engineering and chemistry), field science, operation, formulation and sales divisions. “The data generated by these intern projects contribute significantly in one of the main values of Corteva, which is “innovate boldly,” asserts research investigator Alamgir Rahman.

Corteva conducts two virtual events held to educate prospective interns nationwide about Corteva values and culture. In addition, the Indy Intern Management Team organizes various social and professional events.

“As a member of the Corteva Agriscience Indiana Intern Management Team, I can truly testify about the dedication, time and effort put into place by Corteva Agriscience for mentoring and training interns each year,” Rahman reflects. “Since 2019, we have hired 26‐30 interns at the Indianapolis site each year, and we are poised to hire 26 interns in 2022, which speaks volumes of dedication in cultivating young and bright minds both locally and nationally to develop long‐term assets for agricultural/STEM-related fields.

Employer of the Year (non-profit): Indiana Park and Recreation Association

While the Indiana Park and Recreation Association (IPRA) may only take on a few interns at a time, that does not make its interns’ contributions any less significant. The organization gives interns the chance to directly make an impact statewide, serving more than 1,800 members. Interns’ work directly impacts the success of the organization, giving them meaningful experiences to further their educational and professional journeys.

IPRA maximizes the potential of its interns by tailoring each experience to an individual’s skill set. Instead of strictly staying within an internship’s job description, the organization seeks to play to each intern’s interests, resulting in more enthusiasm and overall satisfaction with the experience. Students experience a wide variety of networking opportunities, including at the organization’s annual conference, giving them access to significant connections within the parks and recreation field.

IPRA’s internship program pays off as a successful talent pipeline strategy. Multiple interns were hired as full-time staff, or placed at IPRA’s counterparts around the state. By committing to providing meaningful and informative experiences to its interns, IPRA builds a sustainable pipeline for not only itself, but for Indiana’s entire parks and recreation field.

David R. McKinnis Community Partner: Teresa Lubbers

Teresa Lubbers has an extensive history with higher education, economic development and shaping Indiana’s future workforce. As the Indiana Commissioner for Higher Education for over 12 years, she has led the charge in helping Indiana’s learners achieve their full potential through education. During her time at the Commission, she worked to improve the quality of Indiana’s education and align postsecondary credentials with meaningful careers.

Through Lubbers’ efforts, she advocates for everyone to gain access to quality educational opportunities. As a first-generation college student herself, she recognizes firsthand the value education provides, and the opportunities it affords.

Lubbers helped facilitate the Commission for Higher Education partnering with Work and Learn Indiana to offer the EARN Indiana state work-study program. This initiative gave students from low-income Hoosier households access to high-quality, paid experiential learning opportunities. Her passion for issues in economic mobility and education brings attention to disparities in the world of work-based learning, and increased efforts to make experiential learning more equitable. Lubbers has announced she will step down from her role as commissioner after the 2022 legislative session.

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The Indiana Chamber partners with 25,000 members and investors – representing over four million Hoosiers – to achieve the mission of “cultivating a world-class environment which provides economic opportunity and prosperity.”

Work and Learn Indiana, a subsidiary of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, is the catalyst for expanding the creation and use of experiential learning opportunities as a key strategy in retaining Indiana’s top talent.

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