IUP Departments Provide Students with Real-World Experience

Posted on 5/8/2018 3:52:09 PM

The IUP Eberly College of Business and Information Technology Corporate Relations and Internship Department works to support the internship and career goals of business students and to establish relationships with employers. The department serves as a point of contact for providing career materials, training, and placement opportunities for students. One to two faculty members from each academic department in the Eberly College serve on the CR-I team, along with representatives from the IUP Career and Professional Development Center.  

Matching Student Employment to Academic Areas

The Eberly College recognizes that many across campus are already hiring students with specific majors to best match job responsibilities with academic disciplines. Eberly hopes to establish more partnerships across the campus to create matches between job responsibilities and majors, according to Cyndy Strittmatter, who oversees the CR-I Department.

“Creating opportunities for our business students to gain real-world experience on campus in areas such as accounting, finance, budget, marketing, supply chain, human resources, management, international business, and information systems not only gives students the edge that they need when they apply for internships and permanent positions, but also helps students in the classroom by giving them the ability to apply real-world experience,” said Strittmatter. “It is also our hope that work-study positions help us retain our students because of the increased engagement with the campus and campus personnel and the ability to conduct meaningful work for campus operations. We are hoping that more managers and staff members across campus are intentional in trying to match job responsibilities with majors to the extent possible. It’s a win-win for the student and the department.”

Strittmatter added that there are many excellent examples of major-related job opportunities across campus. “We will be looking for more departments to partner with as they begin to refill work-study positions,” she said. Any manager or staff member with a student vacancy in a business-related field is invited to contact our office. We will get the word out to the respective majors immediately and help departments fill positions.”

Logistics and Purchasing Experience

Members of the Administration and Finance Division and Eberly College of Business and Information Technology listened to freshman business major Shaun Scott’s presentation on Thursday, May 3, about his experience working in the IUP Central Storeroom as part of a program to provide students with real-world experience on the IUP Campus.  

“Central Stores runs a logistical operation that provides the university with all of the material resources it needs to function efficiently,” said Scott. “Most of my time this year was spent researching and removing obsolete stock in the warehouse of central stores. This is just a small part of the operations of the warehouse. I learned how to use the SAP system to sift through information on all products that are stored in the warehouse. Based on the information that I found, I made recommendations regarding whether or not the materials should be repurposed, put up for surplus sale, opened up for 501c3 non-profit organizations, or properly disposed. I saw the value of generating at least some amount of money through disposition of obsolete stock and the importance of recovering valuable space for other purposes.”

“I am very excited to continue in this position,” added Scott. “My overall goal is to understand how the different parts of the operation work together. This position has been all hands-on and is helping me understand further what I have learned in the classroom.”

Eberly Pilot Internship Program - Logistics and Purchasing ExperienceTerry Breslawski, director of Procurement Services and Central Stores, came to the Eberly College to start a pilot internship program in his area. “The Procurement Services and Central Stores pilot internship program was conceived in cooperation with Eberly College as a means to offer select undergraduate business students an opportunity to work in a functioning supply management operation. The project-specific assignments enable the student to learn how the IUP logistics and purchasing operations support the university as critical business functions and provide a tangible output to their efforts that can enhance learning in the classroom and offer a resume-ready experience to facilitate placement after graduation.”

Eberly Pilot Internship program - Central Storeroom, Presentation“Shaun’s contribution to the Central Storeroom was beneficial to our department by having a fresh perspective on how the storeroom operations benefit the university community. It has allowed him a hands-on work experience. Providing an on-site, at IUP, location for this pilot-intern program allowed the student to be close to the job and gave him the flexibility to work with his class schedule, as well as not having any additional expenses.”

Marketing Experience

Michelle Fryling, executive director of Communications and Media Relations, hired two MBA students who were interested in the marketing field, Apeksha Jayavanth and Nehal Challani. 

Eberly Pilot Internship Program - Michelle Fryling and Interns Apeksha Jayavanth and Nehal Challani“Apeksha and Nehal have been incredible assets to the Office of Communications,” said Fryling. “We discussed the project, which was updating the way that I do news clippings. These two talented students understood the issue by asking the right questions, and then worked with my clipping service and maximized the potential for what the service could offer. They met my deadline of April 1 to create an entirely new electronic system for distributing news clippings,” said Fryling.

She explained that the students created it so that other students can update and use the system, which was very important to the office. “Apeksha and Nehal are self-starters and energetic, hard workers and have been a pleasure to have in the office,” she said.

Experience in Human Resources

Craig Bickley, associate vice president for Human Resources, actively recruits human resource management majors each year. “In HR, we actively recruit HR majors and integrate them into our office environment and processes, providing valuable real world experience that translates on a resume after graduation,” he said. “We also believe it’s our job to help them with their studies and support them in their job search and beyond. They're part of the family!”

Lorie Albright, Employee Services manager in the HR Office, is passionate about the students and the work they perform in HR. “My role as the supervisor of the student workers in HR is to be supportive and do all I can to assist in developing these upcoming HR professionals to become successful in whatever they choose after their time at IUP is complete,” said Albright. “I work very closely with each student to stress the importance of confidentiality, punctuality, being dependable, stepping up to volunteer for any opportunity that may arise, proposing process improvements for the department, keeping busy, dressing and speaking professionally and recognizing that you never know who your customer may be. I consider these students part of the HR staff. We offer them many opportunities to shadow staff or managers in everyday activities or meetings.” She provided the following highlights:

  • Two students this semester were given the opportunity to help in hiring future HR student workers. They were involved from developing and building the posting in NEOGOV, reviewing applicants, and selecting applicants to interview, to developing interview questions, holding the interviews, and helping with making the selection for two positions. This gave them experience in the whole realm of the hiring process and enabled them to see the outcome of their selections and how they contributed to the department.
  • A student shadowed Albright while performing a review of classifications for the budget department. The student had the experience of meeting with each employee, reviewing the duties for each position, and observing the use of the Hay Management Classification Tool and the AFSCME state specifications to determine the appropriate classifications.
  • Multiple students are officers or members of the undergraduate IUP SHRM organization. The HR team is working closely with the students to connect them with the local Indiana County SHRM organization to forge a two-way relationship between students and local HR professionals to assist with professional development opportunities, internship pipelines, and experiences they can translate onto their resumes.
  • Albright holds bi-weekly meetings with all students. These meetings were originally designed for her to communicate any new processes, or information she wanted to share with them. This has developed into “their” meeting that they control now, and they have a roundtable discussion about issues, concerns, or any information for the good of the group. We have had guest speakers/trainers attend. Some students have prepared training presentations to present to the group to build their presentation and public speaking skills. The meetings are scheduled for one hour, and most meetings last two because students want to be there sharing their experience in HR with each other. That in itself speaks volumes as to how beneficial their job in HR really is.

Eberly Pilot Internship Program - Human Resources Dept. - Jason Wendel, Alexis Frenchak, and Alexandra Keegan, HR Majors.Photo: Jason Wendel, Alexis Frenchak, and Alexandra Keegan, all HR majors, work in the IUP Office of Human Resources.

Wendel, a sophomore human resource management and operations management major, appreciates his position in the Office of Human Resources. “Working as a student assistant in the Human Resources Office at IUP has been an amazing opportunity to further develop my business acumen and interpersonal skills within a professional office environment,” he said.

“I have had the opportunity to work alongside highly experienced HR professionals and would not be where I am today without the mentorship of the fantastic HR staff! My favorite project was when I co-lead our Student Hire Team with my fellow coworker Alexis Frenchak. This entailed editing our existing job description, marketing our job posting, updating interview questions, interviewing candidates, and extending offers. The ability to conduct interviews and analyze candidates to determine if they would fit our team’s culture was an unparalleled eye-opening experience. This experience over the last two years has been so rewarding and has further fueled my passion to be an innovative HR professional in the future. I am so thankful for the fantastic opportunities IUP HR has provided to me and encourage all students to seek out student work experiences related to their respective majors.”

Information Technology Experience

Eberly Pilot Internship Program - IT Support Center - Glenn Good, Matt Roche, Kencric Grade, and Gabrielle RicuperoGlenn Good hires Information Systems and Decision Sciences students on a regular basis. Matt Roche, Kendric Grace, and Gabrielle Ricupero all work in the IT area with Glenn. “These students make a great contribution to our operations and are getting exposed to real-world IT operations and issues,” said Glenn. “Matt assisted with programming with enhancements to the TimeClock time recording and reporting application. He also created some administrative functionality so it was easier for me to manage the back end of the system. Gabby reviewed the IUP IT Support Center website and potential re-categorizations of existing pages based on research of a cross section of other universities. Also, she did research on KCS (Knowledge-Centered Support) processes, which are something I am interested in implementing. Ken is our student lead for hardware repairs. Working with a User Services staff member, he oversees our repair process to ensure student computers that are checked in get fixed in a timely manner.”

Accounting Experience

Tom Toia, manager of Affiliate Accounting, hired accounting major Stephen Kopczyk. “Stephen assists me with accounting and reporting for the university held endowments, the Foundation for Indiana University of Pennsylvania Residential Revival student housing project (a 3,548-bed, $244-million dollar project), and the Fairman Centre a (student housing and culinary school renovation project) in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. Two of Stephen’s predominant traits that make a strong impression on me are his integrity and initiative. When assigning him a project, I am always confident of his honesty and ability to take the necessary steps to follow it through to completion with minimal supervision,” said Toia.

Eberly Pilot Internship Program - Affiliate Accounting - Tom Toia and Stephen Kopczyk“In addition, Stephen possesses an acute understanding of accounting theory and practice that he enthusiastically applies to his work. He has excellent communication, organizational, and problem solving skills and is flexible and willing to work on any project he is assigned. As his supervisor, I came to rely on Stephen’s assistance, to respect his opinion, and to value his input. I have been able to assign him projects that require a deep level of maturity both professionally and academically.”

Toia explained that one such project is the preparation of the Residential Revival Annual Operating Plan.

“Stephen assists with forecasting revenue and expenses. By using data from the Position Budget Management System (a module of SAP) he analyzes salaries and benefits of staff working on the project and accurately projects them forward incorporating them into the plan. Stephen also assists with the accounting for the PASSHE SIMS Data Warehouse project awarded to IUP. He analyzes data from SAP, runs reports to retrieve payroll data from the SAP Business Warehouse, then uses the data to prepare invoices to PASSHE for reimbursement to IUP along with calculating and preparing journal entries for indirect cost recovery. Stephen also prepares monthly invoices to the Foundation for the student housing project and posts the corresponding accounts receivables. Given his characteristics, qualities, work experience, and education as a foundation, I believe Stephen will do well and has a bright future.”

Offices interested in partnering in the placement of business students in their departments are encouraged to e-mail Cyndy Strittmatter at clstritt@iup.edu. Business Starts at IUP!