Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Special Olympics Internship

Alicia Bridge

I started my internship with the Special Olympics Fox Valley Region this August. The Special Olympics is a non-profit organization providing people with cognitive disabilities the right to compete as athletes. Although we are required by UW Oshkosh to complete an internship before graduation, I feel honored to have gotten myself this internship. I can go there, knowing I am making a difference in people’s lives while still being "at work". Not many people can say this! I have spent the beginning of my internship in event planning working on the event Bowl for Champions. The Special Olympics teams up with the local police forces to hold this event and raise money while bowling.

My favorite part of this internship is how much my job relies on the community for help. It has shown me that the community will come through and help for a good cause. At first I was shy asking for things such as donations, but this internship has helped me gain the self confidence I will need when entering the real world. I also love the fact that every time I go into the office I complete multiple different tasks. I am usually always doing something different which is nice for a change of pace. Some duties include finding donations, getting volunteers, getting companies to support us, Bowl for Champions event, Lock Up A Cop, creating awards and prizes and lastly and most importantly, the Polar Plunge. I am very excited to start working on the Polar Plunge event. Last year, nearly $380,000 was raised during Polar Plunge and it is a very big event that I am happy to be a part of.

My experience with the Special Olympics has been a huge success. I honestly couldn't be happier with an internship program. My supervisor is very nice and willing to help with any questions I have. I also love that it has given me so much hands on experience with event planning, considering that is not a major or minor offered by UW Oshkosh. It has helped me realize I am capable of succeeding in business and gain confidence within the community. It has also made me really want to get a job within a non-profit, or at least volunteer. I now plan on being a lifetime volunteer with the Special Olympics. The only problem with this internship is there isn't much opportunity for growth considering there are only two people in the office, although continuing with this organization would be awesome!

ThedaCare Internship

Katelyn Frassetto
Accounting/Finance Intern

I am currently an Accounting/Finance Intern with ThedaCare. ThedaCare is community health system that includes four hospitals, twenty-two physician locations, residential facilities for senior citizens and multiple ThedaCare at Home, ThedaCare at Work, and ThedaCare Behavioral Health Services locations. Through all of our locations we provide medical care for over 150,000 individuals each year. As the intern at our corporate office, I have the opportunity to experience many different aspects and be involved in many of the processes of operating a non-for-profit organization.

In my position I am responsible for a wide variety of tasks, which is one of my favorite aspects of the internship. I am not tied down to just journal entries or just asset management. So far I have been involved in many processes and responsibilities. My largest project has been compiling information for our 990 tax return and learning the tax requirements of a non-for-profit organization. Through this experience I was able to learn a lot about the account structure and flow of assets in hospitals, physician services, our corporate office and other entities. I also had direct contact with our outside public accounting firm, which gave me great experience in building professional relationships and confidently communicating financial information.

Some of my other responsibilities or projects I have been or will be involved in include asset and capital management, preparation of end of year financial statements, mileage and account audits, liability insurance renewals, balance sheet and bank reconciliations, regulatory research, cost justification, company audit, other tax reporting requirements, retention program improvement, automation of documents and still others.

One of the few challenges I faced is when I first started. I was completely unaware of what to expect. To my delight, the people here are all very helpful. I was worried I was going to be overwhelmed and thrown into projects larger than what I was capable of. But I was proven wrong very quickly. My supervisor is very understanding and knows how to motivate people. He allows someone to grow in their position in their own way. He knows how to give just enough guidance and let you run with it. He helps me strive to reach my full potential even if I don’t know what that is or how to achieve it.

I have learned so much in the little time I’ve been here so far. Working at ThedaCare is helping me define my career path choices. I know an organization like ThedaCare would definitely be somewhere I would want to work. I know to look for a culture and company that values and motivates its employees. Due to the varied experiences I now have, I also know more about which area of accounting I want to pursue. I have also learned how to professionally present myself.

The biggest difficulty I have encountered so far is my lack of confidence. Being in a professional environment surrounded by very intelligent and successful people was quite intimidating at first. Yet, the most significant improvement I have noticed is the confidence I now have in myself and my abilities. Initially I was inhibited and afraid to ask for projects or things to work on because I was afraid I would be unable to succeed, fulfill the requirements or do something wrong. My supervisor and coworkers have been extremely helpful in mentoring me and teaching me that everyone make mistakes and needs assistance. They have showed me how much I learned from the College of Business and how I truly am able to apply that knowledge. Now, I willingly ask for projects because I am much more confident and I realize they are opportunities for me to learn, not to fail. I encourage anyone starting an internship not to hesitate. You will miss out on very rewarding and beneficial learning opportunities.

My experience so far has been very rewarding. I feel very appreciative for this opportunity. I have gained an extraordinary amount of hands on experience and real world knowledge. Overall it is an honor to be a part of the ThedaCare team and work with such amazing people. ThedaCare’s accounting/finance department is making huge leaps in providing better quality and cheaper costing healthcare and I am honored to be a part of their success and innovation.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Georgia Pacific Internship

Christopher Bauer
Georgia Pacific Internship

I am currently a Systems Analysis / Programmer for Georgia Pacific. GP is a leading manufacturer and distributor of paper products around the world. Based out of Atlanta, Georgia, GP employs over 50,000 people across the globe. I work out of the Green Bay office supporting the Transportation division.

The team that I am a part of is responsible for the Information System that moves over $1.3 billion dollars worth of paper products each year. The system is a home-grown beast which processes information from different locations across North America. We process this information and present it in an organized fashion for users. Every day is a new experience and I never know what the system is going to throw at me. My responsibilities include re-writing program code, in-depth analysis of the system to determine where improvements could be made, debugging code to find bugs and making hotfixes, and participating in projects during the full project life cycle.

This experience has been very rewarding and has helped confirm my choice in studies here at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. It has given me the hands on experience needed outside of the classroom to apply my skills that I have been taught and build additional knowledge. Additionally, it has helped me increase my business skills including proper etiquette, better communication, and problem solving abilities. This experience has also helped me realize what is all involved in operating a large scale information system.

I have had many different challenges that I have had to overcome since beginning my internship back in June. I have always thought that I was a very organized person, but when I am trying to juggle 4-5 projects, monitoring emails, team meetings, system alerts, etc., I found that I wasn’t as organized as I thought. It took a little while to adjust to the workload, but after a couple weeks of getting in routine everything started getting done in a timely fashion. The other big challenge was trying to figure out how the system worked. With so many large pieces flowing into the system, it took a while to figure out all of the pieces to the system and why there were there. Once I knew how the system was designed to work and how each part goes with another, it made analysis much easier and writing program code much simpler.

I am honored to be a part of Georgia Pacific’s Transportation IT team and would not trade this experience for anything. I have been able to take the tools I’ve learned here on campus and apply my new found knowledge at the corporate level.