Springer Center for Internships
Outstanding Co-op/Intern of the Year Award


The Smith Career Center and the Springer Center for Internships congratulates the 2016 Outstanding Co-op/Intern of the Year Award recipients. See below for highlights of this year's winners.
Bryn Gunby

College: College of Education & Health Sciences
Major: Nursing
Employer: Missouri Baptist Medical Center

"In the summer of 2016 with one year left until graduation, I was able to grasp the understanding of what many nurses talk about..." (Read Full Bio)
Joe Mesnard

College: Caterpillar College of Engineering & Technology
Major: Electrical Engineering
Employer: Bose

"Ever since I was a child, I have been interested in music. Whether it was playing, recording, or listening, music has been a driving factor..." (Read Full Bio)
Kathleen Sainz

College: Slane College of Communications and Fine Arts
Major: Communication – Advertising
Employer: DreamWorks Animation

"In the fall of 2016, I had the incredible opportunity to intern in the PR and Publicity department of DreamWorks Animation..." (Read Full Bio)
Alyssah Sison

College: College of Liberal Arts & Sciences
Major: Biology
Employer: Peoria Zoo

"When I was young, I wanted nothing more than to become a vet. For me, the thought of saving animals was the ultimate dream job..." (Read Full Bio)
Matt McLaughlin

College: Foster College of Business
Major: Accounting
Employer: Caterpillar

"I recall being a mathematically inclined individual ever since I was a small child, while also being very interested in businesses. Fortunately for me, these two passions of mine collided..." (Read Full Bio)
In the summer of 2016 with one year left until graduation, I was able to grasp the understanding of what many nurses talk about regarding the transition between nursing school and “real world” nursing. I was given the opportunity to work full-time for ten weeks in the inpatient surgical unit of Missouri Baptist Medical Center (MBMC), located in St. Louis, Missouri. Under a nurse mentor I was paired up with, I provided direct patient care for ten weeks in this MAGNET institution.

This externship allotted me the opportunity to work 12-hour shifts seeing what a full shift in nursing encompassed and allowed me to gain more knowledge, skills, and experience towards my future career. I conducted full assessments, administered medications through different routes, dressed wounds, performed post mortem care, saw RRTs, inserted lines and Foley catheters, and more. I saw a multitude of all different kinds of patients with differing medical problems and comorbidities. Patients ranged from amputees to pre and post surgical patients to dialysis patients to palliative care patients, etc.; the list went on. I was able to exercise my communication among patients, families, and the interdisciplinary care team whilst still juggling the day-to-day prioritization, critical thinking, delegation, and more crucial skills that come with this career.

I saw how a smile and being present with an open ear could brighten a patient during their most vulnerable times. I provided cares to patients at their worst and their best, those who were getting admitted and those getting wheeled out with their discharge papers. I played a part in many patients’ recoveries and it made me feel grateful for the field I chose.

This opportunity was immeasurable. Each shift my autonomy improved and my passion fueled even more. I not only became a better person through being a part of this institution and unit, but I also became more confident, proficient, and passionate in my future field.

Not only did this externship make me grow as a future nurse, but I also had a class component with it through University of Missouri- St. Louis (UMSL). Each Monday my fellow interns and I would have a lecture regarding a different aspect of nursing, whether that be central lines, diabetes education, wound and ostomy nursing, etc. I also had to complete a research project for my floor. This class on top of the externship allowed me to apply theory to practice and vice-versa. This is what set this externship apart because it allowed both aspects of nursing education to enhance my learning and skills, truly showing me that this is the right field for me.
Ever since I was a child, I have been interested in music. Whether it was playing, recording, or listening, music has been a driving factor. In high school I realized I also had a passion for math and engineering. One afternoon, my sister approached me with a problem. Her speakers in her room had stopped working. Going through the process of fixing them was the first time I saw my love for sound and engineering come together.

In 2013, I came to Bradley University to study electrical and computer engineering. I learned about many facets of engineering, but my favorite was the digital signal processing, specifically with audio. The hardest year for me was junior year, where it seemed like the tests and projects would never end. Towards the end of that year, I had the opportunity to interview with Bose Corporation in regards to a co-op during the fall semester. The interview went well and a few weeks later they accepted me as their co-op.

In July of 2016, my wife and I packed up and moved to Boston, Massachusetts to live for six months while I worked at Bose. My title at Bose was Signal Processing Engineer. My job was to develop, analyze, test audio/speech algorithms. I absolutely loved getting to use my engineering skills at a very prestigious audio company. While at Bose, I learned so much about practical engineering. Not only did my technical skills increase, but so did my engineering philosophy.

This co-op was very beneficial. Bose was very generous in the meetings they allowed me to go to as well as the work they allowed me to do. I now know the exact industry that I want to be in when I graduate. Bose showed me that I can do anything that I put my mind to if I am willing to work for it.
In the fall of 2016, I had the incredible opportunity to intern in the PR and Publicity department of DreamWorks Animation in conjunction with Bradley University’s Hollywood Semester. From day one, I started gaining valuable skills and contributing work that made a difference to my team.

As the TV PR intern, I composed daily internal newsletters, created coverage reports to help my team gauge our effectiveness, wrote Netflix loglines for a few of DreamWorks’ TV series, created kid-friendly activities to distribute to our media contacts, wrote captions for key image stills which we released as show teasers, submitted entries for the Annie and Emmy Awards, drafted press releases, worked the red carpet of the Trolls premiere, and even created my own PR campaign plan for the upcoming Spirit TV reboot.

My internship at DreamWorks inspired me to love and appreciate the work of the PR industry. No day was like the one before, and no two tasks ever the same. DreamWorks tested my creativity, resourcefulness, and dependability and I’m proud to say I succeeded. This experience profoundly influenced how I define success and who I want to be in the working world. I cannot begin to express my gratitude to everyone at DreamWorks for making the semester so memorable. For a brief period in time, I got to be part of a fascinating company that motivated me to work for the love of the job and to always reach for the moon.
When I was young, I wanted nothing more than to become a vet. For me, the thought of saving animals was the ultimate dream job. Before choosing where to go to college; however, I decided that I didn’t want to be a vet after all. I researched other options and landed on choosing to do my undergrad at Bradley University as a Biology major. I reasoned that doing so would allow me to have the ability to go to veterinary school if I chose to after I got my Biology degree. After four years of study, I was given the opportunity to be an animal care intern at the Peoria Zoo. It was the best of both worlds, working with animals while putting the knowledge I’ve gained in my college courses to use.

I was amazed at everything there was for me to learn about working as a zookeeper. From diet preparation to animal enrichment, I enjoyed every minute of my internship working alongside amazing animals and the caring staff. My favorite animal was the Adabra Giant Tortoise that I made a zipline feeder for as my intern enrichment project. I was able to work with lion cubs and red river hog piglets and even see the baby giraffe a few days after it was born! I was thrilled when the interns were told we could watch the veterinarians work with the exotic animals at the zoo, which only furthered my love for animals and wanting to work with them.

Then, I was introduced to the conservation side of it all. I got to be involved in educating the public about different animals and learn all about species survival programs. Out of all of the things I learned during my internship, conservation was what stuck with me everywhere I went. Conservation is all about saving animals and saving the planet. This was something I knew I could be proud to say that I worked in. I was hooked and determined to set my career towards conservation research.

The experience I gained with such knowledgeable staff allowed me to realize that I could in fact have it all when it comes to the career I wanted. They helped me see that my undergraduate focus on research could overlap with my love for animals and lead me to a desirable career. It was a summer I will always remember with wonderful people I will never forget. I’ve always loved to go to zoos, but I have a much greater appreciation for the work that goes into maintaining such amazing places.
I recall being a mathematically inclined individual ever since I was a small child, while also being very interested in businesses. Fortunately for me, these two passions of mine collided when I decided to major in accounting at Bradley. Despite finding the accounting framework and methodology fascinating, there were times when I was unsure of how these concepts could be applied in a real-world setting. Luckily, upon receiving a cost reduction practicum at Caterpillar, I applied these concepts liberally and in a very real-world setting.

During my first day at Caterpillar, I will admit that I felt very lost. I was unsure of how I was going to contribute to the company in any substantial way. I recall being on the phone with Caterpillar’s help desk for long periods of time just to make sure I had access to everything I needed to have access to. Additionally, I was thrust into a myriad of responsibilities that I was unsure of whether or not I would complete in a timely manner. Lo and behold, I finished all of these tasks with time to spare.

My initial responsibilities included sending out monthly reports to several of Caterpillar’s company contracts, creating and sending invoices to company dealers, sending out margin reports internally, and reconciling multiple company accounts. Performing these tasks monthly helped me to grasp how money flows throughout the company, as well as the more “technical” aspects of accounting, which will prove to be invaluable to me as I enter the workforce full-time.

As time passed, I became in charge of multiple other responsibilities. I became the administrator of Caterpillar’s DataMart system, granting access to whoever needs the data within DataMart (a program that contains data related to margin, revenue and inventory). I also began to send out additional reports, even creating a tutorial for a report system called Dealer Part Order. In addition, I became involved in a cost reduction project seeking to reduce company costs by $10 million!

This practicum has been invaluable to my personal and professional development, and has cultivated my technical and interpersonal skills in a multitude of ways. I look forward to continue to learn and grow for the remainder of my time at Caterpillar.








The five selected winners of the 2016 Outstanding Co-op/Intern of the Year Award will be honored in the following ways:

  • $200 award sponsored by Caterpillar
  • Commemorative acknowledgement
  • Name and picture displayed on plaque in the Smith Career Center
  • Name and picture in the Scout
  • Name and picture on the Smith Career Center website
  • Recognition at various events in Spring 2017


Application Information

If you have an outstanding experience as a registered co-op or intern during 2017 and meet the application guidelines, please consider applying for the award. Guidelines and applications will be available for the 2017 Outstanding Co-op/Intern of the Year Award during the fall semester of 2017. Eligible applicants must successfully complete a registered internship course with the Smith Career Center during 2017 and must be a continuing student in the spring of 2018. For more information, please contact David Schwartz at the Smith Career Center.

Previous Outstanding Co-op/Intern of the Year Award Winners