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In Their Own Words: Student Internship Experiences

Summer 2021: JLG Industries

Madison White
Major: Engineering Sciences with a concentration in Systems Engineering
Hometown: Hamilton, Virginia

“This past summer I was a software engineering intern at JLG Industries. The office I worked in was located in Hagerstown, Maryland. This internship was a great opportunity to put my skills learned at Shepherd to use. I was a part of an intern team working on a project dealing with connectivity. I had to use not only my technical skills but different skills dealing with collaboration and teamwork.  This was a great experience that I will take into my future career. I learned not only technical skills but other useful workplace skills.”

Summer 2021: Morgan Keller Construction

Sara Hohn
Major: Business Administration and Economics
Hometown: Frederick, Maryland

“I had the opportunity to intern this summer with Morgan Keller Construction based in Frederick, Maryland. I wasn’t sure where in the company I wanted to work, so I left it up to the human resources generalist to place me where they needed. I spent 12 weeks this summer working in the estimating department under the supervision of Bryan Adgate, director of pre-construction and estimating. I had a great group of coworkers that were helpful in aiding and teaching me about project estimating. This internship was great in highlighting both of my fields of Photo of Sara Hohnsmiling and looking at camera with trees behind I was able to learn more about how a business operates, as well as seeing how money is involved with project bidding. I intend to return to Morgan Keller next summer to continue expanding my knowledge in the general construction field.”

Summer 2020: Frederick County State’s Attorney’s office

John French Wilkins
Major: Bachelor of Music in Performance with a Vocal Concentration
Hometown: Frederick, Maryland

“I interned for the Frederick County State’s Attorney’s office in Frederick, Maryland. I was assigned to the District Court Division for the duration of my internship. The majority of my work was synthesizing case briefings for DUIs. Because of the COVID-19 health crisis, my internship moved online. However, once the court opened up again in early August, I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to go into the courthouse on multiple occasions. I was able to see the work I had created assisting prosecutors at trial, sentencing, and other hearings. With my goals to attend law school and become an attorney, this internship provided me with invaluable firsthand experience of the day-to-day career of a prosecutor and a professional mentor. My internship also solidified my choice to pursue law as my career.”

Summer 2020: Research with Dr. Qing Wang of Shepherd University

Heidi Reichert 
Major: Mathematics and Data Analytics 
Hometown: Charles Town, West Virginia

“I had the pleasure of working with Dr. Qing Wang (professor of mathematics) and my colleagues Katey Burner, Brian Crutchley, and Jean-Emmanuel Kouadio. From the summer of 2019 to the spring of 2020, I worked on several subtopics related to mathematical modeling of cancer tumors and treatments. In the fall and spring, I researched the applications and modeling of anti-CTLA-4 antibodies. With the help of Dr. Wang, I created a model and a series of impulsive differential equations to represent interactions among tumor microenvironment participants. Although I was unable to present my work in Fairmont this past March due to the COVID-19-related cancellation of the symposium, in July I entered the WVU Virtual Summer Undergraduate Research Symposium and won first place in my category (Math and Physical Sciences). This project was a wonderful application of mathematics, and I appreciated the look into the modeling and bioinformatics sphere of math. I have previous experience working on bioinformatics literature reviews, but this was my first personal foray into practical research, and I hope to pursue more like it in graduate school. Overall, I loved working on this project and am grateful for the opportunity to have done so.

Summer 2020: Attending Machine Learning Seminars

MaKarie Myers
Major: Data Analytics
Hometown: Martinsburg, West Virginia

“I was unable to find an internship over this summer as funds dried up and programs disappeared due to COVID-19. Instead, I opted to turn my break into a long, independent study session, and one of the ways I did this was by virtually attending seminars put on by WVU about machine learning. The talks generally fell into two groups: lecture and research presentations that implemented the concepts from the lecture. These seminars were mainly intended for graduate students and faculty, so I was at the bottom of experience level for the attendees, and I felt that while listening. I was lost through a lot of the presentations. However, the experience was still valuable. I feel that I’ve come away from these talks with at least a foundation in machine learning and an understanding of the versatility of its applications.”

Summer 2019: Rankin Physical Therapy

Morgan Cain-Bryner                                                                                              
Major: Health Promotion and Exercise Science
Hometown: Berkeley Springs, West Virginia

“I had the great privilege of working as an intern, as well as a tech, at Rankin Physical Therapy in Berkeley Springs. I had the opportunity to work alongside of some of the most supportive and enthusiastic team of physical therapists, PTAs, and administrative staff in this area. During my internship, I had the opportunity to work directly with patients, which allowed me to evolve creatively when implementing exercise regimens, demonstrate proficiency in modalities, track patient progression, and create professional relationships with patients and staff. I was able to apply concepts I learned at Shepherd, such as using modalities, implementing new exercises as the patient progresses throughout therapy, as well as modifying exercise programs for special conditions such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and cerebral palsy. Not only did I gain skills and a practical understanding in a clinical setting, I also acquired a sense of what I am capable of in this field. I will take this experience and the concepts I’ve learned to further my education to become a physical therapist assistant. After my internship at Rankin, I instantly knew this is where I am meant to be.”

Summer 2018: First Data Corporation

Mia Holland
Major: Strategic Communications
Hometown: Harpers Ferry, West Virginia

“At First Data, I was tasked with streamlining communications processes & helping with brand innovation in Washington County, Maryland. I got the opportunity to present my ideas to the company’s top executives who are located in New York. This internship complimented my studies because I was able to apply the things that I’ve learned in class and gain hands-on experience in my field. I think this will help me in the future because I learned a lot about myself and what I want in a career.”

Summer 2018: Putnam County Prosecutor’s Office

Kyle Maxson
Major: Sociology
Hometown: Hurricane, West Virginia

“My role as intern required me to provide comprehensive support to office staff and management as well as attorneys and various law enforcement agencies in numerous matters. I assisted the office legal staff in preparing for trial, witness preparation, and other legal proceedings that arose during my internship. I assisted in the review of evidence related to crimes and reported results; and used various databases, including the office’s case management system by updating files. I also monitored and notated inmate phone calls from the Regional Jail Authority. In addition, when necessary I answered telephones, took messages, responded to inquiries, and provided other assistance to the public as needed. I was even afforded the opportunity to shadow the drug court process in hopes of better understanding the opioid epidemic we face today. One of my main accomplishments of this internship was that I got the chance to learn in a real life setting. I have read about the criminal justice system in class, but to actually get to be a part of it was an unbelievable experience. Getting to see everything in reality brought the concepts from class to life. One of my main goals heading into this internship was to utilize it for the career selection process, as I was still unsure of what exactly I wanted to do moving forward. This opportunity allowed me to observe a vast amount of professions within the criminal justice system. In doing so, I got to see these careers for what they truly were instead of just having an expectation of what they entail. As a result, I was turned away from certain areas, but also became extremely interested in others. For example, I found a passion for rehabilitation of offenders and the drug court process. I also came to understand that there were professions that I had never even considered. Ultimately, the first-hand experience provided at the internship site taught me things that a textbook simply does not cover.”

Summer 2018: National Cancer Institute

Liliana Nuss
Major: Biology (Pre-med)
Hometown: Shepherdstown, West Virginia

“I had the great privilege of working as a research intern at the National Cancer Institute in Frederick, Maryland, for eight weeks this past summer, and as a volunteer for the remainder of the year. With the assistance of several cancer researchers and senior scientists, I am studying the expression of the DIS3 gene and the metabolomes of the pancreatic cancer cell lines PANC-1 and MiaPaCa-2. Our goal is to determine if there is a significant relationship between the degree to which DIS3 is expressed in these cells and the metabolites that they produce. This internship experience has strengthened the knowledge that I have acquired at Shepherd University and allowed me to learn so much about laboratory research and cancer biology, furthering my success as a Biology major. As a premedical student, I hope that my research benefits me by laying the foundation of knowledge that is required to provide quality care for cancer patients, specifically pancreatic cancer patients, in the future.”

Summer 2017: Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park

Rachael Hirsch: “What I am doing at Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park is very important to that area. I learn about the history of the canal, especially in the Shepherdstown and Williamsport area. I take those historical facts and I interpret them and make programs to share with visitors. I get to be outside, educating the public about historical events. I also get to use my experience with historic preservation to help with this job. I’m very excited to see where this internships lead me to.”

Summer 2017: Mason County Historical and Preservation Society

Christopher Rizer: “I was tasked with cleaning and restoring two cemeteries, but I was also asked to document as many cemeteries as I can find. However, the largest part of my internship is actually organizing the historical society and completing the government paperwork. I think that the largest benefit of this internship is learning how to navigate the different levels of government red tape. It’s something that every preservationist has to deal with at some point, so it’ll help to already have that experience.”

Summer 2017: Jefferson County Historic Landmarks Commission

Kara Riley: “My goal is to eventually restore old houses, and I’m learning a lot from the internship. I learned how to do deed chains, a list of all the owners of a property, and was able to accompany a representative from the State Historic Preservation Office through a historic house near Shepherdstown that’s being considered for the National Register of Historic Places. That was a lot of fun to get to go through the house. It was amazing. I think this internship has helped me because I didn’t realize how much paperwork there is and all the guidelines you have to follow to be able to get these houses back to where they need to be. It’s definitely been a learning experience.”

Summer 2017: Robert C. Byrd Center for Congressional History and Education

Patrick Gregory: “My first assignment was digitizing some of Senator Byrd’s 140 scrapbooks Basically for the first two weeks I was scanning. It might seem like menial work, but because of what I’m interested in, which is history and politics, reading the old newspapers and files provided enjoyment along with the work. When I first learned that Robert Byrd was a fan of the Roman Senate and wrote books about it, I instantly knew this was where I wanted to be.”

Summer 2016: Invenergy Beech Ridge Energy Storage Project

Henry deBuchananne, Harpers Ferry

Henry deBuchananne, Harpers Ferry

Henry deBuchananne: “I listened to Polsky’s speech during the inauguration of President Hendrix and his story and what his business is about really interested me. I understood what I would do in the internship would propel me to continue on maybe with that company. I felt like it was the best opportunity to give me a future in the business. I’ve always been interested in alternative energy, and I felt this was the best way to join in. The site is relatively new and they were putting in a new addition starting this fall, so I thought maybe I should give it a shot. The internship more than lived up to my expectations. I learned a lot more than I thought I would. I expected to just do research all day, but they had me do other stuff with them. I just learned lots of new and different things. I got really interested in the project manager side—people who set up new wind farms or solar farms and all the gadgets they use to map everything out. Being able to work with them this summer was really cool, and I am going to be looking into that sort of thing.”

Summer 2016: Washington County Museum of Fine Arts

Jillian McMaster, Middletown, Maryland

Jillian McMaster, Middletown, Maryland

Jillian McMaster: “I know that maintaining a professional artistic setting is something that I wouldn’t have learned at Shepherd. Here we learn how to make art and how to critique ourselves and others based on concept and visuals but we don’t really learn how to professionally present it. We do a little bit for capstone but that’s just for ourselves. I really learned a lot, and I enjoyed learning, how to present other peoples’ work, especially old work. We had to take very, very good care of the old work because they are very old paintings. It was fun. I liked it a lot, especially going through the museum and interacting with the visitors. It was nice to immerse myself.”

Summer 2016: U.S. Coast Guard Operations Systems Center

Photo—(front row, l.-r.) Bobby Plume, Hagerstown, Maryland; Nathan Corp, Frederick, Maryland; and Kenneth Nusbaum, Walkersville, Maryland. (back row, l.-r.) Jonathan Stammer, Oakland, Maryland; Kennedy Cook, Charles Town; Cody Brown, Martinsburg; and Will Richards, Charles Town.

Photographed (front row, l.-r.) are Bobby Plume, Hagerstown, Maryland; Nathan Corp, Frederick, Maryland; and Kenneth Nusbaum, Walkersville, Maryland, (back row) Jonathan Stammer, Oakland, Maryland; Kennedy Cook, Charles Town; Cody Brown, Martinsburg; and Will Richards, Charles Town.

Bobby Plume: “The internship has helped me get an idea of what a professional work environment is like. I’ve had a lot of help from my mentors and other staff. It’s a good experience all around.”

Jonathan Stammer: “This is my first experience in a professional working environment. The mentors were very helpful and I enjoyed the entire experience and it will help me with my future studies.”

Kennedy Cook: “This was also my first experience in a professional environment, the first time experiencing government work. This was a great experience. I’ve learned a lot.”

William Richards: “Having an internship has helped me get a foot into the door. The biggest thing with these kind of jobs is when you graduate it’s hard because a lot of these jobs are looking for four to five years experience but now that you have your foot in the door and you have security clearances, it helps out a lot with that initial push with getting a job after graduating.”

Summer 2016: KRM Associates Inc.

Lisa Butler and Keenan Hollida

Lisa Butler and Keenan Hollida

Lisa Butler: “The nice thing is they will continue to keep me on. KRM really believes in the intern program. It’s something they really strive hard to work closely with Shepherd with. They try to find students who are doing well and that they can guide and mold along the way in their career. When you first come into the computer engineering department, one of the first things they tell you is because technology grows at the speed of light it’s very hard to keep up and teach all the most advanced and newest things. With a degree, you’re learning a lot of theory. The internship, I think, is helpful in stringing those pieces together. They’ll take what your advanced theory and maybe some of your beginning programming skills and really hone and shape that.”

Keenan Hollida: “I feel a lot more prepared for the real world now that I’ve done an internship. I’m comfortable with what I do now and I feel I can go out into the workplace and contribute.”

Summer 2016: History Internships

Photographed (front row, l.-r.) are Stephen Staubs, Ranson; Dakota DiMagno, Martinsburg; Drew Harris, New Market, Maryland; Brittany Williams, Damascus, Maryland; Ashley McLaughlin, Toledo, Ohio; (back row) Lauren Kelly, Charles Town; Hunter Shockey, Hagerstown, Maryland; and Meaghan Papeika, Annville, Pennsylvania.

Photographed (front row, l.-r.) are Stephen Staubs, Ranson; Dakota DiMagno, Martinsburg; Drew Harris, New Market, Maryland; Brittany Williams, Damascus, Maryland; Ashley McLaughlin, Toledo, Ohio; (back row) Lauren Kelly, Charles Town; Hunter Shockey, Hagerstown, Maryland; and Meaghan Papeika, Annville, Pennsylvania.

Steven Staubs, Robert C. Byrd Center for Congressional History and Education: “It was very interesting and great to work with Sen. Byrd’s archive because he did so much for the state. It will hopefully propel my career in public history.”

Drew Harris, Rose Hill Manor Park and Children’s Museum in Frederick: “I got a lot of firsthand experience with museum exhibits.”

Meaghan Papeika, Historical Society of Pennsylvania: “I actually interned in two different departments. I was in programs and services and the library division, so I did a lot of public programming work publishing stories on the website and just seeing how the library runs day to day. It is a huge collecting library so I got a lot of experience.”