July 26, 2023 | Meghan Gracy

Two intern students. One seated on a bench, the other leaning on a table.

School of Business student Naomi Ross sits outside her internship at SpartanNash, and School of STEM student Shemaiah Kamran poses at her internship at Progressive AE.

GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN—For Calvin University students looking to dip their toes into their future industry before graduation, an internship is the best route.

This job experience allows students to gain practical knowledge, develop essential professional skills, and establish meaningful connections in their respective fields. These qualities help them stand out in the post-graduate job market because students aren’t the only ones who value internship experience. According to an annual survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), employers prefer hiring candidates with relevant experience.

Incoming juniors Naomi Ross, Shemaiah Kamran, and rising senior Ethan denDulk provide insight into the solid foundation they’re building for their future careers in their current internships.

Naomi Ross, Class of 2025, School of Business:

After two years of majoring in operations and supply chain management and minoring in accounting and data analytics, Naomi landed an internship as a corporate strategy intern at SpartanNash. The role has provided her with the perfect platform to go beyond classroom instruction and take her knowledge to a whole new level.

"My goal is to graduate from Calvin with a well-rounded understanding of business that encompasses knowledge and experiences that extend beyond my major and the classes I take for it,” she shared.

The internship at SpartanNash has been a transformative experience, equipping Naomi with the skills to analyze various facets of a business, draw meaningful insights from research, and formulate strategies on a vast scale.

In fact, she has already contributed significantly to macroeconomic research and completed a strategic analysis within the food distribution industry. Her work is set to reach numerous associates and leaders in the company.

Shemaiah Kamran, Class of 2025, School of STEM:

Shemaiah, an engineering major with an electrical and computer engineering concentration, wanted an internship directly related to her studies. She discovered Progressive AE at a career fair and utilized the Calvin Alumni Network to apply and ultimately accept the electrical engineering internship.

"I have appreciated the hands-on experience in the industry and learning how to approach problems with an engineering mindset,” Shemaiah explained. 

She also describes the internship experience as a “remarkable journey” and enjoys collaborating with fellow engineers on her team, providing valuable assistance in designing and developing lighting and power plans for diverse projects.

Shememiah has found this role not only professionally fulfilling but spiritually as well. She strives to live wholeheartedly during each shift by integrating her Christian faith into her professional demeanor. She practices mindfulness toward others while still adhering to design norms in her work. And honesty remains at the core of her work ethic, as she diligently completes tasks to the best of her abilities, ensuring a positive and impactful presence in the workplace.

Ethan denDulk, Class of 2024, School of Business:

For Ethan’s summer internship between his junior and senior years, he assumed the critical role of being the primary contact and buyer for Innotech, a Chinese-based homecare manufacturer (and unrelated to the West Michigan car part manufacturer).

“I wanted the internship to gain real-world insight into the side of business I’ve only been studying,” Ethan said.

He’s on track to accomplish his goal as he efficiently manages supplier relationships and provides obsolescence reports, supplier reviews, and system updates. In addition to those job functions, Ethan also developed and updated an onboarding program for new suppliers, which involved creating several presentations and handbooks.

Thanks to the internship, Ethan has gained valuable hands-on experience. When he graduates in 2024, he’s already equipped to navigate the day-to-day challenges inherent in supply chain operations, particularly when dealing with international suppliers.

Naomi, Shemaiah, and Ethan have all greatly benefited from their internships and recommend other college students consider internships related to their degrees. To find the perfect internship, they recommend speaking with the Calvin Career Center, connecting to the alumni network of over 55,000, and engaging with potential employers on LinkedIn.

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