As a career oriented liberal arts institution, McPherson College is committed to partnering with the McPherson Community to provide students with quality experiences. Last year, McPherson College students spent over 15,450 hours serving the community by participating in internships and field experiences. We are fortunate to have a community that offers so many diverse opportunities for our students.
Laurina Hannan, junior, Wamego, Kan., spent the summer as a reporting intern at the NBC affiliate in Bismarck, N.D.
Barefoot and shin-deep in frigid river water, Laurina Hannan speaks to the camera with an earnest shiver in her voice:
“After only a few moments in the water, I’m ready to get out,” she says.
Hannan, junior, Wamego, Kan., went to great lengths such as these to get the best story possible during her summer reporting internship at KFYR-TV in Bismarck, N.D. In this case, she was working on a story about official warnings to not go swimming in North Dakota rivers, even in the summer.
Taking to the water for a bit herself proved an effective illustration of the point.
During the internship, Hannan had the opportunity to report, write, record and edit about 30 stories for the NBC affiliate from June 17 to Aug. 1. Her favorite was covering a community-supported agriculture farm, where they take organic foods to a higher level - even using draft horses instead of tractors.
Because she knew nothing about this type of farm before, that story in particular encapsulated what she loves about reporting. “I get to learn everything I can about a topic,” she said. “And then
share that story with others.”
She also got a better sense of the long hours of work and travel time often required for reporting, but that didn’t dissuade her from pursuing her career goal of becoming a journalist. However, she did become more firmly decided about one decision - she prefers to work in print.
Hannan is the editor-in-chief of the McPherson College student newspaper - “The Spectator” - so she brought a solid foundation to North Dakota that allowed her to learn the specifics of her internship much faster. She’s also bringing back many lessons to the college as she continues to lead the paper - use more creativity, take a conversational tone and dress for the job you want.
She also took a cue from the news director at the station, who in every meeting would ask a random person something new they learned that day. She now does the same at every Spectator meeting.
“The educational process continues,” she said. “Even when you are a professional.”
The Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tenn., was one destination during Jacee Coberly’s summer internship.
It’s not often that a summer internship gives you experience not with one job in the industry, but nearly every job within a field.
Jacee Coberly, senior, Quinter, Kan., had that rare opportunity with a learning internship in summer 2012 that had her discovering the music industry at all angles
and all levels. Coberly spoke with musicians, producers, composers, songwriters, audio engineers, public relations professionals and
educators in Tennessee, California, and Colorado. She learned more about the daily work required by each job and recorded the
thoughts and lessons she gained from her interviews with these industry professionals.
“This internship wasn’t one specific job,” she said. “The purpose was to explore and see what my options were.”
She started out in Nashville, interviewing people working for producer, songwriter and engineer Robert Marvin at his home studio.
While in Nashville, she also saw performances at the Bluebird Café and Grand Ole Opry and visited the Country Music Hall of Fame. She then headed out to California, where one interview that surprised her was the perspective of CJ Vallely, a sound engineer at Red Rooster Studio.
“By talking to him, I got to hear not only the glorified aspects of the music world. I got to see all aspects of it,” she said. “You have to have tough skin to survive in the music business world. No matter what position you hold, there are people who will try to take advantage of you and not reward you for your work.”
Also in Los Angeles, she shadowed a family member who works as a manager and publisher and whose husband is also a manager. She saw how they worked to balance work and family life, and started to come to a realization: she might not want to spend her life in the music industry.
“This internship helped me to realize what’s important to me,” she said. “I don’t know if I can have that crazy lifestyle and still have a family.”
Fortunately, in Colorado a new possibility revealed itself to her. Following a visit at Belmont University, she also saw a little of the music therapy program at Colorado State University.
“I realized I really like helping people and I love music and that’s a great way to combine the two,” she said. “You don’t have to be a great performer or a great artist.”
After Coberly graduates with her customized Interdisciplinary major in “Music Business” from MC, she’s seriously considering a master’s degree in music therapy.
“I’m glad I had the opportunity to go on this internship ,” she said. “It was very eye-opening. I grew in my knowledge of all the opportunities out there and I grew as a person.”
Sarah Neher, Rochester, Minn., senior, (far right) helped lead a group of high schools students in a service work camp in Puerto Rico as a part of her summer internship with the Church of the Brethren's "Ministry Summer Service."
It was 125 years ago that McPherson College grew from the Church of the Brethren. In her summer internship with the Church of the Brethren “Ministry Summer Service,” Sarah Neher got in touch with Brethren roots that run almost as deep. She represents the fourth generation to attend McPherson College… on both sides of her family.
The Rochester, Minn., senior said growing up in the Church of the Brethren encouraged her to spend her summer in service.
“One of the primary foundations of that denomination is putting your faith into action,” she said. “It’s a way of putting renewal in life and making me feel like I have a purpose.”
Ministry Summer Service gives college students the opportunity to work with a mentor in the Church of the Brethren; serve the church in a variety of essential jobs at the Elgin, Ill., headquarters; and share their leadership abilities by taking charge of weeklong Church of the Brethren work camps for high school students.
Neher oversaw two work camps in Puerto Rico – one painting a church and one painting a community center – and one in Roanoke, Va., assisting a multi-state rescue mission that feeds up to 900 people at every mealtime.
“This was a different level of leadership than I’d ever had,” she said. “If something went wrong, it was on my shoulders.”
The time spent in Ministry Summer Service has confirmed to Neher her planned career direction – to help youth in impoverished areas. After her graduation in the spring, she plans to join Brethren
Volunteer Service, a full-time volunteer program through the church that involves a commitment of one or two years.
“Ministry Summer Service helped me realized that’s something I want to have in my future,” she said. “To have that responsibility.” Even the work at headquarters helped her develop essential skills
– like seeing how an organization works, how to assemble and make sense of statistics, and how to create and keep a budget. Along with this experience, she brings something else valuable back to MC – a $2,500 scholarship for her last year.
The benefit of McPherson College, however, has been more valuable than money, and more intangible.
“McPherson College is the next step, not only on your education, but also on your faith journey,” she said. “It wasn’t just about education, it was about the experience, inside and outside the classroom.”
of the graduating class of 2013 had at least one internship prior to graduation.
of 2013 graduating seniors had a job secured prior to graduation. The national average was 25% according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers