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Monthly Archive for March, 2012

Internship Spotlight: Brian Hendries, Cerebral Palsy of Mideast WI

Brian Hendries, Accounting Major

 

Who Is Cerebral Palsy of Mideast Wisconsin?

Cerebral Palsy of Mideast Wisconsin is a non-profit organization located in Oshkosh that provides services and advocacy for individuals and families with developmental and other disabilities. Cerebral Palsy started in 1954 and has since grown to provide services in nine counties in Northeast Wisconsin. Some of the services Cerebral Palsy provides include:

  • After school program allowing the parents and guardians of children with disabilities to work longer during the day
  • Out of home respite care which provides parents and guardians welcome relief from the burden and stress of caring for individuals with disabilities
  • Independent living assists and supports individuals with disabilities to live more autonomously

How I Got The Internship

Honestly, the internship came out of left field. As a class project for Governmental and Not-for-Profit Accounting, our task was to meet with a local non-profit organization and prepare a report to present to the class. The organization that my group reported on was Cerebral Palsy.

While chatting with the  Assistant Director at our meeting, I happened to mention I was looking for an internship, and she responded—coincidentally—that she could use an intern. I showed interest and was basically hired on the spot!

My Experience

I’ve done pretty much everything under the sun, as I am the only accounting intern in the office. So far I have worked with creating invoices, receiving payments, paying bills, reconciling bank statements, preparing aging accounts receivable reports, and allocating costs, along with many other things.

I’ve also been dealing with helping getting the organization back on track after it was discovered a former employee was not doing her job. She had not been billing many of our clients’ providers (sort of like insurance companies for individuals with disabilities), and approximately $50,000 worth of services went unbilled. It has been my main project the last six weeks to match every misplaced invoice with every payment and to make sure every single item has been properly billed. I can honestly say enjoy what I do. It gets frustrating sometimes, but on those days when I find that I am able to secure a few thousand dollars for the organization that might have never been forthcoming as a result of my former colleague’s carelessness, the frustration is instantly relieved.

Internship Spotlight: Nana Adjoa Coleman, Theda Care Medical Center

I got my internship at Theda Clark Medical Center through the help of Chad Kopitzke, one of the internship directors at the Business Success Center. I started working at Theda Clark as the Accounting Intern on February 6, 2012.

 

Above is a picture of Mrs. Theresa Moore and I, the director for the laboratory unit at Theda Clark. I was really scared on my first day at my internship because I did not know the scientific terms Mrs. Moore and my immediate supervisor, Mrs. Krueger, kept using in their conversations. I was really confused as to the kind of help I was going to give to that unit because I could not understand the scientific terminology. However, I was able to calm down after Hollie, the financial personnel for Theda Clark came to talk to me in “our common language”, which is accounting. Mrs. Moore was showing me a pictorial diagram of the Value Stream System I am going to help to create for the laboratory unit.

 

Above, Hollie was showing me the time table for the Value Stream System and where we are currently on the time table while Alex Hunt was crunching some numbers. I have been able to apply the skills I learned from the Quantitative Business Analysis class as well as the knowledge about the Value Stream System. I acquired from the Managerial and Cost Accounting and Advanced Cost Accounting classes.

The two pictures above shows me with my immediate supervisor, Mrs. Dena Krueger in the lab checking information on the equipment I am going to create the Value Stream System on.

Nana Coleman, Accounting Major

Here we go! And that is my small and quiet office! I really enjoy crunching numbers here because I need all the attention I can get to concentrate on my work. Overall, I love working at Theda Clark because the workers there are friendly and my supervisors are awesome!

Internship Spotlight: Matt Grabowski, Oshkosh Defense

Matt Grabowski, Finance Major, Contract Administration Intern

Company Overview

With such broad diversification, Oshkosh Corporation is able to maintain its strong competitive advantage when it comes to the world’s toughest specialty vehicles produced.  Since 1917, Oshkosh Corp. strives to produce safer, faster and more efficient vehicles than previously used.  Oshkosh Defense, a segment of Oshkosh Corporation, is where I am currently interning.

My role with the Contracts Management Group

When asked if I would like to apply for the Contract Administration intern position, my first thought was “what is that?”  The contracts management group consists of two segments, production and aftermarket.  Production refers to the vehicles being produced, whereas aftermarket refers to replacement parts and parts necessary for upgrades.  My role in the aftermarket department consists of preparing quotations, submitting bids, tracking and reporting throughout many databases and notifying personnel once awards are received or any problems that may arise.

Having a finance background is very helpful when it comes to conducting analysis on why past purchases might deviate from the current price of a part.  Because I am the first contract administrator intern for the aftermarket group, one of my many projects has been to create a binder of all the day-to-day operations for future interns, to make the process a little smoother.  Over the past two months, I have learned a great amount of knowledge on the acquisition process and being a contractor for the government. I have also had the opportunity of taking online courses to enhance my knowledge.  I enjoy working in a professional environment, while still having very friendly and helpful coworkers nearby.  I am able to attend weekly, monthly, and quarterly meetings and they have been a great educational and networking tool for a possible future position with Defense.

My advice to students

Post your resume to Titan jobs and frequently update it.  Instead of going through the application process, I received an email one day.  It was from the HR department at Defense, and she mentioned she noticed my resume online.  An interview was scheduled for the next week and I began this awesome opportunity shortly after.

Internship Spotlight: Sara Brown, VITA

Sara Brown, Accounting Major

What’s VITA?

VITA stands for Volunteer Income Tax Assistance and provides free tax filing to those with low income, defined as less than $57,000.  There are numerous VITA sites in across the country, and I am working at Goodwill NCW in Menasha.

I had first heard about the VITA program as part of my tax class.  However, as someone who lives in Appleton I didn’t consider volunteering in Oshkosh to be a worthwhile position for me.  It was only recently that I discovered a VITA site much closer to home in Menasha.  Finally, I had found my opportunity.

I will admit VITA was not my first choice for an internship.  Taxes have never been a strong area of interest for me, yet I can’t find myself regretting the decision because I have been able to become more active in the community through interacting with taxpayers.

Community

I have now experienced the range of happy and kind taxpayers to not so happy or kind ones, yet this is simply par for the course, and I simply do the very best I can.  We are objective interpreters and do not pass judgment on anyone.  VITA has helped me be open to a more diverse set of people.

Volunteering Has Its Own Rewards

In an unpaid position, my only payment is the ‘thank you’ I receive from the client whose tax return I have just filled out.  I can’t deny the good feelings that these words conjure inside me.  It is rather rewarding to work directly with a person in helping them complete this necessary task.  It is also rather fun when the refund amounts to more than they were expecting.

Who would want to do taxes?

Using the resources available to me, I was able to file my own return for the very first time because of the confidence I had gained helping others to file theirs.  Tax class helped me to a point, but it wasn’t until I had experienced the process first hand that I was finally willing to do it myself.  This is a skill I fully intend to use into the future for preparing both my own and family returns.

Nothing Wrong With That

In the end, I actually wish I had pursed the opportunity more diligently and participated in this wonderful program much sooner.  It has also helped to reaffirm my career choice in accounting because I have become more brave in interacting with others and gained an appreciation for a topic I previously wanted nothing to do with.

Internship Spotlight: Ben Brecklin, Kohler Company

 

Ben Brecklin, Supply Chain and Operations Major

Company Overview: Kohler Company

Kohler Company was started by John Michael Kohler in 1873. The first product created by Kohler Company was the standard bathtub. He did not know that this product would be the beginning of the Kohler Company.  The Company has continued to grow and Kohler is now a globally recognized brand.  Many people are familiar with the bath and kitchen appliances that Kohler sells, but are not aware of the many other businesses that Kohler is involved in.

Kohler Company consists of four different segments: Kitchen and Bath, Furniture and Tile, Engines & Generators, and Golf & Resort Destinations. Kohler Company entered the Power Systems industry in the 1920s. This is the particular division of the Kohler Company in which I work.

My Role with Kohler Company

I began my Purchasing Co-op in January 2012. I will be in this position until August 2012. I have really enjoyed my Co-op so far here at Kohler. I am able to represent the Purchasing Department at the material Review Board meetings and also attend the Production meetings daily.  This is a great experience because I can learn how a company handles issues with materials and how everybody works together to make sure that production runs smoothly on the lines.

I have just begun to see the planning side of the Purchasing Department. I process material resource controllers daily, managing 1,000 parts and $5 million in spending. In this role I need to communicate with about 15 suppliers daily to expedite and push back purchase orders. I also complete the monthly metric reports for individual buyers as well as for the Director of Purchasing.

Learning Experiences

I have been given the opportunity to work on various projects in this Co-op position helping to make an impact on the success of the Kohler Company.  I am currently in the process of consolidating one of our packaging suppliers. My goal was to eliminate one of the companies we order from while getting a better price from one of our present larger suppliers.  I had to first identify the brand and make of the materials ordered from one of our smaller suppliers.  I then had got quotes from our larger suppliers and was able to move our order over to them.  This will be more cost and time productive for the Kohler Company since we now have one less supplier to interact with when ordering. I have enjoyed this project because there are so many different aspects of the business involved in the project. I have really enjoyed my Co-op so far because my work makes an impact on the business and I face various challenges on a daily basis.

I was hesitant at first to apply for this Co-op because I knew it would push back my graduation date. After working here at the Kohler Company for only 2 months, I know I have made the right decision. I have learned a lot these past two months and I still have six more months to learn and apply even more skills. I know this experience is valuable and will better help prepare me for the workforce once I graduate in December 2012.  I have learned that I should go for new experiences and should be open to any new learning which will broaden my resume. If you are open to new experiences and want to learn than you will be very successful in not only just in your Internship or Co-op but also in your future career!


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