Indiana INTERNnet: My Experience With A Virtual Internship

Bicentennial Internship Immerses Student in State’s Future Visioning

andreAndré Zhang Sonera is serving as a Bicentennial Visioning Liaison with the Office of Indiana Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann. The Visioning Project is a Bicentennial legacy project focusing on Indiana’s future. The project brought together thought leaders throughout the state to identify “big ideas” for Indiana’s future, which will be compiled into a book that’s expected to be completed this summer.

Indiana INTERNnet: What have you been responsible for during your internship with the Indiana Bicentennial Visioning Project?

André Zhang Sonera: “As a Bicentennial Scholar, my role on this project is coordinating the logistics of each (visioning) session. My job requires me to look at the big picture and make sure that all the knots are in place and ready to go for the event. From coordinating the venue to making sure that everything is running smoothly and efficiently for our experts – logistics are an essential component to the success of our sessions.”

IIN: Describe how this internship is helping you grow as a young professional toward your career goals.

AZS: “This internship has provided me the unique experience to gain in-depth knowledge about our state. It is not every day that you have the opportunity to meet and learn from the brightest Hoosier minds as they share their passion and vision for a better Indiana.

“This experience has also helped me develop insight into how the government works at the state level, nurturing my passion for public service and sparking an interest for a career in government.”

IIN: What have you learned so far about Indiana? Has anything surprised you?

AZS: “Each session is focused on important topics that shape the future of our state. Thanks to the research and data presented by Dr. Breanca Merritt from the IU Public Policy Institute at the beginning of the (first) session, I now have a better understanding of the current and future state of Indiana regarding a variety of important topics.

“But my favorite part is hearing the innovative ideas of our experts as they gather together to envision the future of Indiana. At the end of each session, I have a sense of belonging and pride of being an ‘honorary’ Hoosier.

“I definitely would encourage other students (K-12 and college) to get involved with their towns and counties and partake in this unique experience. It is not every day that we get to celebrate our state’s Bicentennial, and it is an incredible opportunity to contribute a legacy for future generations.”

See the in the January/February 2016 edition of BizVoice magazine.

A Look Back at my Summer with the Chamber

It’s hard to believe that my internship is coming to a close. The time that I have spent here at the Indiana Chamber of Commerce has provided me with great opportunities to learn more about what the Chamber does.

Writing articles for the BizVoice® magazine has been a challenge and a thrill. Many of the articles that I have written required at least one interview, and sometimes more than one. At first, the interviews were a challenge because I have not done any kind of formal interviews since my senior year of high school. I had to remember all the skills that my high school journalism teacher had taught me.

Interviews were also a thrill because I never knew what I was going to learn next. Every person I talked to had an interesting story to tell about what their business is doing and their path to getting where they are now. It was incredible to hear what they had to say.

Along with great experiences, I have also met many great people. Those that I have had the pleasure to work with have been amazing. They have been helpful and wonderful to work with. There have even been days when I have wanted to stay at the office later or come in on my off days because I enjoy everyone’s company.

As I prepare to head back to Milwaukee for my final year, I want to thank everyone who made my internship a success. I will never forget the experiences that I have had here at the Chamber, and I know that they will be invaluable in my future job search.

Our New Intern Awaits Summer of Learning

Going into the final stretch of my junior year of college, I faced a slight glitch in my summer plans…no internship and no job. I did not have any plans for the summer. I knew that the internship I had during second semester of my junior year would soon be coming to a close, yet I had failed to make plans for what I would do this summer.

I knew that I wanted to spend the summer at home with my family, instead of with my friends in Milwaukee at Marquette University, so I went to Google, where I found Indiana INTERNet. I was able to easily search for internships in the Indianapolis area and in the field that I wanted to work in.

I started applying for anything that was still open, and eventually ended up applying for about a half dozen positions, and not even 24 hours after applying I heard back from the Indiana Chamber of Commerce. I couldn’t believe that I was already starting the interviewing process, and that it might actually be easier than I thought to get an internship for the summer, even with a late start.

So, here I am, about a month later, sitting in the Indiana Chamber as a part-time communications intern, and I couldn’t be happier. I am only in the office two days a week, and I am learning valuable information that can be used as I pursue a future in public relations. What more could I ask for?

In the two days that I have been working, I already feel as though I have learned a lot by sitting in on meetings and interviews conducted by the BizVoice magazine writers. I have even written a couple of press releases, edited an article and put together fact sheets for an upcoming Chamber event.

I think the one thing that I will enjoy the most about this internship is that I am getting a taste of what it will be like after graduation next May. I work in a cubicle, and I have an hour and 15 minute commute. I am enjoying the “adult life.”

I am looking forward to an unforgettable summer of great experiences and learning at the Chamber. I may not have a summer of fun in the sun like some of my friends, but I am glad to be here — and most importantly, I can’t wait to see what else this internship has in store for me.

Internship Possibilities (From an Intern’s Point of View)

Megan Schuman is a student a DePauw University. This blog entry was originally posted at Inside INdiana Business:

This summer was the ultimate internship experience. Not only was I an intern, but I was an intern for Indiana INTERNnet – the free internship matching program linking employers, students, high schools, colleges and universities.

I learned about internships while doing my own internship. I conducted research, wrote blogs and attended conferences about why students should have internships, why employers should hire interns, how internships are the perfect recruiting tool and how internships retain Indiana’s talent.

Not only did I hear about the benefits of an internship, but I experienced them too. I actively thought about my internship as a test-run for my actual career: What size company would I want to work for? What are the local opportunities unique to Indianapolis? How can I grow my own professional network?

Now, I’m the biggest advocate for experiential learning. And why not? Internships are the best possible experience for college students. There are a whole host of advantages such as college credit, fulfillment of degree requirements, application of academic coursework to the professional world, exploration and verification of career interests, and discovery of ideal job aspects.

Internships don’t just benefit students either. For the employer, hosting an intern can allow you to provide a student with a rich learning experience, gain short-term talent, increase diversity within your organization and encourage students to stay local in their community.

I learned other things I didn’t even think about when considering a summer internship. Here are the top five things I learned as a result of my own unique internship experience:

  1. Networking: I can’t stress this enough. I e-mailed Indianapolis-area folks I wanted to meet, and I wasn’t shy. I listened and conversed about their pasts, my future and took some copious notes. This is, without a doubt, my No. 1 take-away from this internship.
  2. Corporate culture: As one of the few interns in the office, I wasn’t treated like just “the intern.” I was respected as a fellow employee, and I responded with the same attitude. I appreciated being treated like a valued employee, and I didn’t want to let my fellow employees down.
  3. Numbers (and other seemingly minuscule details) matter: As a nonprofit, Indiana INTERNnet relies on grant funding. Grants depend on numbers, metrics and accurate reports to help measure impact. For me, metrics were a challenge. I’ll never again forget to quadruple check. This is where I learned to slow down – consider the details, review and then proceed.
  4. You’ll never know if you don’t ask: My main project this summer was our new intern engagement initiative, “Indy Interns.” With little funding and a group of excited interns, grant writing and simply asking for donations was imperative. And 99% of the time it worked! You truly never know what will happen if you don’t at least try.
  5. Think: This sounds simple, but I was shocked to learn one of my ideas developed into one of the major aspects of our fall grant proposal. Just because you’re an intern doesn’t mean you can’t have valuable ideas to contribute to the discussion. Don’t be afraid to speak up.

Never once did I fetch coffee or pick up dry cleaning. On the other hand, I did write my own grant proposal and letter of intent, coordinate a series of summer intern events and contribute weekly blogs to our site, If you had asked me two months ago what exactly it was I’d be doing this summer, I would have blubbered about writing or assisting with miscellaneous projects. But I’ve had several projects that I call my own. I was given responsibility and independence, and in return, my supervisors expected dedication and quality work.

Suddenly, the summer is nearly over, and I have a beefed-up portfolio, a whole host of new contacts from the community and an experience I would never replace. Even better, I’ve gone from a confused college sophomore to a prepared, experienced and connected college junior.


Indiana INTERNnet, the free online internship matching program of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, offers assistance for companies looking to start or enhance an internship program. The Indiana Employer’s Guide to Internships and a monthly electronic newsletter are available through the Indiana INTERNnet web site,, or by calling (317) 264-6852.

Receive HRCI Credits at Internship Workshops

This blog was originally posted at Indiana INTERNnation.

Don’t miss out on your chance to earn six Human Resource Certification Institute (HRCI) credits at one of three upcoming internship management workshops.  Indiana INTERNnet has partnered with Intern Bridge, the nation’s leading college talent consulting and research firm, to deliver the Total Internship Management Roadshow in Fort Wayne, Indianapolis, and Evansville.

The Total Internship Management Workshops will provide national internship best practices to Indiana employers, strengthening the state’s mission to reduce the “brain drain.”  Based on just-released data from over 100,000 students attending 500+ universities nationwide, the workshops will provide key data and metrics surrounding topics such as supervisor selection, work structure, compensation, working with universities, legal issues and much more.

All participants earn six Human Resource Certification Institute (HRCI) credits and receive a copy of Total Internship Management (a $40 value).  To learn more, visit the following location specific web sites:

January 18, 2011: Fort Wayne, IN –
January 19, 2011: Indianapolis, IN –
January 20, 2011: Evansville, IN –

Summer Interns Available Through Common Goal

Employers who may be seeking summer interns, who may need some extra help, or who may want to dedicate a few weeks to a good cause, consider hosting a high school summer intern through the Common Goal Program.

The Common Goal Initiative is spearheaded by the Greater Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce and a collaboration of educators, community organizations, and businesses leaders who are working to increase the high school graduation rate in Marion County. Common Goal aims to raise the graduation rate to 80 percent and decrease the number of high school drop-outs to five percent by 2012. That is the big picture outcome. For the students we serve, we aspire to nothing short of changing lives that may be on a dangerous failure course. As part of the Initiative, the Indiana Chamber of Commerce has collaborated with the Indianapolis Chamber to help provide at-risk high school students with internship opportunities during the summer.
We are currently searching for employers to host Marion County high school students accepted into the program. Participating employers host students for 80 hours during the summer, usually 4 weeks/20 hours per week at no cost to the employer, as Common Goal provides the internship wage. The students’ interests vary across diverse industries, and this opportunity will help define and narrow the career path they choose.  Prior to the start of the internships, students are trained through a series of business workshops in preparation for their real world job experiences.
This is a great opportunity to gain extra help during the summer while making a meaningful impact in the life of one or more high school students. The Common Goal Initiative has already helped increase the graduation rate 4.72 percent in the 2008-2009 school year over the prior year. Consider this opportunity to become part of the Common Goal Mission today. Contact me (Indiana INTERNnet Program Coordinator Pat Patterson) at [email protected] or 317-264-6863.

Why Internships are Like Ice Cream

As students enter a new school year, I’ve been reminiscing about what was my impending college graduation in May 2000 and the decision facing me: What was I going to be when I grew up?

My desired field was writing. Since childhood, I’ve penned poems and stories, and even formed a rock band in sixth grade. I composed several songs and a few catchy melodies (well, that may be up for debate) on my sister’s Casio keyboard. But, when I considered career options, visions of ice cream danced in my head.

Although I’m a self-proclaimed Sugar Diva (one day, I’ll stop eating cereal and chocolate chip cookie dough for dinner), that’s not why I likened ice cream to job options. Imagine stepping into an ice cream parlor that offers a plethora of flavors, but doesn’t reveal your options. How would you know which flavor to choose? Similarly, I wondered how could I choose a career without knowing which options existed.

Fortunately, completing two college internships provided a taste of what was out there in the “real world.” My stint at a historical society involved research, while my role at a television station included serving as associate producer for a weekly community affairs show and writing commercials. Both internships helped me strengthen (and showcase) my skills, develop networking contacts and gain work experience to include on my résumé.

An invaluable resource today that wasn’t available at the time is Indiana INTERNnet, a free internship-matching program managed by the Indiana Chamber linking employers, students, high schools, colleges and universities. Its free online system connects Hoosier students with in-state employers (in a variety of fields and industries) for internship opportunities. Students can post résumés, search for internship openings offered by registered employers, access job and interviewing tips, and more.

It may sound strange, but viewing internships as ice cream flavors led me to a job I love. Check out Indiana INTERNnet. It just might help you sink your teeth into a new career.

The Intern Chronicles: My First Week at the Indiana Chamber

It has been a little more than frustrating to see my private school education (at Valparaiso University) being put to use in hard labor warehouse jobs over the previous two summers. I was especially pleased, then, when I was accepted to a summer internship here at the Indiana Chamber. I’ve been offered to share how it’s going, and I hope to post weekly updates throughout the summer (if I’m allowed, and if I manage not to accidentally burn the place down).

Just a week in, I can already tell this experience will be different than what I expected. Sure, I figured the profuse sweating and heavy box-lifting of summers past would be gone, but I had a suspicion it would be replaced by making color copies and decafs with cream and sugar.

This will not be an office barista internship, however. In my first couple days, I’ve written a press release, attended a tax conference, covered a news story, and shadowed what seems to be most of the staff members here.

I was also shown a lot of what the chamber actually does. You might know as little as I did, in which case I’d like to share that through my crash-course, I learned the Indiana Chamber of Commerce …

• Is the fourth largest chamber in the country
• Has earned 38 national and state awards since 1999
• Publishes more than 30 compliance and reference guides
• Offers services to more than 26,000 members from all 92 counties
• Publishes and distributes BizVoice magazine to over 15,000 subscribers

Needless to say, I am excited to work this summer with so many talented people in an organization that has so much success to take pride in — and no heavy boxes to lift.