Still Unsure, But Well Guided Maddy Shupe ’19

Story Written By Guest Blogger: Maddy Shupe ’19

There is only so much to be learned in a classroom. Throughout my Hope experience the most fulfilling and guiding moments have been outside of the classroom and in internships within my area of interest.

In the spring of 2018, I participated in the Washington Honors Semester through the Hope College Political Science Department. The program prepares students for careers within and outside of political science through classes, interviews with Hope grads in the D.C. area, and an internship of the students’ choosing. With an interest in law and human rights, I was blessed to intern with International Justice Mission (IJM). IJM is the largest anti-slavery organization in the world. I got to work and learn alongside people who are passionately making a difference in the world, while supporting them everyday and hearing their stories.

The most beneficial part of this experience was not the work I did daily–it was the people I did it with. My specific role within IJM was nowhere near where I could see myself working in the next 5-10 years. I almost didn’t take the position because I knew that there were other options within and outside of IJM that would be more narrowly tailored to my skills and goals. But I am so glad that I said yes. The key thing I’ve learned about internships and entry level positions is that my specific job title and tasks are insignificant compared to who I am working for and who I am working with.

My internship with IJM allowed me to grab coffee and chat with people that I want to be like in 5-10 years. I was mentored and given advice as to next steps now and after graduation. In large group interviews (similar to the ones I sat in with my Hope College peers) I got to learn about the different roles and positions that make up a large international non-profit. I learned that even though my heart is pulled toward non-profit work, I should go into corporate or government first to get well trained and gain more experience. I learned that I can have a career in law and have a family, and a social life! I learned that I can wake up and be excited to go to work as long as I enjoy the people I work with and who I am working for (i.e. firm matters, position doesn’t).

Since working at IJM, I have started an internship at a firm in Zeeland, as well as shadowed a District Court Judge in Kalamazoo through the DiscoverWork Program. Both experiences have cemented my view–in very different ways–that people matter when it comes to career discernment. The most fruitful times have been when my supervisor and I are chatting while shredding paper, or sitting in Judge Hemingway’s office talking about how she prepares to sit on the bench. I have been blessed with so many mentors that have given me advice and listen to me process next steps, and it is because of them that I am where I stand today:

Still unsure of what’s next, but well guided.


Ten Reasons to Come to the Internship Fair

An internship can be a great experience to launch you into a career later on and build lasting connections and skills. In short, here are 10 reasons why you should come to the internship fair this coming Wednesday:

1. Gain great work experience

This one is pretty obvious, but you have the chance to work in a field of your interest while gaining valuable skills and knowledge to discern your future career.

2. NetworkinG

You have the change to meet and connect with many companies and organizations who will be valuable additions to your network at the fair, and an internship will also broaden that network even further.

3. Build your résumé 

An internship on your resume may help you stand out among other applicants for the same position, and the fair gives you a change to get your résumé out to potential employers. Stop by the Boerigter any day Monday through Friday from 3-4:30 PM to get your résumé reviewed.

4. Great for Gap-Years

If you are looking for something short-term after graduation, an internship may be the perfect experience. If you are unsure of the next step, or are planning to start a new job or schooling after the summer, an internship could be a great transition opportunity.

5. understand potential careers and fields

An internship is a great way to see what life is like in a career or field you may be considering. If you aren’t positive about a certain career, an internship can help you discern the future. You may love the internship and decide to pursue a career in that discipline, or you may find something else within the company intriguing and have a chance to connect with people practicing in that area.

6. Get a feel for new industries

Like understanding careers, internships are also the perfect option to find out more about a specific industry you are curious or passionate about.

7. Summer plans

Some internships look for positions available only during the summer. If you don’t have summer plans, an internship may be the way to go. Maybe you’ve been a camp counselor or worked an entry level summer job for the past few summers and are ready for the next step of an internship.

8. Work with diverse and new groups of people

Build and form lasting relationships with people of different backgrounds, education, and experiences. Internships allow you to work in a more real world setting which equips you to interact with people outside of the Hope community.

9. Internships can lead to full employment

Many people are offered positions within a company after an internship experience. The time spent in an internship allows you to get to know people in the company and make a good impression and a great applicant for a full-time position. Doing this can ease the stress of senior year knowing you have a job on lock-down.

10. There will be ‘H’ Cookies!

Need we say more?!

Join us Wednesday, February 27th from 3-5 PM in the Bultman Student Center to connect with employers offering internships. You can find more information and register on Handshake.

Prep Steps for the Internship Fair

“The expert at anything was once a beginner” – Helen Hayes

Did you know that Hope is hosting an Internship Fair on January 30, 2019 from 3-5 pm in the Bultman Student Center? Here are 5 quick tips that will help you prepare:

  1. Do some research

Inside Handshake you will find a list of all the companies that will be at the fair. Find the companies that you are interested in and do further research. Being able to mention a mission statement, or a goal the company is working towards  will help you stand out.

  1. Have a good resume

Your resume is your own personal advertising and marketing tool, making sure that your resume captures everything you have done and want to portray is essential. We recommend printing 10 copies of your resume to the fair. We can help you polish up your document during our drop in hours from 3:00-4:30 pm Monday-Friday at the Boerigter Center for Calling and Career.

  1. Be ready with your elevator pitch

Having only a few minutes to sell yourself can seem intimidating, however you are capable of doing it well! Check out this blog which includes great tips on how to write a great elevator pitch.

  1. Dress the part

Not only can looking good make you feel great and increase your confidence, you may leave the employer with a lasting impression. For this fair we encourage business casual attire. You can get ideas on how to dress from our blog or Pinterest board.

  1. Follow up with the company

When you are done introducing yourself and asking questions make sure to ask for business cards before you leave. If they do not have business cards make sure you ask for the potential employers name so that you can follow up with a thank you note or possibly a LinkedIn connection.

The Internship Fair will be held in the Bultman Student Center on Wednesday, January 30, 2019 from 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm.  Hope to see you there.


The Value of an Internship: Pam VanPutten ’87

With over half of the semester behind us, you may be starting your search for a job or internship for the spring or summer of 2019. This past week, I had the pleasure of speaking with Pam VanPutten ’87, Coordinator of Mentoring & Internships in the Center for Ministry Studies here at Hope. All who know her love her, and her advice is just as good.

What is the value of internships for college students?

“Internships are a wonderful way for students to get hands-on, practical experience working with an organization or business. Not only does this help equip students for working somewhere in the future, it also gives them insight into leadership, organizational structure, work ethic, and so many other valuable opportunities.

Students have been immersed in an academic culture for many years. Having the opportunity to be in the workforce allows them to see different expectations and give them ways to mature and grow. It also gives the student an opportunity to contribute to an organization and have a valuable impact. Students often come up with solutions or fresh insights that can be very valuable to an organization.”

How have you seen students grow personally and professionally through an internship program?

“Internships reveal the day-to-day details of a job. Administrative skills, communication skills, and specific expertise related to a job are often learned in an internship setting.  Students also have opportunities to learn the soft skills of life in an internship. Showing up on time, following through with projects, time management skills, adaptability, and working well as a team can be very valuable concepts to learn through an internship.”

How are the specific internship classes helpful in students reflecting and growing from their internship position?

“The Ministry Minor has an accountability component regarding internships. Every student is required to submit 4 journals each semester during their actual internship experience. The students are given prompts regarding their internship experience, what they are learning about various aspects of their internship and how they are developing personally. In the Ministry Minor, students are also asked to reflect on how their faith impacts their experience.

I have the privilege of reading and grading these journals for the Ministry Minor. The growth and development that comes from each student during their internship is amazing! There is a definite change in the student as well as a positive impact on the organization as well.”

VanPutten wanted to note how valuable she believes the experience of an internship can be and says,

“I highly encourage every student to take advantage of an internship experience during or after college. The amount of growth as well as the impact they can have an organization is limitless.”

Wherever you are in your internship search, the Boerigter Center would love to help you on your journey. Make an appointment today or call our office (616-395-7950) to get started!

Owning Your Internship Experience

Are you hoping to gain real-world work experience before graduation? Internships can be a valuable way for you to connect with employers, practice skills you have learned in your courses, better understand your skill set and identify areas for growth, and learn more about potential careers after graduation.

Although it can seem that most of the pressure is on you to prove your worth to a company, an internship is also an opportunity to decide if the position is a good fit for you. Some internships may fit very closely with the work you want to pursue in the future, and others may be filed as additional experience, helping you to decide what you don’t want. The main things to consider are whether you can see yourself in a similar position to the full time employees you are working with, and if there are additional courses or skill sets needed for you to hold this position. Ask about industry trends – are some skills becoming outdated, or are new areas becoming more important for newcomers who want to be competitive applicants?

Be sure to look at aspects outside of the work you are doing as well. This is a company you may spend a significant amount of time working at, and it is important that the industry or company culture fits your needs. What is that culture like? Do people participate in sports or activities outside of work? Do they seem to enjoy working together? It can also be important to know whether these trends are specific to the company you work for, or if they are normal for your industry.

This can also be a great opportunity to learn more about your coworkers. How long have they worked in different positions or with other companies? What have they enjoyed about their time in this industry, and what advice do they have for you as you join the workforce? An internship is a perfect time to build professional relationships and connections that can help you when you are ready to pursue full-time work.

Growing in the Real World with an Internship: Student Experiences

Looking for ways to build your resume and gain professional experience? An internship might be the best choice for you! Internships can prepare you for your career and life after college by letting you explore your interests. Many Hope students participate in experiential learning opportunities during the summer and during the school year. If you want to hear some of their stories, keep reading!

Jason Gomory is a senior majoring in Business and minoring in Leadership and Mathematics. He interned at Steelcase this summer and said about his experience that

“One of the most impactful learning experiences since being at Steelcase is, you must be passionate about the work that you are doing. This passion will help you in solving problems you don’t yet know how to solve. This passion will help to calm the nerves before walking into a meeting with senior leaders, and this passion will flow into your work and will lead you to excel as a member of any team you are apart of.”


Another senior who had a summer internship was Daniel Foy. He is majoring in Communications and interned at the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. When asking about his experiences, Daniel responded saying

“My internship at BCBSM was challenging, rewarding, and fun. It was incredible to work collaboratively with other interns and professionals in the Corporate Communications Department. Throughout my time, I participated in projects and wrote blogs to share with others inside and outside of the corporation. It was great to be able to apply the concepts I have learned in my classes here at Hope to Corporate America. I will forever be grateful for this opportunity!”

With an internship you will not only build your resume, but also, like Jason and Daniel, you will be able to develop your skills, put class theory into practice, and grow professionally. If you have any further questions about internships or need help with the search process, please explore the Boerigter Center for Calling Career’s website and click on the “prepare” section and/or stop by the Boerigter Center’s office located in DeWitt.


Elevator Pitch: Engaging an Employer in Less Than a Minute

Career fair season is in full-swing, and there is nothing more important at a fair than to standout amongst the crowd and win employers over. One of the central aspects to presenting yourself at a career event is having a quick elevator speech to present to employers. An elevator speech is a brief introduction that you give about yourself that seeks to highlight your best qualities and show a recruiter or employer why you would be a good candidate.

Here are some tips and tricks to knockout your one-minute conversation:

Start with a note card

It sounds simple, but writing out what you want to say on a small index card helps to condense your pitch to the basics. Since you only have about a minute to give the run-down on who you are, it’s important to use specific and targeted language. By having to fit everything on a note card, you will better be able to focus on what really matters.

What does matter?

Start with your name. It might be obvious, but don’t forget about introducing yourself, what you’re studying, and where you go to school. Once you’ve covered the simple basics, grab the attention of your audience. Don’t just give a rundown of all of the things that you’ve done, but make yourself an attractive candidate by exemplifying your qualities and expressing how you specifically fit the job or place of employment.

Do Your Research

Especially in the case of career fairs, know who you want to talk to and why. If you know a company or the recruiters you can cater your speech to that specific employer. This shows initiative and a desire to work for their company. It also helps you to better exemplify your qualities and experience because it is catered toward the job.

practice, practice, practice

You might feel silly looking in the mirror or asking your friend to practice, but doing this step can help you feel more comfortable and confident. Additionally, looking in the mirror and seeing yourself talk can show you how you may talk too fast or say “umm” a little too much. Elevator speeches always feel uncomfortable. Sometimes it can be weird to talk about yourself, but know that this is normal. Practice so that you can be confident when it’s game time.

post-pitch prep

It is not a bad idea to pose a question at the end of your pitch and be prepared for any follow-up questions. Ask the employer about a project you saw in the works on their website, ask about work environment, or think of something you want to know about the company. Be creative and be direct. Know how to answer questions an employer may pose in reference to your pitch.

Ultimately, it’s important to feel good about what you say. Be intentional about taking the time to craft a pitch and know what you want to showcase about yourself. Dress the part and carry confidence as you present your unique qualities and goals.

Internships with Jena Gasworth

“The only source of knowledge is experience.”- Albert Einstein

By the time a student graduates from Hope College they will have participated in some form of experiential learning opportunity. One way is through an internship! Here at the Boerigter Center for Calling and Career, Jena Gasworth works with students who are searching for these types of experiences.

Jena has answered 10 questions that Hope students typically have about internships:

1. What is your role at the new Boerigter Center for Calling and Career?

I work with all things related to internships. I meet with students who are seeking internships whether it is local, back home, or off-campus. I also work with internship faculty teaching internship courses and employers seeking interns.

2. What is your favorite part about working with internships

The internships I had while I was in college helped me discern what I wanted to do in higher education. I love helping students connect their interests to real world experiences.

3. About how many Hope students end up getting an internship?

Annually, we have about 300 Hope students who have an internship for credit. Hope’s Graduate Survey stated that as of 2017, 96% of students were involved in some kind of experiential experience such as an internship, DiscoverWork, student-faculty research, or off-campus study.

4. What resources should students take advantage of/focus on while searching for an internship?

Handshake is a great resource for looking for opportunities. “How-to” guides on our BCCC website are very helpful for resume and cover letter help which is essential for the internship process. Also, career fairs are good for networking with employers.

5. Which year is typical for students to get an internship? What is the timeline like?

Students can do an internship any year. Sophomore, junior, and senior year are most common because you need to have declared your major if you are seeking an internship for credit. Timeline-wise, there is a big push for summer internships starting in the fall. Some companies will wrap up all of their hiring up by Christmas. There is another big wave in the spring (Jan./Feb. for summer opportunities). Usually students should look a semester or two in advance for their internship.

6. Do I get credit for an internship?

It depends on the student’s declared major. They must take a course that is tied to their major, and their faculty supervisor must sign off on it. There is typically a four credit class where they meet outside of their internship. If the internship is over the summer, there is an online course that goes along with it.

7. If I do an internship that is not related to my major/career path, should I still put it on my resume?

Yes, absolutely! It is still experience that results in building transferable skills that can be taken with you to a job or another internship. Employers like seeing internship experience and the path that led you to apply at their business.

8. Are all internships unpaid?

It depends on the organization. I would say about half are unpaid.

9. What are the benefits of getting an internship local vs. in another state/country?

If a student does an internship through an off-campus study program like Chicago Semester or The Philadelphia Center, it is usually a full-time internship. On top of that it involves navigating a new city! Local internships are usually about 10-15 hours/week while juggling other classes and projects. Both give great working experiences.

10. Overall, do you have any advice for students about internships in general?

I advise students to apply for 20+ internships. Sometimes students get so fixated on one or two internships, and if they apply for more they have a better chance of getting one. Also, if you need any individual help the BCCC is here to help! If you put in the effort, it can open up more opportunities for job search and networking.

Sometimes, an internship can rule out something you do not want to do, and that is okay! Your attitude about it makes such a huge difference; what you put into the internship is what you get out of it.

The Boerigter Center for Calling and Career wants to help students in their search for internships. Students can use our readily available resources along the way. Come check out our new office on the first floor of DeWitt!

Get in a Group: Sessions to Help You Navigate Calling and Career

Centered in connecting, Boerigter strives to meet with every student across campus. In this mindset, we are now offering group sessions. This opportunity will allow you to meet in a setting of around 5-10 students to engage in learning and asking questions in a variety of topics. Whether you are in your first year as a Hope student or have a few years under your belt, there are sessions that can likely cater to some of those common questions about resumes, interviewing, and more.


Calling all freshman discerning majors and careers — in an exploratory advising session we will assist you in the process of figuring out what to study and how to explore your areas of interest. If you are thinking of off-campus study or have no clue how to narrow in on a potential major, this session can help you get started with what it means to find and pursue your passions and interests in life.


Internship Overview

Thinking about applying for an internship? Whether you are thinking of summer options or future semesters, it’s important to feel confident about the basics of internship, how to find work specific to your goals, and how an internship can prepare and launch you into your future career. This session is a great start to get you putting your best foot forward and to set you apart from others.



Along with seeking employment comes interviewing, which can be a daunting notion to both those with little and those with plenty of experience in the world of interviews. However, with more knowledge and techniques of how to interview well, you can feel more confident in utilizing your personality and skills in order to feel calm, cool, and collected in your next interview. This session will provide you with an understanding of what it means to display who you are, demonstrate what makes you an excellent candidate, and answer the tough questions with ease.


Networking & LinkedIn

If you are seeking summer employment or looking into future careers, it’s helpful to get your name and face out there for employers to see. This group session will allow you to understand the general process of networking and provide access to alumni in your areas of interest. Additionally, the session will equip you with the tools to use LinkedIn successfully and help you to understand the process of informational interviewing in order to stand out in the networking process.


Personal Statement Preparation

Thinking about graduate school? This workshop will help you get started on one of the first things on the checklist to applications. Personal statements are a way that a graduate school can get to know you, and this session will provide you with an understanding of how to best compose this statement. What to showcase and how to present yourself to a school can be explored within this group process.


Resume & Cover Letter

One of the most basic steps to securing a job is having a solid resume and cover letter. From never making a resume before and having no idea where to start, to trying to hone-in on what can make your cover letter stand out, this group will help point you in the right direction. Resume and cover letter sessions will involve how to properly format each and what information to include. Plus, you will be able to better grasp how to gear your resume and cover letter to the specifc job you’re seeking.

Group sessions will be starting this September. For more information or to schedule yourself into one of these hour-long sessions, please call us at 616.395.7000, or stop by our new location on the first floor of Dewitt.

Hope Students Conquer Internships

Isn’t summer the best?  Ice cream, bonfires, picnics, the beach and warm temperatures!  Here at Hope many students are also spending their days participating in summer internships.  Take a peek at what a few students have been up to!

Kelly Arnold, Senior, Communication Major (Digital Marketing Focus)
Where have you been interning this summer? 
This summer, I’ve been working as a Digital Marketing Intern for Herman Miller. I work under our Senior Digital Product Manager who helps maintain Herman Miller’s digital offerings both in and outside the company such as Omni, our dealer intranet. I also help out all around our Digital Marketing team on a variety of projects.
A day in the life:
Includes sitting in on meetings, performing user acceptance testing for a soon-to-come website launch, and working to prepare the right documents and data to assist with website content and development. 
What have you learned?
I’ve learned a lot about the technical side of digital marketing, Also, as a Communication major, I’ve been dropped into the business world, which at first was a big learning curve but I’ve loved the challenge and the growth I’ve seen in myself since I began.

Share with us more about the internship program and culture

As far as the program itself, it’s been an experience rich with opportunity. Everyone I’ve come in contact with has been friendly, kind, and excited to share their story with me about their career and their time with the company. One out of every four Herman Miller employees has been here for 20 years or more and this summer I’ve seen why. Employees are treated with care and respect and the work culture is just the best. From our intern project sponsor, to my company-assigned mentor, to my Work Team Leader (my boss), to others who I work with frequently, I truly feel that those around me have invested in me and genuinely care about my growth and professional success.

**Picture featured above: Kelly’s (fourth from the right) intern project group. Two group mates are also Hope students!

Amy Dkystra, Sophomore, Business Major and Leadership Minor

Where did you intern this summer? 

I was a claims intern at Broadspire in Lake Zurich, IL! Broadspire is a Third Party Administrator, which is a subsidiary of Crawford and Company. I personally handled claims for many companies such as Uber, Chipotle, Gordon Food Services, and Ecolab.
What did you learn from your internship?
I did not know what to expect of a role in the insurance industry, but learned many valuable lessons through my mentors and projects. Although my internship was mostly in adjusting worker’s compensation and commercial automotive/liability claims, I also was able to learn more about different roles within the company such as operations, carrier an relations.
What are other things you enjoyed about your internship?
My managers and co-workers took the time to get to know me personally, as well as answered any questions I had about the industry. I sincerely enjoyed my time at Broadspire, and would definitely consider an insurance position in the future!! 

Jarod Wolters, Senior, Business and Economics Major

How has your internship impacted you this summer? 

In my time at Haworth, I have seen first hand the value of my Liberal Arts education (Hear me out, because even as a senior I hadn’t fully invested in that idea). My role allowed me to apply techniques from within my major, but also from outside of it –  including Art and Communications. One major component of my role was data visualization, so having taken two Design courses helped my analysis carry an impact. Along those same lines, I presented out my findings to a team of my superiors, so knowing I had the skills to do so confidently was great!

What was something that surprised you?

One area that surprised me was the emphasis on StrengthsFinder within the company. Haworth has an Internal Development team that leads courses on it and they spent the better part of a day with the interns working through each of our results to see how we can leverage them in our day-to-day lives. Most of the other interns had not heard of the assessment before, so already having a bit of background going into the discussion was helpful. Oh, and three of my five skills changed from freshman year, which was kind of fun to see!

We know there are many more students having amazing experiences this summer and we want to hear all about them. Be sure to send us an email at to share your story. You might just find you will be our next feature!