Mary Kate Header

A student’s perspective.

As a student enrolled in a School-to-Work program, I’ve experienced firsthand the many benefits the program provides. In November 2016, I was fortunate enough to secure an internship at Kuder. I couldn’t be more excited to let you know what I’ve been doing since I started, and how School-to-Work has already been valuable to me as a student.


My internship at a glance.

Kuder has welcomed me as an intern for a little over six weeks now. In this short time, I've designed an e-card for clients, reviewed Kuder’s website analytics, put together a slide presentation for a company-wide meeting, and, of course, prepared this blog post.

These experiences are priceless in the sense that I’m gaining real-world work experience before I even leave high school. If I weren’t working at Kuder, I would most likely be sitting in a classroom watching the clock tick by, but instead I've been a part of a real job environment working on real tasks.

I completed all my required credits by the end of my junior year, so that left me with an hour and a half of my day wide open. By choosing to participate in the School-to-Work program, I get yet another hour and a half for a total of three hours to work in a setting outside the classroom. Many seniors with open schedules choose to sleep in or leave early. But I'm choosing to do something that I feel is a big investment in my future. By involving myself in an internship I feel much more accomplished and confident for what the future may bring.


How I got here.

I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do with my life before I started the School-to-Work program; however, with the help of Kuder Navigator®, my career interests and skills were revealed. Navigator provided me with potential career fields that best matched my skills and interests.

My Kuder assessment scores were high in marketing communications and marketing management, so my School-to-Work program placed me in an internship that began in Kuder’s marketing department. (I was amazed to discover that my internship would take place at the very company that produced my career assessments!)

While I'm at Kuder, I’ll also get to spend time in other departments such as sales, client engagement, training, and accounting. I feel this exposure will be helpful to me in pursuing a career in business in the future.

Thankfully, I felt fully prepared to begin my work at Kuder. My School-to-Work instructor taught me skills that I could easily transfer to this job – and all future jobs. She gave me tips on resumes and appropriate workplace attire, along with proper etiquette for the working world, plus insights into the company culture here at Kuder. I participated in mock interviews, which familiarized me with potential interview questions and how to  present myself professionally in a job setting. 

With the combination of Navigator and the School-to-Work program, I've had the confidence I needed to dive headfirst into my internship. I’m gaining real-world work experience, and that’s something few students my age are able to say for themselves.


Facing the unknown.

Any concerns and stress about not knowing what I wanted to do with my life vanished as soon as I began the School-to-Work program. The information my teacher provided eased my fears about how to survive and even thrive in a job setting. We focused heavily on positive interactions with others in every aspect of a job. I was even prepared for what to expect on my first day, since my teacher touched on potential responsibilities and tasks related to my position at Kuder.  

The School-to-Work program, and this internship, have opened my eyes to many possibilities, opportunities, and networking connections. I’ve seen the importance of building relationships before and during my internship. Working at Kuder has allowed me to work independently on projects while also interacting with my teammates, who give me feedback when needed, and share their insights with me in meetings. Through my interactions with others I've learned the importance of building relationships, but I've also learned how to problem-solve on my own when others can’t help. It’s encouraging to know that my coworkers trust me enough to complete projects on my own without their constant supervision.

In many ways, I’m not only discovering potential career fields, but I’m also gaining the confidence that I can tackle any project I set my mind to. I’ve learned that I’m equally satisfied to work with others as I am to work independently. This means that I’m adaptable, which is reassuring because I know this will set me up for success in the future, no matter where I end up career-wise.


More to come.

In my next post I’ll share more information about my experiences in the School-to-Work program, and in particular, about my internship experiences here at Kuder. I’ll touch on the ways this program can have a huge impact on students and everyone they encounter along the way. I’ll also share the perspectives of administrators and previous School-to-Work interns. So check back soon!

  1. internships

About The Author

Mary Kate Gray

Mary Kate Gray is a School-to-Work intern for Kuder and a senior at Waukee High School in Waukee, Iowa. Her Kuder assessment results pointed to marketing and communications. She plans to attend Central College in the fall of 2017, and is considering a major in international business and busi ... read more