By Heidi Sundstrom, Communication department intern
Going into her freshman year at Calvin, Jess Grow knew she wanted to be an event planner. But just in case she changed her career choice, she wanted a major that would allow her different options. Grow, a 2010 graduate, decided on Business Communication. Coming out of college, she interned with Sara Lee as a Meeting Planner and ended up having a position created for her at that same company. What’s her advice for future CAS majors? “The more internships you have, the better! Take advantage of Calvin’s size and opportunities for internships.”
Grow is a poster child for internships. As a freshman, her adviser notified her of an internship for event staffing with The Association of Behavior Analysis International. Not only did she intern there, she was able to do the same internship the next year in Phoenix, Arizona. During her third year at Calvin, a co-worker told her of an internship working at Rainstar Marketing – a company focused on social media marketing and created by a Calvin graduate. The summer after her final year, Jess began her internship with Sara Lee.
The advice from helpful advisers and professors was invaluable to Grow. “Get to know your professors,” she says, “They are wonderful people with more life experience than you! One of the great things about Calvin is the size. All of my professors knew my name, and this allowed me to get to know them better.” The size of the school helped Grow academically as well as relationally. While she acknowledges that the curriculum can be tough at times, “Calvin gives you the chance to succeed. I received free tutoring in all the classes I struggled in, allowing me to keep my GPA up.”
Does Jess feel that Calvin prepared her for life after college? “Yes! If it weren’t for my communication adviser, I never would have realized how important internships are. I would just like to emphasize internships: If you come out of college with just a degree, you are the same as any other prospective worker. If you come out of college with a degree and multiple internships, you are ahead of the game!”
Jess Grow is currently working with Sara Lee in a position created specifically for her. She is able to use the knowledge she learned in both her Business and Communication classes to help plan national sales meetings, maintain the communication website, and manage multiple other responsibilities. Her final words on her experience at Calvin? “I really enjoyed it – I made quality friends and received a great education!”