Indiana INTERNnet’s IMPACT Awards Celebrates 10th Anniversary


impactThe tenth time’s a charm!

Indiana INTERNnet, the statewide organization focusing on talent retention through increased work-and-learn experiences, began the tradition of celebrating internship excellence nearly a decade ago by launching the annual IMPACT Awards program. (This year’s event will be on February 3, and you can register online.)

Three winners were honored the first year: Intern of the Year Julie Ann Lesniak, Career Development Professional of the Year Libby Davis of the University of Indianapolis, and Employer of the Year Tucker Publishing Group in Evansville.

Today, the IMPACT Awards is an annual luncheon honoring Interns of the Year in the high school, college and non-traditional categories, Employers of the Year in the for-profit and not-for-profit categories and a Career Development Professional of the Year. Indiana INTERNnet will honor its tenth group of award nominees and winners in 2016. Co-founder and CMO Angie Hicks of Angie’s List will be the keynote speaker.

All honorees come from nominations submitted by the public, and winners are chosen by a panel of impartial judges. Use the online form to submit your nomination(s) in any or all of the categories by October 23.

That first group of honorees set the standard for years of inspiring stories of accomplishment by interns and on behalf of interns. Here is a sampling of some of the great work of Hoosier colleges/universities, interns and employers:

From 2012: In more than 20 years at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, Susan Gresham has proven to be a “high-energy, positive-thinking, driven and motivated leader.” As director of the Career Development Center (CDC), she leads a staff that thrives on student success. Among the initiatives led by Gresham:

  • A learning contract completed by both the student and intern employer
  • Site visits to every internship location within the state with site supervisors, through an evaluation, assigning a letter grade that accounts for 40% of the intern’s grade
  • Actively recruiting employers to campus for class presentations, panel discussions and special events
  • Establishment of an orientation program, providing interns with a name badge, business cards and leather portfolio to ease their transition into the business world

From 2013: One measuring stick of internship success is whether or not the opportunity leads to permanent employment. After serving as the 2012 governor’s public service summer intern, Casey Spivey began working as a full-time benefits specialist at the Indiana State Personnel Department (SPD). Today, she is the facility human resources director.

Spivey made an impact by assisting in the development of sourcing and recruitment plans for “hard-to-fill” positions. One organization she aided was the Hoosier Youth Challenge Academy (HYCA). She equipped the academy with a career fair plan – including advertising contacts, a detailed timeline, session speakers, newspaper ads and flyers.

“Casey basically went through a 12-week job interview with our organization with outstanding results,” states Nicole Russell, division director of talent acquisition for the Indiana SPD. “To go from student to governor’s intern to state employee is a feat to be acknowledged.”

From 2015: “2014 has been a year of excellence for our internship program,” says Valerie Wilson, chief of staff, Baldwin & Lyons (B+L). And it’s easy to see why.

  • 96% of interns reported their job responsibilities were challenging but attainable
  • 63% of interns with at least junior standing were converted to either full-time or part-time employment or another internship
  • 100% of interns expressed interest in working for B+L upon graduation

The employer-intern connection doesn’t end with the internship at B+L. This fall, employees assembled care packages with encouraging notes to send their former interns during final exams. Staff also makes an effort to visit when they are on college campuses for career fairs.

View the list of past winners online.

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