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University of Illinois Springfield

Department of Business Administration University of Illinois Springfield

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Alyssa Wright

IN HER OWN WORDS

“I would take this opportunity again and again given the chance.”

Supervisor Anne Dietz with Alyssa Wright

Supervisor Anne Dietz with Alyssa Wright

My name is Alyssa Wright and I recently graduated with Bachelor degrees in Business Administration and Management after completing a final internship over the summer of 2013. I interned in Springfield, Illinois with Cargill, and my internship was focused in the field of human resources. Cargill is an international producer and marketer of food, agricultural, financial and industrial products and services. Cargill employs 140,000 people in 65 countries to help customers succeed through collaboration and innovation.

During my internship I was given the opportunity to showcase my strengths and gain experience – the internship proved to be a very rewarding opportunity to say the least. I am so grateful for the responsibilities and empowerment I have been given at Cargill. They have been very trusting in me, and I am proud to work for a company that recognizes their employees and understands the importance of the HR role and the incentives that go into rewarding and recognizing top employees. Best of all, the experience and knowledge go with me wherever I go – it is an advantage that will help me throughout my life and career.

I can’t imagine how unprepared I would be entering the workforce if I not had this AST experience.

  • I may have never had the opportunity to have such a wonderful mentor coaching and guiding me, and helping me mature even when I did not think I had much growing up left to do!
  • I may have never realized that I need collaborative working relationships, even with people who may not want collaborative relationships with me!
  • I may not have come to understand that I need more knowledge in the field before I can truly become an effective resource – I know the basics but I’m nowhere near the status of a qualified recruiting manager or leader yet.
  • It would have been overwhelming to be introduced to a new role with everything thrown at me; whereas this opportunity has allowed me to actually learn, gain and grow instead of just do, finish and accomplish.

The only thing I would change about my AST is to make it longer. I would have liked more time to accomplish all the objectives I set out to achieve in my learning contract – I would take this opportunity again and again given the chance. I feel I have grown from a student to a professional during this experience. I feel proud because I am now able to handle more responsibilities, tackle new challenges, gain the trust of my leaders and managers by working with them one on one,  and proving that I am willing to do whatever it takes to contribute and build a successful career for myself.

The advice I would give to other students is to treat everything as a learning experience and to take full advantage of every opportunity, especially ASTs. This was not my first AST as I had previous learning experience at a local non-profit and in a marketing/advertising role. When I began studying business I was interested in the marketing and advertising fields but that experience helped me realize that is wasn’t the right role for me; however I added to my overall understanding of business processes. Looking back, I’m thankful for the opportunity to realize marketing wasn’t the field for me and to light a flame under my true career interests in human resources. Now I have attained a full time position with the company I interned for, and I look forward to learning more and advancing my career.

One key to making my internship so beneficial was finding a company that was highly interested in contributing to my learning experience, not just having me do part time work and essentially “holding down the fort” for a short time. While it took time to find an employer like this, it was worth it because of the countless opportunities it gave to me.

The different projects I was able to be a part of included:

  •  Collaborating on Cargill Cares projects – community involvement activities including a back to school drive and other fundraising initiatives.
  • Managing an employee engagement survey and building action plans to address communication and other issues as results of the survey.
  • Learning about the processes and policies for background checks, verifying employment and other compliance efforts.
  • Working directly with the operations leaders on the importance of safety and ethics in the workplace. I worked on health and wellness efforts and made posters for each quarter to give motivation and incentives to employees to be more active and healthy.
  • Designing newsletters to increase communication and sharing information between our six locations.
  • Personally organizing a large event for over 500 attendees including employees and customers called the Annual Customer Appreciation Day, which was a huge success.
  • Learning about diversity and equal employment opportunity programs.
  • Creating new hire binders, onboarding and training of new employees.
  • Doing phone screens for job candidates as well as posting jobs.
  • Managing employee medical, personnel and I9 files as part of an annual records audit.
  • Taking part in the employee interview and new hire process from beginning to end, including all the paperwork that goes along with it.