Graduate Intern Programs
During 2017, the GPSI program is celebrating 43 years of public service (1974-2017). If you are a former GPSI intern, we would like to hear from you. Please please contact the GPSI Director, Sherrie Elzinga, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Leadership Lived: UIS Graduate Student Works to Finish Education Following Military Deployment
Like most graduate students, Francisco Solano planned to finish his MBA at the University of Illinois Springfield in two years. However, his plans were changed by a military deployment.
A year and a half into his education, while in the middle of a Graduate Public Service (GPSI) internship with the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), Solano got the opportunity to deploy for a year with the U.S. Army.
“That interrupted my internship as well as my studies,” he said.
A few months before returning to the United States from deployment, Solano reached out to the GPSI Program to discuss how he could finish his education at UIS.
“I contacted the GPSI office and told them that I was still interested in pursuing the internship and completing the program,” he said. “They were nice enough to allow me to come back and finish the program.”
For 43 years, the UIS Graduate Public Service Internship Program has been helping graduate students receive real world experience working in state government.
“(UIS and IDOT) did go out of their way to make everything work so that I could return in time and so that both of our timelines would work,” said Solano.
Solano commissioned as an active duty solider in the U.S. Army in 2010. Upon starting graduate school, he left active duty and joined the Illinois Army National Guard where he currently holds the rank of captain. Reflecting on his experience at UIS, Solano is glad he made the choice to come to Springfield.
“What I like the best about UIS specifically is that they have the resources of a large university, but they give the attention of a smaller university. The student to professor ratio is excellent,” he said.
Although deploying in a middle of his internship wasn’t his original plan, he’s happy with the way that things have worked out.
“It wasn’t my initial plan, but everything just kept falling in place,” he said. “I’ve kept with it and it’s worked out great for me.”
The annual GPSI Recognition Breakfast was held on Thursday, April 13, 2017, in the PAC, 2nd Floor Lobby. Annually at the GPSI Recognition Breakfast, the GPSI office recognizes interns who will be graduating from UIS and leaving their internship as well as award winners of the Sagarika Madala Memorial Award for Exemplary Leadership and the Brian T. Milbrandt Memorial Intern Award for Excellence.
At the annual GPSI recognition breakfast held on April 13, 2017, Neelu Lowder, Manager at the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, received the the Sagarika Madala Memorial Award for Exemplary Leadership in recognition of her outstanding leadership as a GPSI supervisor and mentor. Neelu is pictured with Jeffery Cronin, Neelu’s GPSI intern, who nominated her for the award.
Marleigh Voigtmann, a GPSI intern with the Illinois Department of Public Health, was honored as the recipient of the 2017 Brian T. Milbrandt Memorial Intern Award for Excellence. The award was presented at the GPSI annual recognition breakfast held on April 13, 2017. Marleigh is shown on the left with Janet Nuss, her internship supervisor. Marleigh’s degree will be in Public Health.