“I recently attended a dedication ceremony for a Habitat for Humanity partner family, and the father hugged every single one of us there. He was so appreciative of what Habitat was doing for his family, that he felt even the small work I was doing in the office was directly benefiting him. He and his family touched my heart, and I know I have helped improve the lives of one family within Delaware County.” – Kristen Kalinowski ’11
OWU senior Kristen Kalinowski has experienced firsthand, the joys a family feels as they begin the process of owning their own home, and, at the same time, has learned a great deal about housing issues within Delaware County. Kalinowski, a psychology major and economics management minor, is working as the marketing/public relations intern at the Delaware County Habitat for Humanity. She is responsible for all social network marketing and maintaining a positive relationship with Ohio Wesleyan. Her internship has allowed her to put theory to practice, one of the strengths of an Ohio Wesleyan education.
“I have been able to apply just about every class within my major and minor into this internship, making me believe that OWU was the perfect fit for me and that the past four years have been an incredible investment into my career,” says Kalinowski.
Psychology professor Richard Leavy, agrees that off-campus internships allow students to apply what they learn in the classroom to the greater community.
“Generally, the internships tend to teach more skills than the school experiences provide. The skills learned from the internships and how they are applied vary tremendously,” he says. “In some cases these experiences clarify what the students’ career paths might be. In some cases it confirms expectations that they will do well in the profession. In other cases, it tells them this is not a good fit. In all cases, there is a link made between what students have learned in class and what they see in the world.”
The value of an internship goes beyond what the classroom can provide. Students learn not only valuable professional skills, but also discover their personal motivations for the careers they have chosen.
“My favorite part of my internship has been learning that I am pursuing the right career,” says Kalinowski. “ I truly look forward to working at Habitat every single day. I feel I am good at what I do, and that this is what I am meant to do.”