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University of Iowa News Release


Jan. 17, 2007

UI Students Move to Des Moines For Spring Semester Internships

The University of Iowa's Des Moines Center Internship Program kicks off today, with 15 students getting ready to spend the spring semester living in Iowa's capital while interning for businesses and organizations in the area.

The program is designed to not only provide on-the-job training for UI students, but also to also demonstrate the career possibilities that Iowa has to offer.

"Professional mentoring and service learning components of the program are designed to make students aware of the great number of opportunities available in Iowa for their future careers," said Gerald Wickham, director of experiential education in the university's Marvin A. and Rose Lee Pomerantz Career Center. "Students will explore new directions in Iowa and make strong connections for their futures. The creation of the Des Moines Center is a statement of commitment to the state of Iowa, and we are deeply committed to making this a win-win success for employers and our undergraduates."

The students will begin their internship with an orientation program this week and start their work experiences on Jan. 22. Employers hosting the interns include Wells Fargo Financial, the Des Moines Public Library, Iowa Association of Business and Industry, Science Center of Iowa, Iowa Communications Network, GeoLearning, Broker Dealer Financial Services, Iowa Historical Foundation, Blank Park Zoo, World Food Prize Foundation and the Iowa Cubs.

Students will earn 12 credit hours for the internship while also participating in several service-learning projects and attending a class at the Pappajohn Education Center. The course, "Images of Iowa," will allow students to explore issues related to Iowa's future. Gerald Sim of the UI Department of Cinema and Comparative Literature will teach the course at the Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center.

The program will also feature a guest lecture series involving notable Iowa leaders, entrepreneurs, and state dignitaries. Frank Russell, CEO of GeoLearning and 2005 Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year, will headline this series.

Wickham said more students will be able to participate in future Des Moines Center Internship programs, and more businesses and organizations will be involved. Employers who have already committed to participating with the program in the future include: Allied/Nationwide, State Farm, Holmes-Murphy and Associates, the Independent Insurance Agents Association of Iowa, Krause-Gentle, the City of Des Moines, the Iowa Starz, Relationship Marketing and Downtown Community Alliance.

The 15 students selected for the program are excited about the experiences they expect to have over the coming months.

"After my internship interview, I was so impressed with the teamwork and all of the staff," said Nermina Topanica, a marketing major from Coralville who will intern with the Global Youth Institute of the World Food Prize Foundation.

Other interns found their family members were even more excited than they were.

"When I called my mom to tell her about my internship, she cried," said Antwon Simmons, a computer science major from Chicago who's interning in the Web interface development department of Wells Fargo Financial.

Other interns include:

--Chanel Ahrendsen, a marketing major from West Des Moines, interning in Web development/marketing for GeoLearning.

--Kathy Bogs, a marketing major from Indianola, interning in event planning/management for the Des Moines Public Library.

--Andrew Buscher, a communications major from Des Moines, interning in business development for the Iowa Association of Business and Industry.

--Tory Flack, an English and theater arts major from Waterloo, who is an interactive experience intern at the Science Center of Iowa.

--Courtney Frank, an international studies major from Urbandale, interning in communications projects for the Iowa Communications Network.

--JaNae Ketterling, a sociology major from LaMoure, N.D., interning in human resources for the Iowa Communications Network.

--Kelsi Kautzky, an English major from West Des Moines, interning in membership/foundation development for the Iowa Historical Foundation.

--Ryan Mullen, a finance major from Naperville, Ill., interning in investments operations for Broker Dealer Financial Services.

--Allison Payne, an English and psychology major from Urbandale, interning in brand development for the Iowa Communications Network.

--Brett Pleima, a finance major from Oskaloosa, interning in project management for Wells Fargo Financial.

--Trevor Swanson, a health and sports studies major from Indianola, interning in team and stadium operations for the Iowa Cubs.

--Jamie Tolliver, an environmental biosciences major from Sac City, interning as an animal ecology researcher at the Blank Park Zoo.

--Sara Will, a marketing major from Cedar Falls, interning in marketing/children's programs for the Des Moines Public Library.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Service, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Tom Snee, 319-384-0010,

PROGRAM CONTACT: Gerald Wickham, director of experiential learning, 319-335-1023;