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The best internships are enriched by alumni

By on January 9, 2014 in Academic News, Alumni News, Campus News with 0 Comments
Caroline Nikolaus interned in Africa at Neema House Baby Home.

Caroline Nikolaus interned in Africa at Neema House Baby Home.

Some of the most valuable internships Abilene Christian University students enjoy are those made possible by ACU alumni.

The cover story of ACU Today magazine’s new Fall-Winter 2013 issue is “The Power of Internships” and chronicles the experiences of students last summer from Abilene to Africa, and beyond.

One of them was served by Caroline Nikolaus, a senior psychology major who interned at Neema House Baby Home in Tanzania, along with senior marketing major Katelynn O’Hara. Their internship was facilitated by ACU’s WorldWide Witness program in the Halbert Institute for Missions. Neema House is a one-year-old ministry of Michael (’65) and Dorris (’66) Fortson, missionaries to Tanzania from 1965-71 who felt compelled to begin it after seeing large numbers of orphaned and abandoned children when they visited there with their children in 2008.

Mike Willoughby, CEO at pfsWeb, regularly hosts interns and hires ACU grads.

1986 alumnus Mike Willoughby, CEO at pfsWeb, regularly hosts interns and hires ACU grads.

Alumni such as Mike Willoughby (’86), Holt Lunsford (’85), Steve Mack (’82), Deanna Rankin (’83), Chris Courtright (’84), Scott Woolfolk (’87), Darbie (Wilson ’03) Angell, Kenneth Plunk (’85), Chad Baker (’99), Dr. Amy (Berry ’95) Fuller, Dr. Virgil Fry (’74), Rick McCall (’81), Kay Lee Gibbs (’10), Conner Halstead (’10), Donna Stone (’85), and April (Bullock ’89) Anthony are just a few of many who “pay it forward” by regularly hosting ACU interns or looking to their alma mater for graduates when hiring.

Anthony has hired more than 60 College of Business Administration grads since 2004 to work for her two Dallas companies, Encompass Home Health and Homecare Homebase.

Matt Sanderson (’13) interned with Chad Baker (’99) at Jones Lang LaSalle before joining the company full-time in Summer 2013.

2013 grad Matt Sanderson interned with Chad Baker (’99) at Jones Lang LaSalle before joining the company full time in Summer 2013.

In “All in the Family,” a sidebar to our cover story, Anthony explains her philosophy: “Really, there is nothing more you can ask for in a new hire. ACU is doing a great job of preparing them to be outstanding professionals. You can find talented young people in a lot of different places, but ACU has the highest consistency of delivering great candidates to our organization. Trust me, that is not a philanthropic effort on my part. We hire them because they are outstanding assets to our company.”

Baker explains why he hired Matt Sanderson (’13) for his Houston office after seeing him at work in a successful internship last summer: “Matt has Christ as the center of who he is, which certainly drives his excellence with work, follow-through and overall engagement. God certainly blessed our efforts in the eyes of my leaders, my clients, and certainly, from my perspective.”

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