The Cook Family Foundation partners with local nonprofit organizations to provide internships for University of Michigan students. These internships are for graduates from Shiawassee area high schools who have been awarded scholarships to attend the University of Michigan.
Here are accounts from recent internships:
Through my internship with the Shiawassee Arts Center, I was able to work in all areas of the center’s mission to educate, entertain, and enhance the quality of life for members of our community. I spent about 4 weeks educating by working our summer camps for kids at Devries and the Art Center. I entertained on various occasions by learning the information and history of our exhibits so that I could talk to and guide visitors. My favorite part of the job was enhancing the quality of life, which I did by working in our SMARTS (Shiawassee Mobile Art for Seniors) program. In this program, I went to nursing homes and senior centers with art therapy projects for seniors with varying cognitive and physical limitations. I worked on modifying projects to accommodate anyone who wanted to participate, interacted with the seniors, and got to provide them with both artistic knowledge and a creative outlet from whatever may be ailing them. I plan to study dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases in the future, so working with these people and getting to know them was a great introduction to this area. It was extremely rewarding to see how much this program meant to the seniors for social interaction and activity, as well as all of the artistic masterpieces that they created. My whole internship experience was absolutely amazing and it gave me a very unique view into both the worlds of nonprofits and art therapy, two areas that I have now become extremely interested in!
Everyone will probably say their summer was amazing at their place of internship so I’ll say that mine was interesting. Going in I had very little interest and experience with trains, the main part of my job, so it was very learn as you go. Every day was different and I had the opportunity to learn many new skills including how to run multiple power tools, operate milling machinery, and of course train terminology and running train specific equipment. I can now say that I have spent a whole day scraping grease, a few just needle scaling, and a couple rolling around on the ground under the steam engine. I am grateful for this opportunity, working with such knowledgeable and passionate people was such a joy. I encourage anyone who has an inkling of interest in trains or steam era history to visit SRI and any student interested in engineering, technical, or trades as a career to apply for any future internships SRI could offer.
Hi everyone! My name is Ashlee and I had the privilege to spend the majority of my summer at the Shiawassee Council on Aging! I was their social media marketing intern and I was given the opportunity to manage all three of their location’s social media platforms to engage with seniors in our community, as well as their families. During this internship, I was able to create content, upload content, and measure user engagement to ensure growth to advance SCOA’s mission. Overall, I had a great summer at the best facility with incredible staff! I highly recommend this experience to future fellows, because it was a great learning experience and I was able to meet such amazing people.
This summer I had the opportunity to intern at the Clinical Research Department of Memorial Healthcare. Although I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect, I am grateful for every experience I was able to have and for everything I was able to learn. This internship allowed me to see clinical trials take place in real-time and learn about the regulation and execution of these trials. Although Clinical Research is not something I think I want to pursue for my career, I shadowed many different areas of careers at the hospital including neurology physician, ophthalmologist, in-patient pharmacy, IV Pharmacy, and the Coumadin Clinic, which allowed me to be exposed to areas other than just research. I was also introduced to new interests that I hope to pursue further such as the behind-the-scenes drug design of the clinical trials drugs. Overall, this internship was the perfect opportunity for me this summer, as I was able to advance toward my career while giving back to a non-profit. I will not take these experiences for granted.
Cook Family Foundation was the summer home of Michigan State University Freshman and recent Owosso High School graduate, Jena Samson. Jena was responsible for re-organizing and scanning files from 2015-2022. As well as taking scholarship applications from 1980-2022 and verifying the correct information was in our student database system, as well as updating the student database system, getting ready for the upcoming 2023 seniors. She has also been shadowing Kerry Dutcher (office manager) on learning how to do payroll, write grant agreements, and organize the Shiawassee Internship Fellow process.“Having this opportunity to see business from a different perspective was very important for me. In the past I have seen how corporate businesses are run and seeing how a non-profit is run has been an amazing experience for me! I am so happy I got to experience this amazing non-profit and what they do in action. I am glad I got to make so many wonderful connections with the people here. I am looking forward to taking what I have learned this summer and applying it to my future work experiences!”
Shiawassee Economic Development Partnership gave Callum Holley, a University of Michigan-Flint sophomore and Ovid-Elsie Alum a chance to learn ins and outs of an Economic Development Partnership. Callum is studying Political Science. Callum’smain objective was research, some examples are: The federal and state governments, The Michigan economic Development Corporation, The International Economic Development Corporation, The United States Economic Development Agency, etc. Shiawassee Economic Development Partnership has given Callum a more in depth look of how these Nonprofits are run. “I have felt really valued in my position, and I would say the
best part has been having the privilege to sit in on both our regular Monday morning staff meetings, and childcare meetings with the SEDP board. We at the SEDP are people who accomplish great things, and it has been an honor to see many of our programs come to fruition, with an impact that has really helped our county. I cannot thank everyone at SEDP enough for the opportunities they have given me, and I cannot wait to bring the skills I learned this summer to both UM, and my future career.
Shiawassee County Health Department was the summer home of UM senior and Owosso High School graduate, Madison Van Epps. Madison was responsible for the social media campaign in the county’s quest to raise awareness about Hepatitis A, as well as the data entry. In addition, she also handled the department’s “How did you hear about us” family planning survey, and enhanced the department’s social media and community presence by creating an Instagram account, as well as posters and videos, and even some give-aways. Another key duty involved interviewing local community stakeholders in order to conduct a needs assessment regarding what the Health Department could help with in the ongoing county problem of obesity. And lastly, Madison designed a new poster and rack card to give away at outreach events with the local SafeCenter called, Smart 911. “She did it all!” notes Larry Johnson, Shiawassee County Health Department Director.
Shiawassee Arts Center provided an important experience for University of Michigan Sophomore and 2017 Corunna High School Graduate, Hunter Glew. She spent her summer helping the SAC’s Arts Education Director, Linda Ruehle, plan and implement classes for both the senior’s and children’s art program. Hunter is studying Biopsychology, Cognition, and Neuroscience. She intends to eventually attain a doctoral degree to work as a professor and researcher with a focus on deaf culture, or her new-found interest–art therapy. Hunter noted, “I’ve now been able to see firsthand how the various art programs can take students away from outside stresses, and how it can create an outlet for all those participating. I am so thankful to have helped create that for so many people this summer.
DeVries Nature Conservancy provided an opportunity for 2016 UM graduate Evan Klinkoski to put his research and writing skills to work to tell an important history of Shiawassee County. Evan, an Owosso High School graduate, researched the artifacts in the Historic Carriage and Sleigh Museum that are part of the DeVries legacy. He helped curate and catalog the collection, developed a digital database, wrote new descriptions of the historical vehicles, and helped put on an exhibition as part of the Made In Owosso event in the summer of 2016. Evan also investigated and wrote several grant proposals to help preserve this unique collection of carriages and sleighs which are part of the birth of the automobile industry. His summer internship has led to on-going employment with DeVries Nature Conservancy.
Owosso Community Players (OCP) were fortunate to be able to employ the technical and organizational skills of Hunter Charvat, a graduate of Ovid-Elsie High School and now student at UM’s School of Information. Here’s his account of working to help OCP update their website, database, and complex ticketing services over the summer of 2016: “The most valuable thing I experienced at OCP was exposure to and practice working in a non-profit environment. My understanding of the workflows, command chains, and decision-making processes is far beyond what it was before, and I believe that this exposure will help me a lot in whatever organization I work at next. Similarly, working at OCP was an excellent opportunity for me to practice my professional writing skills. Organizations prefer concise, clear, and easy to digest reports and memos, and this is especially true when describing technical issues to decision makers. This was very different from the style of writing that much of my academic career has taught me, so it was also a learning experience.”
“As far as my feelings about working at OCP and in Owosso, The staff at OCP are so dedicated and kind, I can only hope that I find myself with co-workers like that again. Being from Ovid, I hadn’t thoroughly explored downtown Owosso prior to my internship, and I found it to be incredibly charming. Foster Coffee is on my list of places I must take people when they visit Mid-Michigan now! All in all, I learned that I wouldn’t mind working in a small town as much as I thought I would.”
In the summers of 2013 and 2014, the Cook Family Foundation operated the Owosso Fellowship with college students from diverse backgrounds and interests. The fellows spent their summer learning about how to build a strong community while lending their skills to local organizations.
Below is a summary of the 2013 fellows’ experience during their time in Owosso:
“The Cook Family Foundation Fellowship allowed me to engage in my community and interact with its members in ways that I never have before. I learned valuable community building skills, completed a major project for the City of Owosso, and created great friendships with people I would have never gotten to meet without this program.”
An Owosso High School graduate and recipient of a scholarship to attend the University of Michigan, Sarah worked for the City of Owosso on downtown historic preservation.
“The Owosso Fellowship helped me develop the goals I have for my life and work. The balance between working on a self-directed project, spending time with my host family, engaging with others in the program, and meeting passionate community leaders made my life in Owosso fulfilling and fun.”
A pre-med student from the University of Massachusetts, Jenny analyzed several early childhood healthcare initiatives undertaken by Great Start Shiawassee.
“The Owosso Fellowship has been an incredible experience that has exposed me to how a community runs and how one passionate individual can make a significant impact. Living in Owosso has given me the opportunity to work on an independent project in a field I love and meet incredible people!”
A geology student at Yale, Beata helped DeVries Nature Conservancy look at ways to promote sustainability at their facility.
“This fellowship has been one of the best experiences of my life. Everyone has been very kind and welcoming and I have learned so much. Owosso is a great city and I am happy to be doing work that I love within such a supportive community.”
A film student at Yale, Katrina explored her interest in visual media and communication by helping plan the ArtWalk and working with the Owosso Community Players to plan their future programming in the new Shiawassee Performing Arts Center.