In seventh grade, Tamika Catchings wrote, “I want to be in the NBA” on a piece of paper. She showed that paper to her parents who responded: “If anyone can do it, you can.”

Today, Catchings is one of the leading players in WNBA history and a four-time Olympic gold medalist. Before finishing her final season with the Indiana Fever, she interned with the WNBA league office in New York City. The experience and knowledge she gained from her education, internships and career will benefit her current position as a basketball analyst with the SEC Network.

Catchings provided an inspiring keynote for the nearly 400 attendees at Indiana INTERNnet’s 11th annual IMPACT Awards luncheon with the theme “Shooting for Success.” The luncheon celebrates interns, career development professionals and employers striving for internship excellence.

She shared the four keys that helped her along her path to success and how everyone can apply these priorities to their lives:

• Be open to new experiences and opportunities

• Go over and beyond the call of duty

• Never stop learning

• Enjoy the process

“We’re all looking for jobs; you don’t want to be an intern for the rest of your life,” Catchings proclaimed. “You are an intern so you have the opportunity to go to the next level.”

The Indiana INTERNnet team looks forward to the IMPACT Awards luncheon every year because it’s our opportunity to celebrate the significance of internships and spotlight accomplishments. An added bonus is that several of the intern nominees this year were hired full-time by their employers following their internship.

That includes Katherine Larrabee with DirectEmployers Institute (DEI). From day one of her internship, Larrabee showcased her professionalism and leadership. She was placed as a leader over her fellow interns to help ensure efficiency and timely completion of projects. This display of professionalism was rewarded by receiving more responsibility in her role, including representing DEI at important meetings.

When tasked with acquiring food donations from local restaurants to feed students during DEI’s summer program, Larrabee doubled the amount of food and was able to feed 90 individuals for 10 days. She accomplished this goal by creating positive relationships and professionally following up with each restaurant to adhere to a time-sensitive schedule.

“Katherine always excelled in these situations by making lasting connections with everyone she met and by representing DEI in a way that was positive and refreshing,” offers Kasey Cross, vice president of programming at DirectEmployers Institute. “She did such a wonderful job that she has now been hired as DEI’s project manager to lead and guide the partner organizations DEI works with daily in several of their programs within Indiana schools.”

More and more employers are realizing the value of internships as well. Seventeen organizations were nominated for Employer of the Year at the IMPACT Awards for offering meaningful learning experiences in their workplaces. As a result, they are benefiting immensely from the talent of these interns.

One example is the Ambassador Enterprises internship program, which centers on the development of four professional skills: leadership, problem solving, project management and teamwork.

Interns participate in 11 weeks of programming that mimic a higher-education atmosphere; it is nicknamed “Corporate University.” The program’s syllabus details seven goals, six professional development outcomes, three reading assignments and additional information. Each intern completes five deliverables during the program: personal assessments, various projects and assignments, performance evaluations, individual development plan and a work journal.

“My major project was compiling a comprehensive analysis of the competitors of one of their holdings. They gave me a rubric and contact information for the CEO. I then had to develop the plan for how I would complete this project,” says Paige Stark, a summer 2016 intern. “I asked a lot of questions and was definitely out of my comfort zone, but grew immensely as a result of this experience.”

If your company is looking to start an internship program, or if you’re looking for assistance with improving an existing one, Indiana INTERNnet is here to help. We provide a web site to facilitate student-employer matches at no cost and we also have instructional resources to help you build a stand-out internship program.

You can also apply for EARN Indiana funds, a program through the Indiana Commission for Higher Education, and receive reimbursement for up to 50% of an eligible intern’s wages.

To register for our free services, visit, or call (317) 264-6862 to speak with our staff about your internship program.

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