A statewide intern initiative has announced its annual IMPACT Award winners. Indiana INTERNnet Executive Director Janet Boston says there was a record number of nominations this year for categories including Intern of the Year and Employer of the Year.

February 5, 2014

News Release

Indianapolis, Ind. — Indiana INTERNnet today honored excellence among interns, employers and career development professionals at the eighth annual IMPACT Awards Luncheon, sponsored by Ivy Tech Community College.

Indiana INTERNnet, managed by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, is a statewide resource for internship opportunities that has helped connect students and employers across the state since 2001.

“Our judges were once again exceedingly impressed with the quality and record number of the nominations this year,” said Indiana INTERNnet Executive Director Janet Boston. “We had outstanding success stories come to us from all over the state, and it is so inspiring to see the value of internships play out in every region. Students, schools and employers are engaged more than ever in experiential learning; these opportunities are truly a win-win-win.”


-Sarah Mihich, Indiana State University (Art Spaces, Terre Haute) – Intern of the Year

-Pam Plain, IU-Kokomo (Komen Tissue Bank, Indianapolis) – Intern of the Year

-Hannah Cole (Indiana University Health) – Non-traditional Intern of the Year

-Claudine Meilink (Purdue University) – Career Development Professional of the Year

-Group Dekko – Employer of the Year (For-Profit)

-Indiana State Senate – Employer of the Year (Nonprofit)

Peter Dunn, aka Pete the Planner, delivered this year's keynote address. Dunn is an award-winning comedian and financial mind. He released his first book, What Your Dad Never Taught You About Budgeting, in 2006, and he is the host of the popular radio program The Pete the Planner Show on 93 WIBC FM. Gerry Dick, of Inside INdiana Business, was the emcee for the event. The event took place at the Ivy Tech Culinary Center Ballroom in downtown Indianapolis.

For more information about the Indiana INTERNnet program, visit www.IndianaINTERN.net or call the hotline at 317-264-6852.

Details about this year's honorees:

College/University Intern of the Year

Sarah Mihich immersed herself in all aspects of the Art Spaces office during her internship, and her leadership quickly became an asset. Some of Mihich’s many responsibilities included processing gifts and thank-you letters, communicating with board members, attending committee and board meetings and event planning. She was also in charge of the 2013 Year of the River e-blast newslinks, and she maintained two web sites and three Facebook pages. She also researched all of the Wal-Marts in the Wabash Valley and wrote customized proposals to each on behalf of Art Spaces; she successfully procured a generous donation for a sculpture project.

College/University Intern of the Year

The Komen Tissue Bank (KTB) began operating on a new goal this year to collect breast tissue from women all over the world. They are beginning this international endeavor in Kenya, Africa, where the prevalence of a particularly aggressive type of breast cancer is common. Intern Pam Plain spearheaded the planning and logistics of this effort, making all the arrangements with international industries to arrange facilities, medical and surgical supplies and volunteer materials from the U.S. to Kenya.

Even though Plain’s internship officially ended in August, she kept in touch and provided follow-up throughout the end of the project, months later. Following her internship, Plain was asked to serve as the Volunteer Coordinator for the Kenya project.

Non-traditional Intern of the Year

One of the hallmark projects of Hannah Cole’s internship with Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health was the launch of the Riley Connections blog. She collaborated with eHealth to assure a timely launch, making sure all invested individuals were included in the communications. Cole also organized and staffed events, no matter if the event was on a weekday, weekend or evening. Her willingness to lend a helping hand without hesitation greatly benefited interactions with patients and families and improved Riley’s overall communications.

Career Development Professional of the Year

Since 2006, Claudine Meilink has played a key role in facilitating student-employer connections at Purdue University. She wears many hats within the Center for Career Opportunities, including career counselor, employer coordinator and data collector. In 2012-2013, Meilink personally conducted 63 workshops and instructional clinics that reached more than 8,600 students. In addition to interacting with a number of businesses and industries that recruit at Purdue, Meilink engages representatives from 3,310 employer organizations.

She serves as an at-large board member with the Career Development Professionals of Indiana. She also held leadership positions with Midwest ACE, even chairing two of their conferences. She is known for her drive and energy on campus.

Employer of the Year (For-profit)

Simply put, Group Dekko offers one of the most innovative internship programs in the state. In 2013, the company partnered with East Noble High School to launch “Project Explore” – an internship program designed to expose students to the manufacturing sector and provide them with contacts in the industry that will mentor them through school and beyond. This approach allows high school students to see five departments within the company, and then spend two weeks in two of those that most interest them in a paid internship position.

As a culmination of their work, the students came together and used the skills they developed to create a product that was functional and could be sold to support a charity. This innovative approach to close the skills gap is one reason Group Dekko was chosen.

Employer of the Year (Non-profit)

The Indiana State Senate offers internships in the categories of legislative, legal, communications and information technology. Throughout the internships, interns are supported through regular meetings with the program supervisor for questions and feedback. Additionally, the interns are invited to participate in professional development and networking opportunities.

At the conclusion of the Senate internship, each intern may opt to have an exit interview to discuss the experience as well as accept support, typically in the form of recommendation letters or direct assistance with job placement. Currently, 88% of the Senate’s legislative team is staffed with former interns.

Source: Indiana INTERNnet

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