Ferris State University students gain valuable work experience through internships. Internships also can confirm or redirect career decision-making, provide marketability, develop people skills and enhance classroom learning. Many academic programs require one, but the experience is encouraged regardless to provide students with a better understanding of what will be expected of them in the workplace.
Many students are participating in myriad internships this summer. Meet: Dalton Strong
He is: A junior from Brooklyn, Mich., majoring in Digital Animation and Game Design
Internship: The Geek Group, a non-profit learning center based in Grand Rapids that provides access to science, technology, engineering and math through programming at its physical facility and online through informational videos and member forums. The company has more than 21,000 members in 142 countries and 28,000 subscriptions to its YouTube channel.
Dalton’s internship is unpaid and runs the duration of the summer. He is one of five Ferris students, including one from its Kendall College of Art and Design, who is interning there this summer.
What he’s learning: For Dalton, there is no “average” workday at The Geek Group. He said he learns something new every day by assisting with different projects.
“One day I’ll be animating robot helicopters, and the next day I’ll be putting together sound and video for a video intro,” Dalton said. “I’m not getting coffee and pushing paperwork. I’m helping with their projects, and I feel included in their videos.
“Working here has absolutely confirmed my career choice. I have always had a passion for 3D production, but actually working in a facility that does it shines a whole new light on my plans.”
Favorite experience: Dalton enjoys helping to move equipment around the building at The Geek Group. Members can build projects and prototypes in one of its workshop spaces, take or teach classes.
“They have a lot of really cool stuff here, including giant Tesla coils, old computer parts and really awesome machinery,” he said.
Core value: Dalton said his internship reflects Ferris’ core value of collaboration. He is learning how to work with people and to use their knowledge to learn new things.
“We play to each other’s strengths, working together to get projects done,” Dalton said. “Every day, we all teach each other new tips and tricks.”
Ferris education: Dalton has learned through his coursework not to “be afraid to redo something if you think it can be improved.” The production process is time-consuming, he said.
“Many times when you get something done, you learn it wasn’t exactly what was needed,” Dalton said. “That’s why I work so closely with my coworkers so I never stray too far from their target.”
His plan: Dalton expects to graduate in Fall 2014.
“I will find a job somewhere in The Mitten and work on personal projects on the side,” Dalton said. “If all goes well, I’d like to turn my personal projects into my career.”