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Fall internships benefit Scotland County non-profits, businesses

Laurinburg, N.C. – Five business students at St. Andrews Presbyterian College spent the fall semester participating in internships in Scotland County.

Rob Lawson spent the semester working with Hospice of Scotland County and got what he described as an “eye opening” education.

“Prior to the internship I wasn’t aware what Hospice did,” he said. “I went through the new hire program and it gave me a better understanding. I went with a nurse to a prospective client’s house. It was eye opening to see the process at work. It is sad, but I truly respect the services that are provided.”

Lawson attended finance and board of directors meetings, helped with the reconciliation of the depreciation account, helped with an audit and worked with Executive Director Jane Murray on updating the strategic plan.

“I learned about the contrast between for profit and non-profit operation,” Lawson said. “I also learned about the health care industry and the value of attending professional meetings. I just sat back and watched the board of directors. The board is so well rounded and it is all so transparent. They share the ideas from different perspectives to the benefit of Hospice. I am thankful that I had this opportunity.”

Scotia Village also benefited from an intern from St. Andrews, this one being Jesse Elliott.

“I learned on the first day that you cannot make everyone happy,” she said. “There were renovations throughout the facilities beginning with the independent care unit and I spent my time sitting in on a meeting listening to all the complaints. I was told that was one of the calmer sessions.”

Elliott spent her internship working with the administration, learning about how things work through Medicare meetings, weekly administration meetings and day-to-day operations projects.

“I want to pursue a career in Retirement Community Administration and I will be going back next semester,” Elliott said. “I will be focused on dealing with the family aspect and doing more interaction with the residents. It will be much more hands on for the administration.”

While Elliott and Lawson were learning about the non-profit world, Brad Kochel was learning about the world of business at Scotland Feed. While he has worked there over the past three years, this internship provided a different perspective as he was focusing on the inventory system and making it work.

“I realized the importance of product knowledge so that you can answer questions, have a knowledge of animal health and gain a customers’ trust,” Kochel said. “You need to know what you’re doing. Organization was key. I was a glorified warehouse manager. We load everything ourselves and to have fast service, you needed to have a safe, clean warehouse and be aware of the inventory. If everything is neat and organized, it cuts down on time.”

He found things to be even more of a challenge with the holidays approaching at the end of the semester.

“You had to anticipate the orders because some of the suppliers were going to be closed,” he said. “We needed to make sure that we had it all in on time. While the cow feed and livestock supplies are a pretty constant business, where you are a first name basis with the buyer, the dog feed supplies are a bit more challenging because there is a less certain pattern of purchase.”

Interns Karen Gruninger and Jennifer Callahan also had to consider feed and supplies for their work at the St. Andrews Equestrian Center. Both completed barn management internships, expanding their working relationships with a program they have been a part of throughout their college days.

“The main focus of the internship, since I’ve been working in barns my whole life, was to learn the management side,” Gruninger said. “I took on additional responsibilities, managing the work studies and expanding the management of supplements. I started the shifts, got the supplements distributed and got all the jobs assigned so they could be done on time.”

Callahan added, “The equestrian program is the number one reason I came to St. Andrews. It is a program that is close to my heart. I worked on the nutrition of the horses. I grew up with racehorses so the nutrition side is something I understand. I worked with basic equine medical care, as with as many horses as we have, there is always a problem. I also worked on employee management. The freshmen started to learn the routine and helped with teaching a variety of levels.”

The pair would work Monday through Friday doing barn chores and maintaining the chore charts for the work-study program. With shows and events often happening over the weekends, the work would be done in a different way. For both, the biggest challenge was the management of others.

“The freshmen looked up to us,” Callahan said. “There was more of a transition with returning work studies. I would ask politely and they were pretty accepting because they knew why we were asking. We did work too, and they saw that. I think that made a difference too.”

Gruninger added, “I really learned how to take charge and motivate people. I like to let other people take charge so I had to really apply my problem solving skills. I learned that going in with a good attitude, being awake and productive brings out those qualities in those around you.”

Overall, Business Professor and Director of the Internship Program Corinne Nicholson saw a lot of benefit to the students working at the various internship sites.

“Each of these students had a wonderful opportunity to take classroom theory and apply it to real world work environments,” she said. “These practical experiences do enhance a résumé.”

About St. Andrews Presbyterian College

An innovative and bold academic venture, the distinctive character of St. Andrews has been marked by an interdisciplinary curriculum, a highly acclaimed college press, an award-winning pipe band, national champion equestrian teams, and first-rate scholarship. In addition to classes on the main campus, adult learners also choose the Center for Adult and Professional Studies opportunities through St. Andrews @ Sandhills and St. Andrews ONLINE.

On Aug. 29, 1958, the merger between Presbyterian Junior College and Flora Macdonald College became official with the formation of St. Andrews Presbyterian College in Laurinburg, N.C. Further information may be obtained by visiting the College's website www.sapc.edu, calling 800-763-0198 or sending an e-mail to info@sapc.edu.


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