Student Stories: From the Lehigh Valley campus to real world experiences

August 05, 2015

Penn State Lehigh Valley prides itself on offering a supportive and academically diverse environment for students by encouraging and assisting with obtaining real world and global experiences through internships and other travel opportunities. This summer, many Penn State Lehigh Valley students are getting a jump on their careers by interning locally, nationally and even internationally. Here we highlight just a few of their interesting experiences.

New company, exciting experiences: Kevin Mitra

Talen Energy Corp., formed with the power plants of PPL and Riverstone Holdings and is now the third largest independent power producer in the country, started operations on June 1 of this year. Kevin Mitra, a senior information sciences and technology (IST) major at Penn State Lehigh Valley, was on the ground from day one.

This summer, Mitra is an information technology business systems analyst intern on the business intelligence team at Talen Energy Corp. in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

“I consider it to be a very special experience. Who else can say they’ve been there to be a part of an unveiling of a brand new Fortune 500 company?” Mitra said.

The business intelligence team has a wide variety of functions, including leveraging data to deliver business value by analyzing data and developing pertinent information used to make informed business decisions. The team also supports Talen Energy Corp.’s data to ensure it is functional and accessible to the end-user.

“My favorite part of the internship so far has been the opportunity to see an IT project come to life—from design, to development, testing and prototyping,” Mitra said.

Mitra’s experience at Talen Energy Corp. is providing him practical firsthand experience and knowledge that will prepare him for a future in the information technology field. He is able to draw on these experiences to give context to what he has learned in class, which he said helps to enhance the learning process.

“The courses that I’ve taken under the IST program at Penn State Lehigh Valley have prepared me to take on the challenges of my field,” said Mitra. “I am responsible for writing several SQL. This requires a very thorough technical understanding of database relationships, data modeling and, of course, writing the code itself; all of which I learned in my database course.”

Besides helping him with his future career, this internship has opened Mitra’s eyes to how the energy industry works.

As Mitra said, “We take the lights in our houses for granted, expecting they will always turn on when we flip the switch. However, what we don’t see is the sheer amount of coordination and effort that it takes in order for this seemingly simple process to flawlessly work. It is quite fascinating.”

From Nittany Lion to Tony the Tiger: Taylor Morgan

Taylor Morgan, a junior corporate communication major at Penn State Lehigh Valley, always knew she wanted to work in sales, whether selling the actual products or being involved behind-the-scenes.  To gain real world experience, Morgan applied and was accepted as a sales communications intern at the Kellogg Company corporate headquarters in Battle Creek, Michigan. She is working there this summer until Aug. 14.

Morgan secured this internship by attending a Kellogg event where she learned about the internship program.  She then stopped in the Career Services office at Penn State Lehigh Valley where she received her internship registration paperwork, along with tips on professionalism in the workplace, appropriate dress and words of encouragement.

During her internship, Morgan has been writing internal communications to the sales team, including text for employee newsletters, articles for the Kellogg Company’s sales website, presentations and flyers. She also has been helping to generate ideas and draft scripts for internal videos utilized by the company’s sales force.

Morgan also has had the opportunity to help plan an event in Chicago, Illinois, for nearly a thousand sales employees, shadow a Kellogg Morning Food sales representative and attend a Kellogg Zone Rally in Orlando, Florida, for local sales teams.

She has been able to apply much of what she has learned at Penn State Lehigh Valley to her internship experience.

“Taking corporate communication classes has taught me how to tailor information based on what type of work I’m publishing and on my audience, “Morgan said. “Knowing this has helped me write all different types of publications for the Kellogg Company, such as flyers, articles and scripts for videos.”

Working on these videos has been her favorite part of the internship so far.

“I get to be creative and think up new ways to engage employees,” Morgan said. “It’s amazing that I get to write scripts for executives and important employees and to know that they’re hearing my ideas.”

Morgan credits her professors and advisers at Penn State Lehigh Valley who have taught her many valuable skills that have helped her succeed at the Kellogg Company.

Morgan continues to have unique experiences while growing in the communications profession and establishing important connections as she heads into her senior year at Penn State Lehigh Valley.

A Tunisian Journey: Nicholas Miller

Nicholas Miller, who completed the first two years of his finance degree at Penn State Lehigh Valley in the spring of 2015, and will be heading up to the University Park campus to complete the remaining portion of his studies through Penn State’s 2+2 program, expanded his global education this spring and summer. Over the course of four months, Miller completed a finance internship with MAC SA in Tunis, Tunisia, and visited over 50 destinations in Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

During his time at MAC SA as an international financial analyst intern, Miller analyzed financial trends, calculated key return ratios and reviewed financial statements and historical data. Working with colleagues who mainly spoke French and Arabic, Miller also assisted with English translations and grammar corrections of presentations.

Miller had the opportunity to apply the financial theories he has learned in the classroom to real world analysis.

“I learned about the Tunisian stock market, which only has 77 listed companies, and how to analyze those companies using ratios and financial statements,” Miller said, “I also learned about Islamic finance and how it differs from traditional finance.”

Miller shared that the skills and knowledge he has obtained so far at Penn State Lehigh Valley provided him with the versatility needed to excel at his internship. He is confident that the combination of his Penn State education and his international internship experience will help him to reach his goal of one day working in investment banking.

“My internship definitely provided an ideal environment for me to expand my knowledge of financial modeling,” Miller stated. “In addition, being that the internship was international, I was able to increase my knowledge of geopolitics, especially those that affect the Middle East and international financial markets.”

Miller created a video from his many travels, watch it here.

Briefing the President: Momina Haque

Momina Haque, who completed the first two years of her economics degree at Penn State Lehigh Valley in the spring of 2015, and will be heading up to the University Park campus to complete the remaining portion of her studies through Penn State’s 2+2 program, is spending her summer in Washington, D.C.  She is working as a finance intern for the Democratic National Committee (DNC). While Haque admits she is not a politically minded person, being in Washington this summer has given her a deeper appreciation for politics.

“It is an exciting time to be an intern in the District. The Obama administration is going strong, but coming to an end, and new candidates are being selected, and I am in the prime place where all of this takes place,” said Haque.

Through her work at the DNC, Haque is learning the proper way to raise money for a political organization. She is also learning the value of networking.

“This is the perfect internship for me because I would like to work for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), which is an organization that helps with issues around the world,” said Haque, “I think this internship will open many doors for me.”

“I still cannot comprehend that I write and edit some of the event briefings that President Barack Obama reads,” Haque said. “I would never have expected to have this opportunity.”

Haque’s professors at Penn State Lehigh Valley encouraged her along the way.

“Penn State Lehigh Valley teaches you how to prepare for your future career in every way, not just academically,” Haque said.

  • Student stands in front of a power plant.

    Kevin Mitra, a senior information sciences and technology (IST) major at Penn State Lehigh Valley, stands in front of a power plant during his summer internship with Talen Energy Corp.

    IMAGE: Penn State
  • Tony the Tiger poses with student Taylor Morgan

    Taylor Morgan, a junior corporate communication major at Penn State Lehigh Valley, poses with Tony the Tiger during her internship at the Kellogg Company.

    IMAGE: Penn State
  • A student stands next to the Nittany lion statue.

    Nicholas Miller, a junior finance major, stood with the Nittany Lion before he traveled overseas for an internship in Tunisia. 

    IMAGE: Penn State
  • Student poses in front of Capitol building in D.C.

    Momina Haque, a junior economics major, takes a selfie outside the Capitol building in Washington, D.C. She is completing an internship with the Democratic National Committee this summer.

    IMAGE: Momina Haque
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Last Updated August 06, 2015