From Dawn to Dusk: A Day in the Life of an Intern

By Jennifer Price
Rockhurst: The Magazine of Rockhurst University Summer 2012

To gain first-hand experience in their prospective fields, many students look to internships. While the term internship may generate flashbacks of coffee errands, malfunctioning copy machines and long hours with little or no pay, these five Rockhurst students prove otherwise. Learn a bit about each of them, and take a peek at what their typical day as an intern is like.

Sheila Helms, ’12 accounting American Century Investments 

Helms works at American Century part-time during the academic year and full-time in the summer, completing tasks such as daily reconciliations of trade confirmations, enhancement of data systems, trade analysis and data summary reports for senior management. She frequently uses commercial market data tools, including Bloomberg and Reuters Knowledge. In addition to her internship, classes and extracurricular activities, Helms is also a member of Rockhurst’s women’s soccer team. 

Fred Grossman, ’12 accounting, Spanish Cerner Corporation

Grossman is part of the Cerner’s IP compliance and regulatory group, charged with maintaining internal controls and documentation. He assists with internal audits and is given tasks similar to those of full-time associates. In addition to enhancing his business skills, Grossman also made important connections within the business realm. One connection was especially important, landing him a full-time job at Ernst & Young after graduation. 

Katelin Saalfeld, ’12 nonprofit leadership, psychology Children’s Mercy Hospital

From writing articles for hospital publications to media relations to event planning, Saalfeld has been able to experience a variety of areas within the field of community relations. One of her largest projects includes the promotion of an early literacy program for children called “Rhyming to Reading.” Saalfeld is charged with creating a national, comprehensive marketing plan to get program DVDs in front of key audiences – all with a $0 budget. 

Lais DaSilva, ’13 international business Capistrano Global Advisory Services

As a Portuguese speaker and Helzberg School of Management student, DaSilva’s internship with CGA allows her to use her native language while also shaping her business expertise. Her primary responsibilities include communicating with CGA’s Brazilian clients, and assisting with event and business-trip planning. DaSilva was able to experience one of her planned trips, traveling to São Paulo, Brazil, from March 22-30 alongside another intern and two CGA executives.

Grant Fischer, ’12 biochemistry Vision Research Center at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine

Fischer’s internship involves researching the role of an important regulatory protein in the brain, understanding the defects of this protein, and the conditions that result from these defects. He utilizes a variety of biological techniques including sterile tissue culture, protein purification, and molecular biology. Fischer submitted his research manuscript to a peer-reviewed scientific journal in May 2012.

One Day - Five Student Interns

6:30 a.m. Sheila Helms wakes up and prepares for her day.

7 a.m. Fred Grossman turns off his alarm and makes his usual eggs for breakfast.

8 a.m. Katelin Saalfeld arrives at Children’s Mercy Hospital’s community relations office, and sits down for a brief meeting with her supervisor, Stacy Duane, to discuss the overview of the day.

8:30 a.m. On Brazil time – two hours ahead of Kansas City – Lais DaSilva, a fellow intern, and two Capistrano Global Advisory Services executives meet with one of their clients in São Paulo, Brazil.

9 a.m. Grant Fischer attends a pre-med Club meeting – one of his many extracurricular activities – before heading to his research internship at the University of Missouri-Kansas City’s School of Medicine Vision Research Center.

9:15 a.m. Helms and her supervisor, Sara Gude, work on trade confirmations at American Century Investments, connecting with brokers to verify accuracies so their trades settle in the market on time.

9:30 a.m. Grossman and his intern team at Cerner meet to discuss work load, report on the status of projects and gather feedback from supervisors.

10 a.m. Saalfeld is developing a marketing plan for Children’s Mercy’s new “Rhyming to Reading DVD” – an early literacy program for children that the hospital’s speech pathologists are looking to implement throughout the nation.

10:30 a.m. Helms gathers foreign exchange data to compile price currencies for foreign exchange trading.

11 a.m. DaSilva prepares to board a flight from São Paulo to Curitiba, Brazil.

11:30 a.m. Saalfeld attends an off-campus visit in Overland Park, Kan., to conduct a physician interview.

Noon Fischer meets with his research supervisor, Simon Kaja, Ph.D., to showcase any findings of the day and discuss next steps.

12:30 p.m. Grossman monitors Cerner reports and client complaints, problem-solving for customers and reaching out to in-house representatives to get issues resolved quickly.

1 p.m. DaSilva lands in Curitiba, Brazil, and quickly heads to a lunch meeting with one of her company’s clients.

1:30 p.m. Saalfeld writes an article for the hospital’s newsletter, adds it as a blog post to the corporate blog, and promotes it on the Children’s Mercy Facebook and Twitter pages.

2 p.m. Fischer is in the lab, conducting research on how a particular regulatory protein in the brain affects cerebella cell development.

3 p.m. Grossman reviews the reports collected by his team that day, correcting any mistakes.

4 p.m. DaSilva heads to another client meeting.

4:30 p.m. Helms is busy completing daily reconciliations of trade confirmations.

5 p.m. Fischer records his findings in a lab notebook and plans for the next day.

6 p.m. Helms leaves the office and heads to a happy hour event downtown.

7 p.m. Fischer finishes the day by meeting with Kaja to discuss project results, then heads home.

8 p.m. DaSilva attends dinner with clients, CGA executives and two representatives of the local government before finally heading to her hotel, wake up the next day and do it all over again.