January 2020 Feature: Making Internships Meaningful

January 7, 2020


Twin Cities

Caroline Hopcia & Shawn Waldinger, Xcel Energy

​In our thriving college intern program, second year intern Caroline Hopcia and supervisor Shawn Waldinger of Xcel Energy have worked closely to build a positive working environment built on freedom, trust, accountability, and reliability. Shawn provides Caroline with the flexibility and trust of a full-time employee, while supporting her as a college intern still exploring the professional world. “Shawn is always looking out for ways to help me get the most out of my time here, whether that’s alerting me to panel speakers or sharing professional development opportunities through Xcel.” He’s even helped her take advantage of an opportunity to interview York Solutions CEO Richard Walker. Caroline takes advantage of all those extra opportunities, and demonstrates that she can handle the trust and freedom Shawn has given her. She and Shawn were able to share about their experience working together at Xcel with the 80+ supervisors at the Genesys Works Supervisor Forum – a true example of what Genesys Works success can look like!

Catherine Nguyen & Tammy Lauer, Medtronic

​Since the beginning of Catherine Nguyen’s internship, this supervisor-intern duo has always been on the same wavelength — so much so that they have both nominated each other for excellence within the internship. From day one, Tammy made sure that Catherine felt welcomed and special at Medtronic, a partner with 33 high school interns in total. Catherine feels valued by Tammy’s enthusiasm and openness, by the fact that she is trusted with meaningful work, and because Tammy has,allowed me to share my ideas and experiences in any way I can contribute to the team.” Like so many interns, Catherine has found confidence and contributed to her team’s success because a supervisor like Tammy believed in her! And the praise goes the other way, too: Tammy cites Catherine’s incredible work ethic, attitude, and selflessness as key to Catherine’s success. “Catherine sets the bar high for herself and manages to jump over it every time,” Tammy exclaimed. I’d say that we believe Catherine has an amazing future ahead of her.”

Rob Collier & Natnael Woldeyes, Patterson Company

 ​At Patterson Company, supervisor-intern duo Rob Collier and Natnael Woldeyes have found a partnership where professional development is a priority. Rob has gone above and beyond to provide next-level networking and career exploration opportunities for Natnael and other interns, including a “Career Day” where the Patterson interns were able to meet and network with employees from other departments to learn about their roles and ask questions. Natnael holds up his end of the partnership by taking advantage of leadership opportunities at Genesys Works as a Student Ambassador and as a member of our student advisory board. At work he has been driven to take advantage of the great opportunities Rob has introduced him too, and to improve his communication skills as a personal and professional goal. Rob and Natnael both invest in one another, and that shows in their strong relationship!

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