Company nominated by ISU senior receives finalist honors

March 2, 2011

A company nominated by an Indiana State University senior received finalist honors for a state award for its internship program.

ISU senior Katie Wheeler nominated Indiana InsuranceTM for the Internship Employer of the Year Award from Indiana INTERNnet, an initiative affiliated with the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, after she interned with the company last summer. Wheeler joined several ISU representatives with Indiana Insurance officials at an Indianapolis luncheon earlier this semester to honor the finalists.

"I explained that Indiana Insurance went above and beyond anyone's expectations of an internship program," Wheeler said of her nomination letter, "and they understand the importance of finding key individuals while they're still in college, and starting that relationship with them and introducing them to the industry."

Wheeler's experience working with Indiana Insurance was the first internship of her career. On her first day, she told her manager that she wanted to learn as much as possible about the insurance industry. Over the course of her internship, she learned about the company's different departments by learning from employees in a variety of positions.

Indiana Insurance works to ensure that the company's internship program provides a meaningful experience to participants, said Hung Nguyen, assistant vice president of Human Resources. The company assigns interns challenging projects that impact the organization while also teaching them more about the insurance industry.

"Katie was an exceptional candidate," Nguyen said. "She came in and really hit the ground running. She was very open and willing to do a lot for the organization. She wasn't shy, which made her very successful from our strategy perspective."

Indiana Insurance has been a tremendous internship provider, said Kathleen Parish, career development specialist with Networks Financial Institute in the Scott College of Business at ISU. At least three Indiana State students have interned with the organization, and company representatives also provided NFI with advice for the Networks Professional Development Program, a four-year curriculum with focused activities designed to cultivate students' professional skills.

"The announcement of Indiana Insurance as an award finalist was a great affirmation of our esteem for them," said Parish, who also wrote a letter supporting the company's nomination for the award.

More than half of all the trainees that Indiana Insurance hires were participants in the internship program, Nguyen said. Wheeler can also be included in that group. Last August, she had just started the second day of classes back at ISU when she received a call from Indiana Insurance offering her a full-time position once she graduates in May.

"It was unbelievable," Wheeler said. "I was really hoping for an offer, but I had no idea when it would come or if it would come, and to have that the first week of my senior year was just an amazing feeling."

Photo: http://isuphoto.smugmug.com/Other/Headshot-Proofs/2010-Networks-Scholars/wheelerkatie-2784/1003093727_u9TRK-L.jpg
Katie Wheeler

Contact: Kathleen Parish, career development specialist, Networks Financial Institute, Scott College of Business, Indiana State University, 317-536-0281 ext. 716 or kathleen.parish@isunetworks.org.

Writer: Austin Arceo, assistant director of media relations, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3790 or austin.arceo-negrich@indstate.edu.