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Internship II Learning Summary

Matthew Robinson

Wright State University


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This semester I was presented with the opportunity to complete my second internship in

the SAHE program at Auburn University of Montgomery in Montgomery, Alabama. I worked in

the Office of Student Involvement and Leadership programs under Joel Hughes and DeLisa

Joseph. I learned a great deal during my internship, not only about some of the programs within

the office but also about the type of work culture that I feel I would thrive in when I begin my

professional career. I thoroughly enjoyed AUM and I am glad I chose to work here for the

summer.

I chose AUM for two reasons: the location and that it is a satellite campus for a larger

university. I have a great desire to work in the Southeast in my career, so being able to work at

an institution like AUM is beneficial to my my goals. I believe that education in the South is

beginning to grow and I want to be a part of the shift in culture that will come with these

developments. I take great pride in being from this area, so it breathes new hope into me seeing

that education is starting to be taken more seriously. AUM serves the Montgomery community in

not only providing a university for this region but also providing jobs for many. Choosing AUM

was a very simple choice to make.

Secondly, I chose AUM due to it being a satellite, or branch, campus of Auburn

University in Auburn, Alabama. This puts AUM in a unique situation in that it is under the

Auburn University Board of Trustees, not its own. I wanted to know what it was like to operate

under these circumstances and how much input main campus would have on the Montgomery

campus affairs. Fortunately for AUM, Auburn generally lets them do what is best for the

students and operate fairly autonomously. This is especially important for the Office of Student
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Involvement and Leadership Programs, SILP, as they do a lot of programming for campus that

involves a great deal of money.

This is partially why I chose to complete my internship in this office. I wanted to learn

how to better manage a budget, especially a much smaller one than what we have at Wright

State. I also wanted to explore student activities as well as greek life, which both fall under SILP.

I was able to learn so much from the students involved in both areas as well as the professional

staff.

Some of the most valuable lessons I learned came from the students involved in greek life

that I got to work with. I never got involved with greek life during undergrad and I had very few

friends who did, so I was very backwards in my thinking when it came to greek life. I thought

that many of the students would fall into the stereotypical behavior that I associate with that

culture. I learned quickly how wrong I was. Many of the students I worked with were so much

more than greek. They did not let their organization define them and they were heavily involved

in many other activities on campus, including housing and orientation. It is so refreshing to have

your misconceptions challenged and proven wrong in such a positive way.

I am very proud of the students in greek life, but I know that they have a wonderful

mentor. DeLisa Joseph, the assistant director of SILP, oversees all Fraternity and Sorority Life

on AUMs campus and she has done a wonderful job. The average GPA of greek students

continues to grow and incidents of hazing have gone down drastically. DeLisa has taught me the

value of being able to separate oneself from ones work, i.e. not becoming a robot. I have learned

that doing your job effectively is very important, but it is just as vital to take time to enjoy life. If
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all I do is work, I will become burnt out which would be a detriment not only to myself, but to

my colleagues, my university, and most importantly my students.

Overall, the SILP office has taught me that I want to work in a culture that puts its

students experience first and treats its colleagues with respect. Both Joel and DeLisa care deeply

with providing the best campus environment to their students and I really admire them for it.

However, when I saw how much they cared for everyone else in the office as well, I knew that I

wanted to continue being in this type of setting. From throwing a baby shower to encouraging

each other to take mental health breaks, I felt that this office was one that I could thrive in and

one that would support me. This feeling was validated with constant encouragement, asking

about how I was doing, checking in on my family, and inviting me to sit in on project or

meetings that were not required of them. I hope that I can be a part of an office as supportive as

this one, and if I am not I hope that I can bring these practices to wherever I go.

To say I enjoyed my time at AUM would be an understatement. The encouragement and

kindness shown to me during my time here is going to follow me for the rest of my career as I

will reciprocate it wherever I go. From a professional standpoint, I have decided that working in

student involvement is something I will pursue. Being able to work with some many different

students is awesome and really ignites my passion for student affairs. Whether its a campus

activities board, fraternity and sorority life, or student government, I look forward to a future in

involvement!