By Carol Best & Kelsey Luffman

Internships are increasingly important to a college graduate’s job search. According to a 2012 survey, employers rank relevant work experience second only to the interview when it comes to hiring new graduates. That’s why, as they prepare to make a difference in their chosen fields, MNU students are gaining valuable work experience in everything from multimedia to marine biology.

Adventures in Multimedia

Growing up, Josiah Crandall couldn’t wait to tune into Adventures in Odyssey, a Christian radio drama produced by Focus on the Family (FOTF). So when the senior multimedia major began researching internships, FOTF was his top pick. Last summer, Josiah became one of the few students selected to intern at FOTF’s audio drama department in Colorado Springs.

“Working at Focus on the Family is something I’ve always wanted to do,” Josiah says. “It’s kind of a dream job for me.”

He found that his dream job exceeded his expectations; his summer included memorable experiences directing voice actors for Odyssey characters and editing episodes alongside veteran producers. The FOTF internship has allowed Josiah to increase his already impressive multimedia skillset as he manages MNU’s campus TV station.

Political Aspirations

When she started at MNU, senior honors student Amelia Collins thought she had her career mapped out – attend law school, and then find work in a high-paying public policy position in Washington, D.C.

However, Amelia’s career aspirations changed when she spent fall 2012 interning in D.C. for Alaska Senator Mark Begich. While there, she and her classmates visited areas in economic decline to perform community service, learn about public policy, and be what Amelia calls a “faithful presence.” Having learned from public policy experts in the nation’s capital, Amelia hopes to complete a second internship in the Middle East.

Now, Amelia says, the paycheck hardly matters as she makes plans for the future.

“My experience in D.C. showed me I don’t care what I will make,” Amelia says. “I just want to be invested in others. God can use me in any situation I’m in.”

Prestigious Research

A key step in Tyler Hageman’s (’13) pursuit of his dream job as a research chemist was his summer internship in the highly selective Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program at Miami University, funded by the National Science Foundation.

During his REU internship, Tyler studied the inhibition of matrix metalloproteinase (MMP), an enzyme involved in tissue healing.

“MMPs assist in tumor development,” he explains. “The idea is to find a way to inhibit these enzymes for people diagnosed with cancer in order to limit tumor growth.”

Back at MNU, Tyler continued researching MMPs, and hopes his research will someday contribute to effective cancer treatments.

“MNU definitely prepared me for the research experience,” he says.

Tyler’s research also helped him solidify his future plans – this fall, he will begin pursuing a PhD in chemistry at the University of Kansas.


Forensic chemistry major and honors student Rebekah Wilkins (’13) gained experience in the field she loves by interning at the Johnson County Crime Lab in Olathe. There, Rebekah worked alongside professional chemists in the drug chemistry and trace evidence departments.

“It was great working in the field I have always dreamed about,” she says. “I got the chance to follow scientists in every forensic discipline. My internship let me learn directly from the sort of professional I want to be.”

“I got the chance to follow scientists in every forensic discipline. My internship let me learn directly from the sort of professional I want to be.”

This fall, Rebekah will continue pursuing a career in the crime lab through a graduate teaching assistantship at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, where she will also work toward a PhD in chemistry.

Marine Biology in Kansas

Attending a university in the Midwest may seem peculiar for an aspiring marine biologist, but biology major Andrea Holt (’13) thinks outside the box. In addition to excelling in MNU biology coursework, Andrea has gained specialized experiences by working at the Sea Life Aquarium in Kansas City and studying abroad in the Caribbean.

“Majoring in biology [at MNU] was completely practical because had I gone to school near the ocean, I still would have studied biology,” Andrea says. “Attending school in Kansas never seemed like a barrier, just another step that I had to take in my journey to reaching the ocean.”

Last spring, Andrea secured a highly selective position as an educational specialist at Sea Life Aquarium in Kansas City. Knowing she also needed experience on the ocean, she spent last summer studying abroad with the Broadreach Tropical Marine Biology program in the Caribbean. Andrea gained unforgettable field experiences while living on a catamaran and completing certifications in scuba diving, yachting, and more.

Andrea’s professional and academic achievements have paid off with another dream opportunity. This summer, she will intern on the American Pride tallship in Long Beach, Calif., where she will work under the resident marine biologist while living aboard the vessel. As Andrea and her fellow Pioneers reap the personal and professional benefits of internships, they’re equipped for careers filled with passion and purpose.