A common question we get asked by prospective students in the Office of Graduate Intern Programs is, “Am I guaranteed a job after graduation?” Sadly, the answer is “No, but if you’re interested in working in public service, this is the ideal way to get your foot in the door!”
In the recent years, we’ve seen more and more interns choosing public service career paths. Some are hired on directly following their internships, some choose other local, state, or federal government agencies to work with, and some go on to non-profit organizations or associations. These student’s experiences in the GPSI program are propelling them to public service careers here and Springfield and throughout the country.
One of the students who has been hired is Yakashia Barber, a recent graduate of UIS’ Public Administration (MPA) master’s program. Yakashia completed her GPSI at the Illinois Department of Transportation and was hired on at the City of Springfield as their Community Programs Specialist. She stated, “working through the pandemic has given me an excellent example of how to continue with the day’s work in the midst of chaos. These are the type of experiences I hope to lean on as I transition into my new role."
Sometimes interns are hired directly into the agencies in which they interned for. Udaya Sree Kommera, an international Computer Science graduate student from India, has been hired on from her internship at the Illinois Department of Human Services as a Clinical Database Associate. She said, “Right from the start I had the hunger to succeed, and I was constantly focusing on improving my skills at work in terms of both technical as well as managerial.” Her new role will include assisting the team members of Illinois Prescription Monitoring Program (ILPMP) with law enforcement subpoenas as well as maintaining interstate data sharing information, assisting with physician specialty data, and providing missing data for the National Drug Code.
Another UIS MPA graduate student and recent hire is Blake Dannehold. Blake’s internship was with the Illinois Department of Human Services. He received a job offer from the Illinois Office of Management and Budget as a Budget Analyst I. Blake will be responsible for examining budget requests from state agencies along with conducting factual analysis of requests. Additionally, Blake will be performing fund analysis of legislation along with monitoring and preparing forecasts of state revenues and expenditures. Blake will begin his position July 16.
Taiwo Akinsoji was an international student from Nigeria who earned her Master’s of Environmental Health from UIS and completed her GPSI at the Illinois Department of Public Health. She was recently offered a position at SIU Medicine as the Program Coordinator of Culturally Responsive Community Issues. She says “The flexibility of the internship hours enabled me to strike a balance between my program and working in the office.”
We also celebrate when students decide to enter public service through the non-profit route like recent MPA graduate, Ariel Gipson (left), who was hired on at Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Springfield, Illinois as an Intact Family Services Caseworker. After completing her internship at the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Marissa Jones (right), a UIS Masters of Environmental Science graduate, accepted a position working in Lincoln Memorial Gardens as an apprentice gardener and will be taking over as head gardener after a year.
There are simply too many GPSIs joining the field public service full-time for us to share all of their stories. This, admittedly, is an exciting problem to have. To keep up with success stories moving forward or other GPSI news, you can follow our Facebook (@UISGPSI), Instagram (@uis_GPSI) or Twitter (@UISGPSI). We are constantly looking to retain qualified, highly trained GPSIs in the field of public service and are especially thrilled when their skills stay right here in Springfield.
Myra Kaufman is the Assistant Director of the Graduate Public Service Intern program at UIS. Prior to her start at UIS and GPSI in July 2017, Myra earned her Bachelor’s degree in Applied Communication Studies- Interpersonal Communication and her Master’s degree in College Student Personnel Administration from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. She is currently pursuing her Doctor of Education degree in Education, Policy, Organization and Leadership in Higher Education at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.