UIU and Prairie View share benefits in continued partnership

(Standing, from right) Upper Iowa University Associate Professor of Management and Marketing Summer Zwanziger Elsinger and Associate Professor of Management Redmond Humphrey watch as Prairie View Management Inc. CEO Laura Van Horn and UIU senior Lauren Wombles (seated) point out a few of the Prairie View website updates that Wombles created as part of her recent eight-week internship.

Prairie View Management Inc., located near Fayette, Iowa, is just one of a growing list of businesses and organizations that Upper Iowa University is working with to provide students a resource for gaining career experience and job placement; however, the partnership also provides the University and its students another way to make an impact on the community.

As part of the internship program within UIU’s School of Business, UIU Associate Professor of Management and Marketing Summer Zwanziger Elsinger developed a web program that provides the participating students, faculty and employers like Prairie View an internship plan prior to placement, it also tracks trends, integrates a standard grading rubric and provides a location where intern supervisors can provide feedback about their interns.

“Summer is not only further developing our ever-expanding internship program with organizations, businesses and corporations, but also helping to better inform our students of the real-world skills and experiences they can gain within our School of Business,” said Associate Professor of Management Redmond Humphrey.

After previously benefitting from successful projects with UIU art and information technology students, Prairie View administrators originally contacted UIU a couple years ago regarding development of a new logo for the organization. At the time, students from the UIU School of Business formed a consulting group to work with Prairie View on the project. Founding team members included Jake Barron ‘15, Charles Alcaide ’15, Rachel Curtis ‘16, Sarah Gonner ’14, Yoon Yeep Low ’15, and Kayla Rickerl ‘15. The team also worked with UIU alumnus and Prairie View Human Resource Specialist Nick Reierson ’13.

Following the logo project, the student consulting group recommended the organization reexamine its mission and vision in relation to its brand and further assisted them by creating a social media presence and developing a style guide. The resulting logo and brand was credited by Prairie View officials for more clearly demonstrating the organization’s commitment to supporting individuals with disabilities where they live.  In addition, the new mission statement better showcased Prairie View’s core values.

Since that time, UIU has continued to strengthen their relationship with Prairie View. Elsinger has worked with Prairie View personnel to create a plan, including development of a list of prioritizations and tasks via Google Docs.

“Working with UIU has definitely had a positive impact on Prairie View,” said Prairie View Management Inc. CEO Laura Van Horn, who graduated from UIU with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a minor in criminology in 2003. “It has allowed us to develop relationships outside of Prairie View and continue to get the word out about the services we provide and the individuals that we help. The projects that we have worked on with UIU have helped improve our mission statement, our logo and now our website. This allows us to have a professional and positive image as well as more detailed information for those who may want to use our services.”

As part of a recent eight-week Prairie View internship, UIU senior Lauren Wombles designed an online job application form and reviewed and updated the organization’s website and Facebook pages. Double majoring in marketing and management, the Bloomington, Illinois, native expressed appreciation toward Reierson and the insight the UIU alumnus provided her throughout the most recent Prairie View project.

“I really enjoyed the opportunity to apply the business and marketing skills I have obtained at Upper Iowa to assist Prairie View,” Wombles said. “Overall, I think this experience has shown me the importance of marketing and having skilled marketing personnel working around you in developing a successful business or organization. I think internships and special projects are definitely necessary for university students to attain a better understanding of how companies work and the students can then apply their classroom knowledge into real life situations.”

The UIU School of Business offers undergraduate majors and a Masters of Business Administration degree. Undergraduate programs include accounting, agricultural business, business administration, finance, health services administration, human resources management, management and marketing. Minors are offered in some of these programs. In conjunction with the UIU Andres School of Education, a teaching major in general business is offered for those who are pursuing teacher licensure; it is not intended for those planning careers in business. In addition, the school offers certificates and post-graduate certificates.

Meanwhile, the UIU Office of Career Development works with faculty and staff to provide students and graduates with flexible, career-related assistance and programs, such as general career guidance, choosing a major, resume/cover letter advice, internship/job search support, interview preparation, professional networking and branding, and graduate school application help.

For additional information regarding Upper Iowa University academics and career resources, visit uiu.edu.

(Editor’s note: The original Bridge story “Alumni consulting team leaves mark on Prairie View” can be viewed under the Business tab on Bridge Online.)

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