Upper Iowa University’s unique course schedule within a small college atmosphere initially drew Amanda Cartney’s ’19 attention to UIU, but after attending her first classes, the junior college transfer was especially happy to discover that the faculty members shared a passion for teaching and genuinely cared for the success of their students beyond graduation.
From these inspirational experiences, Cartney successfully gained the skills needed to thrive in the classroom, career and life. Graduating with a double major in marketing and financial management, she acknowledges especially benefiting from the knowledge, skills and personal connections attained in the UIU School of Business and Professional Studies internship program.
As part of her internship, the Hudson, Iowa, native served as a data analyst in the Performance Improvement Department at St. Luke’s Hospital in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Her duties included analyzing and presenting clinical performances using EPIC, EPSI, BI and other software platforms. In an effort to improve the overall experience of the health facility’s patients and their families, she also managed and updated database information for accuracy and use in employee performance reviews.
In addition to working on an OB-GYN project that researched procedural efficiencies in delivering a baby, Cartney assisted in presenting more effective quarterly reviews by bringing to light the most important information in a more organizational manner. She also welcomed the opportunity to sit in on a nursing staff meeting to discuss how to resolve departmental issues.
“Like any job, I would say the biggest challenge was learning and adapting to the hospital’s data systems,” Cartney said. “It is not practical to think that you will study everything in school you need to apply in the workplace. Learning how to navigate through the extremely specialized programs took time to master. From this experience, I learned how to react to adversity and to use all the resources available to me.”
The internship provided Cartney a glimpse of what life was like after a college education. She gained skills outside of the classroom and created new relationships with experts in her field. It provided her valuable feedback from not only her supervisor and co-workers, but also her teacher, associate professor of business Summer Zwanziger Elsinger.
“I was able to ask Summer questions and dive into skills that I hadn’t learned in the classroom setting,” Cartney said. “Summer has played a great influence on my life. She always made herself readily available to provide me feedback, even when I wasn’t on Campus. During my time at UIU, she had my best interest in mind and always challenged me to step outside of my comfort zone. She was truly the best part of my UIU experience.”
The hands-on knowledge she gained from her internship and overall UIU education piqued Cartney’s interest in data analytics and resulted in her being hired as a support specialist with Hudl. The performance analysis company provides online tools, mobile and desktop apps, smart cameras, analytics, and professional consultation to coaches and athletes. Working from the company’s headquarters in Lincoln, Nebraska, the former Peacock women’s basketball player serves as a main source of contact for product information to coaches and various Hudl departments.
“I owe a great amount of this employment opportunity to UIU,” Cartney said. “My internship provided me tremendous experiences outside of the classroom and the chance to better understand my strengths, as well as make me aware of areas that I needed to improve on. Knowing I could talk about applying the knowledge I learned in the classroom to the real world gave me great confidence going into the interviewing process. The result of which is that I am now employed by an amazing company with which I share a vision for future growth, both professionally and personally.”
Alumni career guidance and networking opportunities
Similar to the benefits provided to students by the UIU School of Business and Professional Studies, and other internship programs, Peacock alumni can give back to the University, while extending a sense of pride, by joining Handshake and mentoring students or other alumni with career-related tips, resume advise, interviewing tips and more.
To serve as a mentor, create and confirm your account by visiting uiu.joinhandshake.com. Here you will make your profile visible to the community so that students and alumni are able to search for individuals associated with UIU.
For additional information about UIU Office of Career Development services, visit uiu.edu/careers. To make an appointment or to discuss how you can become involved, call Hope Trainor at 563-425-5208 or Anne Puffett at 563-425-5229 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.