Nov. 9, 2016
Every day I go to work in my office and right outside my door our student interns do their work. Yes, they are millennials, but guess what? They’re not spoiled, undisciplined, lazy or entitled in the least – though the media would have you believe otherwise. These millennials are pretty freaking amazing and I’m certain when these young Spartans take over, the world will be in great hands.
Our interns amaze me. Not only are they bright, talented, resourceful and driven, they are thoughtful, caring and compassionate young men and women. We should all be so lucky to feed off their incredible energy. We’re not easy on them – we throw them right into the frantic pace of working in a professional public relations and marketing office. We teach them plenty and expect a lot and they never fail to impress us. They work hard and aren’t afraid to pitch in, even if it means trying something out of their comfort zone.
We once tasked an intern with interviewing MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon – on his very first day! He barely blinked and delivered on the challenge. They learn how to write better, take photos, edit video, pitch stories to the media, come up with social campaigns and more. We expect them to come up with creative ideas and produce quality work almost daily.
They do all of this while carrying heavy class loads, working other jobs, volunteering in the community and being involved in extracurricular activities. Lazy? Hardly. Entitled? Not a chance. These Spartans are highly engaged in their learning experiences. They have grabbed their college careers by the horns and are taking advantage of every opportunity.
Our interns aren’t special – it’s something expected of all Spartans on campus. In fact, MSU took the top spot for student engagement among public research universities in the recent inaugural Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education College Ranking, scoring higher on engagement than many of the nation’s most prestigious schools – private as well as public. Check out the MSUTODAY FEATURE: Engaging students for success, to read more about MSU’s exceptional level of student engagement.
Meredith Herman, a senior member of the Honors College studying biomedical laboratory science is the perfect example of a highly engaged Spartan. She isn’t simply going to class, she’s working in the Department of Neurology and Ophthalmology, raising funds for charity, sought medical experiences abroad and tackled a tough research project. She advises students to “Take advantage of resources on campus to get connected to research projects or programs that will boost your mastery of classroom material in the real world – it may lead you to uncover a different field that interests you.” Read her STUDENT VIEW: Make discoveries, to learn more about this determined young Spartan.
Adam Ingrao is another Spartan student who isn’t satisfied with simply studying. An Army veteran studying for a doctorate in plant science, he looked for ways to help other fellow veterans using his studies. He founded the Michigan Chapter of the Farmer Veteran Coalition of Michigan to assist farmer veterans. He also launched Heroes to Hives, which offers formal training in beekeeping to combat veterans. Read more about this incredible Spartan in the MSUTODAY STORY: Heroes in the field.
As Veterans Day approaches this Friday, it’s appropriate to honor Ingrao and all veterans for their service. Bill Ravlin, professor and chairperson of the Department of Entomology, honors them by working with campus programs to help veterans and is actively looking for ways to enroll more. Read his FACULTY VOICE: Finding Spartans Will in veterans, to learn more about the ways MSU is teaching veterans.
“Going to college” can mean a lot of different things to different people. There are hundreds of areas of study, different levels of degrees and countless experiences to be had. It really is all about taking advantage of the opportunities offered. For Spartans, going to class is simply not enough. Spartans have a determination to engage with the world around them – and ultimately make it better. Spartans Will.
Photo by Derrick L. Turner