Northwest Community College Initiative (NWCCI) students have secured internships at a variety of businesses and organizations in the local community. We were excited to partner with the City of Lynnwood this year as a new internship provider. Students studying at Edmonds Community College are completing their internships with the City of Lynnwood’s mayor’s office, parks and recreation department, community outreach department, and the fire department. Below, Edmonds advisor, Kim Kraft, writes about Kaloosya Antony Musau of Kenya’s internship at the fire department. Kaloosya’s experience is a good example of how internships can be beneficial to the organization and the student.
The City of Lynnwood Fire Department’s administrative assistant, Misty Burton-Burke, was instrumental in creating an internship position at the fire station for a NWCCI student. Misty, also a current college student herself, believes that internships are an important facet of the college experience. She says, “The partnership between higher education institutions and local organizations benefits both parties. It is crucial for students to have an opportunity to apply gained knowledge and skills from college to real world situations. Internships also benefit the organization providing them as students are able to offer a fresh perspective and energy toward roles and tasks.” Kaloosya Musau chose to do his internship at the fire department primarily because it offered the real world application of his skills that Misty described. He says he was drawn to the position in part by “the thrill of working out of my comfort zone but within the confines of public service (considering I’m a public servant in Kenya).”
In the first few weeks of his internship, Kaloosya has researched and compiled specifications for computer tablets and mobile devices; he has also helped the department input training information into an Access database which is used by fire department personnel on a daily basis. Misty says, “Kaloosya benefits our organization by bringing previous work and college experience to the table. Kaloosya is able to share his prior experience of working in a government environment prior to accepting an internship with us. He is very organized and detail oriented in his work, which allows us to feel confident in the tasks he is completing. An overarching benefit of having Kaloosya is the positive and energetic attitude he brings to the office each day.”
Kaloosya has a number of personal and professional goals related to his internship. He says, “I am really working on communication skills, trying to explain my ideas in a manner that is easily understandable, which sometimes is a bit hard for me around people that I’ve newly met.” Kaloosya has no doubt that he is gaining skills that will be invaluable for the rest of his life. In particular, he is improving his time management skills and is enjoying the project-oriented work environment. He says, “the project based work style is one aspect of my internship that has really impressed me and I hope to deploy the same at my work place in Kenya,” he adds, “As a public servant I am also learning from my American counterparts a great deal of dedication, professionalism, work ethic and integrity that they put in the public service delivery.”
The NWCCI program is part of the Community College Initiative, an exchange program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs.