Victoria Jerusal, Kaed Benski and Mark Currier - Parker Hannifin Interns
Three University of Idaho students grow from internship, find success at Parker Hannifin
McCook, Nebraska is more than just a rural town 1,200 miles away from the University of Idaho; it is home to Parker Hannifin, a manufacturing company that recruited three U of I interns, Kaed Benski, Mark Currier and Victoria Jerusal, to experience the area for themselves in their summer internship programs.
Parker Hannifin Human Resource Specialist, Jeff Crick, said the fluid and motion control industry virtually encompasses every enterprise out there from agriculture to aerospace and mining to construction. He said the company is beginning to open more doors for internship opportunities in McCook.
Originally recruiting nearby universities, Crick decided to branch out a year ago and has been impressed with U of I students ever since, becoming a premiere sponsor of Career Services.
“I immediately really connected to the students here,” Crick said. “They really are a great fit for our location in McCook in particular, but also Parker Hannifin as a whole. The students are humble, respectful, and many of them are from rural upbringings that fits us perfectly.”
Crick said he was able to find Benski, Currier and Jerusal through presentations in their classrooms and Vandal Networking Night, followed by more formal interviews.
“Victoria shadowed me and worked with me nearly every day,” Crick said. “For the first two months, she was in my office a lot. I also worked more indirectly with Kaed and Mark. The goal of the internships is to talk about projects that would be meaningful and beneficial to both the students and the company.”
Jerusal, a senior human resources management and marketing double major, said Crick was one of her best cheerleaders and inspiring mentors who made her want to get up and go to work every day.
“I was able to be the mold instead of fitting the mold,” Jerusal said. “The amount of touch points HR has on individuals within the workplace is huge because we are kind of the gatekeepers between the company standards and the employment aspect.”
She said she was tentatively looking for an internship when the Parker Hannifin representatives gave a presentation in one of her business classes. She said without Career Services initiating company classroom visits, she would have never known about Parker.
She prepared for her job interview by utilizing Career Services throughout her entire college career, mainly receiving feedback on her resume and cover letter with the generous help of Jen Smith, to ensure she was in love with it. She was also introduced to networking sites like Handshake and Indeed.
Currier, a material science engineer with a minor in accounting, stumbled upon his internship by attending the Career Fair and Vandal Networking night.
Getting the job with Parker taught Currier the importance of being able to communicate engineering lingo into understandable terms. Upon arrival in McCook, he began asking questions and observing others complete process engineering and quality engineering projects. He was told by his bosses that he would be treated as a full-time employee, just with fewer responsibilities.
“I am excited to continue learning more about a variety of projects dealing with extrusion technology, mixing, vulcanization, and managerial roles, some projects big and some small,” Currier said.
He said he is excited to go back to Parker next summer and plans to continue working in quality and process engineering. There are many projects he sees opportunities with and is ready to go back and finish what he couldn’t in just three short months.
Benski, senior chemical engineering student at U of I, worked directly with Currier on projects. He said he already knew him from campus, but the internship provided a chance to live with him and get to know him even better.
He said neither of them really knew what to expect going to McCook, but ran with it and gained real world, hands on experience in the field. He said the employees and supervisors provided a warm welcoming and a great work environment for learning.
“One of my favorite parts about my internship was how extremely nice everyone was, more so than I expected,” Benski said. “I am pretty shy and introverted, but my internship with Parker helped me become more outgoing and personable. A good engineer needs to be personable.”
Benski attended Vandal Networking Night and the Career Fair for several years before landing an opportunity with Parker last spring, noting that he wouldn’t have heard about the company without Career Services. He said he has utilized Career Services throughout his time at U of I, mostly for fine tuning his resume and networking.
“Career Services is always here for you,” Benski said. “Even if you don’t get the job you were really wanting, attending events like Career Fair is great experience no matter what. I didn’t know anything about Parker but ended up getting an internship with them.”