With the recent economic downturn, the prospect of finding employment this summer presents a challenge for students across the country, including those at Oklahoma State University. To one OSU student’s delight, the Tulsa Chapter of the International Facility Management Association has come to the rescue, offering her an internship with four local businesses whose employees are affiliated with the chapter.
Whitney Wakefield, a junior interior design student enrolled in OSU’s College of Human Environmental Sciences’ Department of Design, Housing and Merchandising, was convinced she was not going to be able to find summer employment as an intern. Many of her friends and fellow students, all armed with great grades and resumes, were also finding it difficult to find employment.
Unbeknownst to Wakefield, the Tulsa Chapter of IFMA’s board of directors had been discussing the issue of college students having difficulty finding summer employment. They designed a program wherein the chapter would underwrite the costs of hiring an intern for an eight-week period, with four IFMA member companies each utilizing the intern for a two-week period over the summer.
Rick Bartholomew, the OSU faculty advisor assisting Design, Housing and Merchandising students with finding summer employment, was approached with the idea and eagerly agreed to help find a student or students to participate. The four Tulsa companies that signed on to be a part of the program were Kinslow, Keith and Todd, Mazzio’s Corp., Samson Investment Co. and Workplace Resource.
Wakefield’s first stop in June will be at Samson Investment, a large Tulsa oil and gas firm. She will assist the facility management team with work on their computer automated design program. Next up is Kinslow, Keith and Todd, a Tulsa architectural and interior design firm specializing in designing commercial office space, where Wakefield will be working alongside an OSU graduate student.
The third stop will be at Mazzio’s, where Wakefield will assist their construction team with the redesign of a Mazzio’s restaurant in Wagoner. Her last stop will be at Workplace Resource, a Herman Miller office furniture dealership. Wakefield will assist their design team with the layout and design of a number of modular furniture projects.
In addition to the four employment opportunities, Wakefield will also spend one or two days working at Tropical Plant Design, a local interior plant service firm. There, she will spend time learning about designing plant layouts for commercial properties.
“It was definitely a struggle finding an internship for the summer because of the economy, so when I first heard about IFMA’s program in one of my classes at OSU, I jumped at the opportunity,” said Wakefield. “Because of the unique nature of this program, I will get four times the amount of experience and exposure I might get otherwise, and it’s a paid internship as well. What more could I ask for? I am extremely grateful to the Tulsa chapter for making this all possible.”
To learn more about the Tulsa Chapter of IFMA, visit the chapter Web site at www.ifmatulsa.org.