UND Today

University of North Dakota’s Official News Source

InternGF delivers big wins

Called ‘rousing success’ in local editorial, InternGF helps UND students land great jobs with Grand Forks-area employers

A panel of InternGF interns and employers answers questions at InternGF’s Sixth Annual Launch Event, held Feb. 1 at UND’s Center for Innovation in Grand Forks. Center for Innovation photo.

By Haylee Bjork

“After five years, consider InternGF a rousing success for its work to encourage relationships between UND students and local companies.”

That’s not the managers of InternGF talking. Instead, it’s the Grand Forks Herald, which on Feb. 2 published an editorial praising InternGF and the terrific success the program is enjoying with UND students and Grand Forks-area employers.

The Herald was among the employers and UND students who gathered on Feb. 1 – the day before the editorial appeared – to celebrate the sixth annual launch of the InternGF program..

InternGF is a unique partnership between the UND Center for Innovation and the Grand Forks Region Economic Development Corp. It is designed to both introduce UND students to high-wage, in-demand careers and employers in the Grand Forks region, and help the region’s recruitment and retention efforts by showcasing regional companies, career opportunities and community assets.

The program funds up to $3,500 per internship for selected employers, with the focus being on start-ups and Grand Forks EDC members.

Organizers talk to attendees at InternGF’s Sixth Annual Launch Event, which was held on Feb. 1 at UND’s Center for Innovation. Center for Innovation photo.

100 percent positive reports

At the Feb. 1 event, this year’s launch of the program was celebrated at the UND Center for Innovation. Attendees got to hear first-hand about the importance of InternGF to UND students and employers in the region. At the end of the event, attendees also got to hear tips about internships from Chelsea Mellenthin, director for Career Engagement at UND’s Experiential Learning Center.

Center for Innovation Director Amy Whitney and Becca Cruger, director of Workforce Development for the Grand Forks EDC, kicked off the event by showcasing the impact InternGF has made on UND students and the Grand Forks community.

For example, 100% of the UND students involved report that their internship provided them with valuable information to bring to their future career goals, the leaders said, citing program research and check-ins that InternGF organizers extend weekly to participants.

Moreover, InternGF impacts not only students, but also Grand Forks workforce development as well. Citing the above-mentioned research, Cruger reported that more than 50% of the students who had internships in the program also decided to remain in Grand Forks after graduation.

Panelists at InternGF’s Sixth Annual Launch Event include (from left) Korrie Wenzel, publisher of the Grand Forks Herald and Prairie Business; Madalynn Sauter, a UND Computer Science major whose InternGF internship gave her great reasons to stay in Grand Forks; and Robert Whiting, a UND graduate who is chief financial officer at Fenworks, an InternGF employer. Center for Innovation photo.

‘No reason to leave Grand Forks’

One such student is Madalynn Sauter, a junior majoring in Computer Science at UND. “After I got my internship through InternGF, it completely changed my mind about the opportunities for my major in Grand Forks,” Sauter said.

“After I got this opportunity presented to me, I now have a great job and no reason to leave Grand Forks.”

Through InternGF, Sauter is currently an intern at IVIRY, an IT company that provides secure and compliant IT services and incident response to government contractors and small businesses.

Nicholas Hamilton, a senior at UND who received an internship at FenWorks last summer specializing in UAS development, agreed. “InternGF showed me that there are many more opportunities in Grand Forks that I wouldn’t have seen before doing this internship,” he said..

InternGF has provided a vast number of unique internships, in industries ranging from digital marketing to wood crafting, organizers said.

As mentioned above, the goal of InternGF is to retain UND graduates and show them – through first-hand experience in the students’ desired fields of work – the many opportunities that are available in Grand Forks.

One other place where that formula has proven successful is at the Grand Forks Herald itself. Delaney Otto, a recent UND graduate who majored in Communication, was an InternGF participant who interned for the Herald. Her experience helped her decide to continue her work as a reporter for the Herald, where she focuses on the Grand Forks region.

“InternGF creates a pipeline of access to UND students, which helps us to continue hiring locally,” said Korrie Wenzel, publisher of the Herald and Prairie Business Magazine, at the InternGF event.

Haylee Bjork

About the author

Haylee Bjork is marketing outreach coordinator for the Center for Innovation at UND.