By Lauren LaMothe, Intern at the Indiana Commission for Higher Education

After accepting my internship position with the Commission of Higher Education and their communications and outreach team, several thoughts and scenarios filled my mind. As a Psychology major with the intention of pursuing nursing after college, I felt overwhelmed and underprepared. I’ve never had experience in a communications position before this opportunity. Although I have always had a passion for healthcare, I am also drawn to management.

When Commissioner Teresa Lubbers offered me the opportunity to collaborate with her team and work as a communications intern, I was ecstatic. Not only was I excited to embark on a new and foreign career experience, I was also given the opportunity to work closely with the Commissioner.

COVID-19 and Dealing with the Unexpected

Yet, as my time at the Commission approached, so did a global pandemic. Several of my peers’ internships were cancelled, causing me to panic. I was afraid this rare opportunity would be ripped away from me. Thankfully, even in these uncertain times, I was still given the opportunity to work at the Commission. As my first day approached, I was scared and eager to impress; however, the environment I began to work in was not terrifying or daunting at all, but it was welcoming and warm. Each employee from the Commission displayed patience and a willingness to teach. Although the Commission is composed of 14 board members, there are many more staff working behind the scenes to constantly improve higher education. The office includes several different teams with different tasks that come together and work as one for the same purpose.

Despite the stressful climate that COVID-19 created, all of the team members ensured that they took time out of their day to teach me about different positions within the office. I was not only there to be an intern and help with day-to-day tasks, but I was also there to learn and observe which positions best fit my interests. In addition to working with each different team member, I have also been able to observe Commissioner Lubbers during her meetings. Each meeting was more informative than the other as I watched her in action. I am a strong supporter of the work Commissioner Lubbers does for the state of Indiana. As someone who strongly supports the mission of higher education, it has been indescribable to see how everything works behind the scenes.

Reflecting on My Internship

My time at the Commission has exceeded any expectations I’d had. While the work of each individual in the office is incredible, it is the cohesiveness and teamwork of the staff that has inspired me during the short time I have been here.

During a pandemic, I believe it is expected to have disagreements and bumps along the road to recovery, but that is not what I observed at the Commission. Each team member not only has loyalty and respect for one another, but they also all share a beautiful friendship. I have never been a part of a team in which every member can joke with one another and care for one another, especially during this stressful period of time.

I expected to join the team briefly and help in small ways, but again, my expectations were exceeded. The team has made me feel valued and needed. I have also made friendships that I will cherish and remember along with skills that will aid me in any career I choose in the future. I am so grateful to the team and Commissioner Lubbers for accepting me as their own and providing time and effort to teach me how they operate. This will be an experience that I will never forget.

About the Contributor:

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Lauren LaMothe is a senior at Purdue University studying Psychology. Her minors include Spanish, Organizational Leadership, and a certificate in Entrepreneurship. Lauren plans on applying to the Orr Fellowship as well as various accelerated nursing programs when she graduates. Lauren is passionate about spending time with her family and exercising.

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