The Pupils of the Pride: Interning at the City of St. Charles

By Kamari Jordan, Communications Graduate Intern in City Administration

Earning a master’s degree had always been in my post-graduation plans, but I wanted to gain real work experience and give my resume a boost. After earning my bachelor’s degree, I felt reinvigorated. As a former collegiate student-athlete I have always been ambitious, but completing my undergraduate education inspired me to push myself. I was interested to see how much I could grow under the guidance of professionals.

The experience in my first month as the City of St. Charles Communications Graduate Intern has already proven to be so valuable. The people I work with are welcoming, willing to help and embrace me as their peer. Not only am I involved in important meetings and projects, but I am encouraged to participate and contribute in them. I anticipated my age would come with its disadvantages, being that I am very opinionated and would be working closely with long-tenured employees and esteemed professionals. But my supervisors see value in my youth and I use my fresh perspective to immediately contribute.

It’s wonderful working in downtown St. Charles. Residents are outside walking their dogs, biking and enjoying the summer weather along the Fox River. Sometimes on breaks I go out to enjoy the scenery and catch up on some reading. It gives me pride knowing that I work for a place that is so uniquely beautiful and I believe that pride drives me to go above and beyond in my work.

“The culture here thrives on a passion for public service and fosters a sense of community, which I think creates a sense of unity among all the employees,” said Human Resources Graduate Intern Nick Lisle. “Additionally, I don’t know a St. Charles employee who doesn’t take pride in the work they do. I think that every employee here knows that they’re contributing to the betterment of the community.”

The City of St. Charles offers internships in many departments and fields. Currently there are interns in Communications, Human Resources, the Police Department, and Public Works/Civil Engineering, at both the undergraduate and graduate level. In Communications, I have the opportunity to collaborate and network with a lot of people. Not only am I exposed to the field I am pursuing, but also other fields that I may not know I am interested in.

“When I first began my internship, I was under the impression that I was going to walk away knowing how to hire an employee, orientate them, copy, and file; I was completely caught off guard when I learned I was going to be introduced to so much more than that. Only in St. Charles can you find an opportunity to develop field-related skills, gain first-hand experience, and work with some of the most dedicated people in public service,” says Lisle.

Internships are a way to grow while testing the waters. Learning to work smart, collaborate and network while gaining experience is a great introduction into the workforce.

Straight from the Fox’s Mouth: Quotes from the City of St. Charles Interns

The Environmental Services Division is responsible for maintaining the City’s Water, Wastewater, and Sanitary Sewer systems.

“I am an Intern in the Environmental Services Division…The biggest project I am working on is research and development of a lead line replacement policy for the City to begin to remove any water service lines that are made of lead, in cooperation with an upcoming state bill that is mandating all lead service lines be replaced. This project includes building an inventory of which homes contain lead service lines, replacement options, contacting other municipalities for advice and collaboration.  Other projects include creating a sanitary sewer overflow operations procedure, and an Emergency By-Pass pumping operations binder.”- Cameron Miller, Undergraduate Intern Environmental Services Division

The Public Works Engineering Division is responsible for providing engineering services for the City related to streets, sewers, water, traffic and stormwater management in relation to pollutant discharge reduction.  Engineering Division staff plan, manage, design and oversee construction in relation to the City’s capital improvement budget, as well as a variety of additional technical and professional services.

“I am the civil engineering intern… Some fun things I have done this summer include inspecting culverts, learning how to survey, and sitting in on meetings to discuss some very interesting future projects. I wanted to intern with the City because I knew it would offer me a diverse outlook on what civil engineering is. I have been involved in design work and also spent time in the field. It is exciting being able to see the City and know that I have helped to improve its streets!”- Kellen Hinchey, Undergraduate Intern Civil Engineering

The Human Resources Department attracts and retains the highest-quality employees by providing competitive compensation and benefits; fostering career development and training; and creating a healthy work environment.

“In undergrad, I was eager to put what I learned into practice. On a whim, I applied for the human resources internship position with the City of St. Charles…Helping close four collective bargaining agreements, assisting with Americans with Disabilities Act interactive meetings and workplace investigations, and coordinating a mock Occupational Safety and Health Administration/Illinois Department of Labor compliance effort, has significantly inspired me to pursue a legal career in the field of labor and employment law. I wanted to intern with the City of St. Charles because of my passion for public service leadership at the local level of government.”- Nick Lisle, Graduate Intern Human Resources