On-campus internship provides exceptional experience

By Alexa Ganzeveld ’21

For international students, finding an internship can be a stressful experience. Because of the limitations of their educational Visas, off-campus internships almost always require extra paperwork and authorization from the federal government. When Ryan Keel ’21, from eSwatini, South Africa, approached Jo Dorrance, the college’s internship coordinator, he was hopeful she could help him secure an on-campus opportunity that would provide him with the same real-world experience that an off-campus internship would offer.

And she didn’t disappoint.

“She’s the best link if anybody else is wanting an internship. She’s a great resource,” said Keel, a double major in computer science and computer information systems, said.

During the summer of 2020, Keel served as an intern for Jenzabar, a technology suite for higher education, without ever having to leave campus. The internship program, which the company launched in 2017, provides students with opportunities to gain real-world experience working in technology while helping their institutions better leverage Jenzabar software across multiple departments. Interns are employed by their schools — a bonus for international students like Keel — but Jenzabar funds their wages.

“Jenzabar provides pretty much all of what Wartburg uses when it comes to databases. Most of the software that gets used is a Jenzabar product, and they provide that kind of service to a lot of colleges around the United States,” Keel said.

Ryan Keel

Each of the 51 2020 Jenzabar interns had a different role based on the needs of their individual college. For Keel, that meant making paper forms for registering for, adding, and dropping classes all available online.

“It takes five minutes to fill out a form and submit it through the way that I’m making, compared to potentially three days of you walking back and forth, trying to organize meetings with your advisers, anyone who’s sponsoring whatever you’re trying to do, and going back to the registrar. It can take a long time compared to if everything is just online,” Keel said. “Once it does go live, it’ll be easier for the students and advisers to complete any form, from anywhere, in a matter of minutes,” Keel said.

Keel, who attended Waterford Kamhlaba United World College of Southern Africa, felt that Wartburg was the best fit for him because of the size and the computer science and computer information systems programs. On-campus, he is involved in the International Club and African Representative Council. After graduation, Keel hopes to stay in the United States and find work in his field.