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What Katy did: Rees, Tolsky benefit from summer internships

Barry McNamara
10/13/2015
Katy Rees (left), a senior public relations major from Bolingbrook and Katy Tolsky (right), a junior business major from Frankfort, had meaningful internships this summer.
Other than their first name, what do Monmouth College students Katy Rees and Katy Tolsky have in common? They both had internship experiences over the summer that complemented their classroom education and should prove to be very beneficial when they seek full-time employment.

Rees, a senior public relations major from Bolingbrook, and Tolsky, a junior business major from Frankfort, worked for ENFOS, Inc., and Legacy.com, respectively. Both were assisted in their experiences by Monmouth alumni, as Rees worked with Roger Well ’86, the company’s chief operating officer and founding executive team member, while Tolsky was mentored by Megan McGuinness Haddad, a 2007 graduate.

Tolsky served as a marketing intern at Legacy.com, a top site in online obituaries and memorials, headquartered in Evanston. Under Haddad’s instruction, she was exposed to the world of B2B digital and content marketing.

Legacy.com partners with more than 1,500 newspapers to deliver memorials and obituaries to readers, and is one of the top 50 most-visited websites in the United States. Legacy’s recent announcement of its 100 millionth guestbook entry is testament to the site’s popularity among visitors.

Tolsky did not have any previous experience in the business world, but she was able to overcome that by using the knowledge she gained in the classroom, eagerly taking on all her assigned tasks.

Tolsky conducted market research to build a pricing elasticity study, used Google Analytics to pull more than 100 custom reports and build presentations, researched and wrote blog posts, and used software including WordPress, MailChimp, Survey Money and Wufoo to create webpages, surveys and emails. Tolsky was even given the opportunity to travel to New York to promote Legacy at Global Family Reunion, a large genealogy event.

“I’m sure that all of the skills I gained this summer will put a competitive edge on my resume, and make me stand out among other applicants,” said Tolsky.

Associate professor Terrance Gabel, Tolsky’s “Principles of Marketing” instructor, echoed his student’s sentiments about the relevance of her internship experience.

“I was excited to first hear of Katy’s internship with Legacy.com, in part because I am familiar with that cutting-edge company as a result of using their online memorials in some of my research,” he said. “I was even more excited – and thoroughly impressed – when I later learned of the highly relevant tasks and programs she was exposed to over the summer.”

Rees was introduced to the world of environmental software after landing a marketing internship with ENFOS, Inc. in Naperville. She was also exposed to the ins and outs of field sales, inside sales, inbound marketing and social media.

Founded in 2000, ENFOS has developed a cloud program designed to assist companies in organizing their environmental cleanup matters. Its customers include some of the world’s largest companies, including British Petroleum, ConocoPhillips and TOTAL (France’s largest oil company).

Rees was not previously familiar with environmental liabilities nor high-tech software programming, but she took on the task and credits “countless hours of research” throughout the summer for the success she achieved.

“I am very familiar with ENFOS and its cutting-edge operations as a result of managing strategic consulting projects for two business capstone courses in the spring of 2014,” said Gabel. “As a result, I can say with absolute confidence that the skills and knowledge that Katy acquired over the summer are truly invaluable.”

Rees’ responsibilities included CIO and 10K research of prospective clients, blog and news release writing, webinar planning and even some more creative projects like formatting marketing materials and video advertisement, which ties into her art minor.

“The array of projects assigned to me during my time at ENFOS kept me very busy,” said Rees. “I know all the hard work will pay off, though, and that the experience I gained and the skills I learned will give me a very competitive resume for my job search.”

“We are proud of Katy’s achievements and willingness to learn from our team in Naperville,” said Well. “I am confident that this experience will have a strong and positive impact to her continuing education and future career. We had her on our team for three months, and she is missed.”

“My time at ENFOS was extremely rewarding. I learned more than I ever imagined I would and I couldn’t have asked for better mentors to help me along the way,” said Rees. “I left with much more than I started. Interning for ENFOS gave me confidence that I am in the right field of work, and I am excited to see what my senior year and the future bring.”

Gabel called the internships “without question, two of the most meaningful and relevant I’ve seen in my 15 years of experience with internships around the country. These experiences, coupled with their diverse liberal arts background, will provide them both with experience and knowledge that will not only differentiate them from other applicants for their first job upon graduation but also help pave the way for their careers and lives well into the future.”

Monmouth College students are frequently aided in their search for internships by the college’s Wackerle Career and Leadership Center.