For Stefani Leeper, a summer internship with the Rocky Mountain Conference introduced her to her dream job. The senior communication major helped develop the weekly newsletter, News Nuggets; the conference website and advertisements; and recruit writers for and edit the Mountain Views, the Rocky Mountain Conference magazine. According to Leeper, the most important thing she has been able to do is develop her skills as a copy editor.
“If I could design a job perfectly suited for me, this would be it,” Leeper said. “I can’t think of anything else I would rather do.” She says writing and editing gives her a feeling of accomplishment and pride, and to be able to help other people develop their writing skills makes her immensely happy.
Leeper previously worked in the Marketing Communications office at Union, and as a writer and section editor of Clocktower, the Union College student newspaper. After writing and editing for both lifestyle and news sections, Leeper found she preferred news writing because, as she puts it, “I tend to approach articles with a news-focused mentality, not a conversational mentality.”
Chris Blake, associate professor of English and communication and Leeper’s academic advisor, first told her about the internship. Blake spoke with Ray Dabrowski, communications director at Rocky Mountain, about possible student workers for the summer. “Ray believes in empowering youth through positions in the conference, because the youth will be future employees,” Leeper said. “He was seeking a communication intern. Mr. Blake recommended me as a potential applicant, and I was fortunate enough to be accepted.”
Leeper has said the best part about her internship has been the people, specifically Dabrowski and Carol Bolden, her supervisors. She loves the feeling of crossing off items on her to-do list and becoming more independent. Leeper has also been able to travel to research for articles—to Glacier View Ranch in Colorado and Mills Spring Ranch in Wyoming.
Union was not Leeper’s first choice when she was looked at colleges. When her family moved from California to Nebraska after her father took a job at Union, she realized she would save a lot on tuition if she moved to Lincoln rather than staying on the West Coast, and she is very happy with her decision. “Union is a great place to be and has helped me grow not only as a writer but as a person,” she said. She has learned how to share opinions in an effective, non-abrasive manner, allowing her to better communicate her thoughts and ideas into her work.
“Be flexible and trust in God,” Leeper said. “Things will not always work out—flights might be delayed, a family member might pass as you’re about to start a new journey—but with a little faith and acceptance that we cannot change time, puzzle pieces rearrange themselves into a newer, and often more complete picture.” She believes no one should give up on their dreams and that college students should always communicate with professors and advisors, as they are “instrumental in your success.”
By Elizabeth Bearden, student writer