At the end of last semester, the newest group of Botz Liberal Arts Fellowship students was announced.
The fellowship, named after SVSU alum Jan Botz, allows liberal arts students to use their talents in a business setting. Students chosen for the fellowship will enter a business related internship to gain useful experiences.
Funds from the fellowship are used to cover common expenses with internships, like transportation. Taking away expenses that can be worrisome for interns allows the fellows to focus solely on the experience.
Candidates had to submit resumes and an essay on leadership. Several students were then selected to be interviewed for the fellowship.
This year, four students were chosen for the fellowship.
“A new challenge is always exciting,” said Vincent Frank, a music junior. “This fellowship interested me because even though I am a music major, I want to go into non-profit management/administration for a career. The Botz Fellowship will really help me achieve that goal.”
Frank hopes to be placed in an internship in the Grand Rapids area.
“I’m looking at art and music organizations … like the Grand Rapids Symphony and Artists Creating Together,” Frank said. “More specifically, I’m looking at development and management internship positions.”
The Botz fellows get valuable experiences through workshops, networking events and meetings with their advisors.
Bill Stec, the interim director of Career Services, is one of the mentors for this year’s fellows.
“My passion is to help students nd their career path and introduce them to all the employer contacts we have across the state and country,” Stec said.
Advisors play an important role in guiding the fellows to be as successful as they can be in their internships and future careers.
“I advise the fellows by constructing their resume, researching companies that inspire them, preparing them for the employment fairs and attending professional development workshops such as dining etiquette and interview/dress skills … while networking with employers,” he said.
Joni Boye-Beaman, a retired professor of sociology at SVSU, is another mentor who has worked with the fellowship since it was established in 2013. She also worked closely with Botz, who established and endows the fellowship.
“The students who participate in the program are a joy to mentor,” Boye-Beaman said. “Many have not considered working in a business or corporate environment, and the fellowship allows them the opportunity to identify the talents and skills they bring to a position.”
Botz graduated from SVSU with an undergraduate degree in liberal arts, and she was awarded the university’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 1988.
Botz used her own experiences when founding the fellowship.
“My own corporate career experience as a liberal arts major was the inspiration for the fellowship,” she said. “… I firmly believe liberal arts majors have much to offer in a corporate environment and that businesses benefit greatly from having employees with the skills and diversity liberal arts majors bring to their jobs.”
Botz also serves as a member on the university’s Foundation Board of Directors. While she lives in Wisconsin, she still tries to be meet with the current fellows as often as possible.
“It’s been a most gratifying experience to know that in a small way, I’ve been able to help some young people expand their personal horizons and also to secure meaningful work,” she said.
Reporting from Shelby Mott