An internship in the transportation industry never crossed my mind until my college’s career center reached out regarding an opportunity to join the Union Pacific Corporate Giving team.
An advisor thought my personality and skillset would be a great match for the position and the manager overseeing it. I was excited because the internship would give me the chance to branch out and learn about a key function of our supply chain and economy. Now, almost a year later, I am taking advantage of opportunities to develop and leverage my strengths to help Build America.
In this role, I assisted the mission of the Union Pacific Foundation. Tasks include serving as primary liaison for organizations seeking information and guidance about UP’s grant opportunities, tracking and recording contributions made to organizations in UP communities, analyzing and presenting data, and editing the UP website. My internship also featured many projects where I could collaborate with leaders throughout multiple departments and improve my organizational, collaborative and communication skills.
Hands down, my favorite part has been assisting the Community Ties Giving Program. Each year, UP accepts grant applications from more than 1,700 organizations looking to build and improve their communities in the areas of safety, workforce development, community spaces, local needs — and new this year — environmental sustainability. I created dashboards, improved grant application forms and solved technical issues experienced by applying organizations.
There have been many opportunities to network with established professionals and other interns, including a trip to North Platte, Nebraska, to see the largest classification yard in North America, a Men’s College World Series Baseball Game, an event with UP leadership and local nonprofit partners aboard the Big Boy No. 4014 steam train, and even a breakfast and Q&A session with Chairman Lance Fritz. These events helped me expand my professional network and gave me valuable exposure to many potential careers.
UP encouraged me to take advantage of opportunities outside my formal employment. As an analyst with the Creighton Baseball Analytics Team, I provided advanced metrics and analytics coverage to the NCAA’s Men’s College World Series. Team UP encouraged me to pursue this opportunity even when it meant I would have to take time off work. The company puts a strong focus on intern development, even if it means time out of the office.
My manager and mentor, David Black, director-Corporate Relations, made this internship the most valuable learning experience I’ve ever had. Every day, he found a way to help me improve my business acumen and provided visibility for the work I produced. He and other Team UP managers were quick to provide praise for successful projects and challenged me to find ways to continuously improve our business practices. David and UP leadership made it abundantly clear that I am more than just an intern, I am a valuable team member. David, you have provided leadership in every way imaginable. I am immensely glad that I was able to collaborate with you.
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This fall I will enter my junior year at Creighton University, where I am studying Business Intelligence & Analytics and Finance & Technology. I find the rapid growth and impact of technology and data analytics to be fascinating. I hope to utilize my skills in finance, data analysis and software development to build a career in a data-driven company, such as Union Pacific.
My internship experience at UP was incredible. I gained educational work experience, improved my communication skills and made connections with mentors who want to see me grow and succeed, all while having fun and learning about a key contributor to the local and national economy. I am more prepared for my future career because of this experience. UP has provided lessons I will be able to leverage in interviews, in classes, and in my career. I am grateful for my time on the Union Pacific Corporate Giving Team!