Nicole Jovicevic: CPP Program ’14

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State Farm Projects:

During my time at State Farm, I did not have one particular project I worked on. The experience I gained included helping with side projects like database transfers, the creation of an acronym database for an executive summary, assisting with on-site research, and mastering my Powerpoint animations skills through restructuring a particularly troublesome Powerpoint slide created by an outside vendor. What I gained from working at State Farm was more intangible and not directly linked to my work with the internship. One of the main benefits of working at State Farm was realizing I liked working at a corporation. All the jobs I had and enjoyed prior to this internship had been with non-profit organizations. If it was not for this internship, I do not think I would have ever considered a job at a corporation and I’m thankful for being shown my future could take a different path. The other benefit of working at State Farm was being surrounded by many strong, female leaders. They inspired me to work hard at creating the work efficiency they were able to command from their employees. Seeing females rather than all males in these roles was a first-time experience and made my ability to succeed in these high level positions seem more probable. I also realized the importance of a work-life balance. State Farm’s strict policy on not working overtime or through lunch at first seemed overly strict, however, after experiencing a whole summer where I was able to do work, and have a full social life, I recognized how I had been creating a work-centric life with my responsibilities at school and would have run myself down quickly once I entered the workforce if I went in with the same work-centric life mentality.

Mid Central Projects:

Working at Mid Central Community Action has been an unexchangeable experience. From the moment I arrived, my supervisor Kristen Sand made sure my skills were utilized. The amount of time and energy spent on constructing a meaningful internship was rare, and exceptional. During my time here, I had the pleasure of hosting the Catherine Street Neighborhood Block Party in June as part of MCCA’s annual participation in NeighborWorks Week. The program was initiated by former intern Veronica Watson to support local West-Side resident, Tricia Terven, in her goal to give kids something to do in the summer and to bring the community together. After all of the work our team invested into this event, the Block Party was a great success and was a wonderful opportunity for a removed, Wesleyan student like myself to see the benefits I can contribute to the local community. The second project I completed during my time at MCCA was the construction of the Action Research Center Grant proposal on behalf of MCCA. Writing a well-crafted proposal helped me advance my writing skills, and my ability to make a well-crafted, well-supported proposal. The confidence I gained from this experience will allow me to pursue writing grants for other non-profits in the future. Currently, I am in the process of producing social media content for MCCA’s 50th anniversary campaign next year. It is a pleasure to be given the freedom to create strategies that I think will help highlight their programming, and transfer well to social media. Overall, this experience has made me a better, more marketable employee for the future and I feel very fortunate to have had this experience.

Nicole’s Grant:

Mid Central Community Action (MCCA) is dedicated to the restoration of one historical, faded “ghost” advertisement painted on a building in West Bloomington. To highlight this restoration, MCCA would like to publish a free brochure outlining a ghost-ad tour around West Bloomington. The brochure would allow individuals to follow a map that marks the ghost-ads in Bloomington and learn about the history along the way.  If MCCA receives $500 to cover the development and printing of the brochures, as well as the painting and restoration of the advertisement, then the West Bloomington Revitalization Project (WBRP) will match the donation at $500 for the installation of a plaque. This plaque would recognizes the historical significance of the building/advertisement. The ghost-ad restoration will add art to the neighborhood, while the plaque will provide cultural and historical value—three attributes strongly lacking in this community. This project is in-line with MCCA’s vision because supporting art and history will help “enhance the community.” If the project is successful, MCCA will commit to restoring one ghost-ad during MCCA’s annual participation in NeighborWorks Week.  MCCA will partner with Illinois Wesleyan Art Professor Kevin Strandberg, library assistant Milan Jackson from the McLean County Museum of History, and Deborah Halperin from the WBRP. Kevin Strandberg will be responsible for the restoration of the art, Milan Jackon will aid in the creation of accurate historical information for the plaque, and Deborah Halperin will assist in designing our Westside Ghost Tour and brochures.

A Note From Nicole:

As I mentioned before, I would like to thank Kristen for being so kind, patient, and invested in my internship. She truly played a fundamental role in making this summer internship exceptional. I would also like to thank the Strategic Integration team for helping me develop professionally and feel confident in my ability to work for a corporation in the future. I would also like to thank my roommates for being unbelievably patient with me, and for setting a consistently good example of how to live a healthy lifestyle.  I think this summer was eye-opening because for the first time I was not only invested in my work, but also into time for a social life. Working at State Farm was a key element in supporting this healthy habit because of State Farm’s policy on work-life balance, and how every employee believes and lives it full-heartedly. If I had gone into the workforce without this experience, I know I would have followed the bad habit of a work-centric life.