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Summer Internships: Robert Heinbokel

Ferris State University students gain valuable work experience through internships. Internships also can confirm or redirect career decision-making, provide marketability, develop people skills and enhance classroom learning. Many academic programs require one, but the experience is encouraged regardless to provide students with a better understanding of what will be expected of them in the workplace.

Many students are participating in myriad internships this summer. Meet:

Ferris State UniversityRobert Heinbokel

He is: a senior from Petoskey majoring in Computer Information Systems. Robert is an intern with GreenStone Farm Credit Services in Lansing.

What Robert is Learning on the Internship: “Serving as an application developer, I can see how an entire organization manages a large code base. It has been interesting to see how each individual works within their team and how each team works within their department. Writing code is just a part of being a software developer. Understanding where you fit in your team and what the business needs from you is also important. GreenStone is based in the agriculture industry, and so I have also learned a good deal about farms and how they operate, the problems they face and how GreenStone works with them.”

How Ferris Helped in Securing His Internship: “I actually secured the internship myself, but, in the end, Ferris has done a fantastic job of preparing me for this opportunity. I went in feeling like I had a good understanding of it all, and even though there was a lot I didn’t understand, the learning I completed at Ferris made it easy to pick up.”

Robert’s Advice for Students Seeking Internships: “I spent so much time while I was in school studying outside of actual coursework and school projects. I think if you really have the discipline to build projects on your own and really extend your knowledge beyond what your classes teach, you will be a great candidate for any job. When I interviewed for this position, I asked what technologies I could learn to prepare for the internship. I spent several months before my internship studying it and building projects in that technology. I feel like I came into this internship very well prepared.”

Making a Difference at His Internship: “Every time I have an extremely hard time, we have documented our process. I believe by taking this strategy, the next person who comes along will be able to overcome that obstacle much quicker. By seeking collaboration with the other developers, they usually become well educated in whatever area of the code I’m having issues with.”

Future Plans: “I have accepted an offer working as a software developer for Auto-Owners Insurance in their Traverse City site. I have really enjoyed my time with GreenStone, and they are a fantastic organization, but I am glad to start my career up north in Traverse City this August.”


PHOTO CAPTION: Grand Ledge native Robert Heinbokel, is a Ferris State University senior majoring in Computer Information Systems from Petoskey, Michigan. He is interning with GreenStone Farm Credit Services in Lansing.