MPA interns at IDOT gain insight into government with hands-on administrative experience

Master in Public Administration (MPA) students Jodi Cox and Anna Limbrick have gained government agency experience as interns at the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) in Collinsville.

Jodi Cox, MPA student and IDOT intern

The IDOT District 8 headquarters is responsible for maintaining highways in 11 counties and, according to Cox and Limbrick, who are serving as its first interns, the site offers valuable experience.

“[The internship] gives me the opportunity to learn about working in a public entity. It’s valuable to get experience while getting my degree,” Cox said.

Limbrick said she loves learning the way organizations work and “getting hands-on opportunities.”

“It’s definitely been enlightening about how government organizations are run,” Limbrick said. “There are many rules and regulations to remember during daily work.”

Cox and Limbrick have learned administrative skills such as payroll processing, bid processing where they seek outside contractors or businesses to complete projects and personnel processing–rating applicant and compiling candidate evaluations.

MPA professor Julie Pietroburgo, also MPA internship coordinator, said interns placed through the MPA program get experience in various public sector areas, gain contacts within their profession and, through their pursuits, have a “nice line” that they can add to their resumes.

Cox and Limbrick have been working part-time at the site since last fall. In addition to being paid for their work, they each receive a tuition waiver while in the internship program.

According to Pietroburgo, the MPA internship program has received “very positive feedback” from IDOT as far as the program itself and Cox and Limbrick. The program, according to Pietroburgo, is a “win-win-win situation for IDOT, SIUE and the students.”

“For us, it’s great because our department’s reputation is built in the outside community,” Pietroburgo said ”For IDOT, two skilled and knowledgeable employees are available to take on extra projects. And students benefit not only in the knowledge they gain, but in the experiences they can bring to the classroom.”

Anna Limbrick, MPA student and IDOT intern

As part of the program, Cox, Limbrick and seven other MPA interns placed at area government and non-profit organizations meet each month for a 3-credit hour course to discuss their work as well as public administration practice, ethics and current issues within the field.

Cox and Limbrick both said they enjoy the class and that it is interesting to compare notes with other student interns.

MPA professor Nancy Huyck had contacts with IDOT from her previous employment in state government, which helped lay the groundwork for the internship opportunities.

Pietroburgo said the program with the agency has proven to be a great partnership.

“It works to everyone’s benefit and we hope it leads to other internship opportunities in state government,” Pietroburgo said.

Cox earned a bachelor’s degree in foreign languages and literature from SIUE, entered the MPA program last summer and is also working toward her museum study certificate.

Limbrick earned a bachelor’s in history from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, and has also been in the MPA program since last summer. She said she hopes to someday work in a museum but is open to other alternatives.


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