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Department of English

Internships: Editing (Business)

Olivia Swalley--Business Intern

Intern: Olivia Swalley, English with emphasis in creative writing

Workplace Supervisor: Rosemary Kniggendorf, Black and Veatch

Faculty Supervisor: Han Yu, Professor, English

Course: ENGL 495 Professional Writing Internship (External)

Semester: Summer, 2015

Olivia had an internship in summer 2015 with Black & Veatch, a Kansas-City-based engineering, consulting, and construction company. The company works in multiple global markets including energy, water, and telecommunications. Working within the company’s Technical Services Department, Olivia edited a variety of policy and procedure reports, with topics ranging from dam construction procedures to safety measures for electrical plants. Olivia also edited many internal technical training PowerPoint documents used by the engineers in the company.

As an English major, Olivia did not start the internship with a particularly strong interest in engineering topics, but she was pleasantly surprised at how much she enjoyed the work. She appreciated the opportunity to edit text for real-world applications, the personal responsibilities the company placed on her, the experience of helping engineering experts polish their writing, and the encouragement and help she received from her supervisors and colleagues. Her supervisors and colleagues were equally impressed by her. Rosemary Kniggendorf, her direct supervisor, said, “Having Olivia as an intern this summer was a great experience.  She had the technical skills and work behaviors needed to provide valuable assistance to our team at Black & Veatch.  As a result, an offer of employment was made, and Olivia will be joining us full-time after graduation.”

Olivia believes that this internship is tremendously useful in preparing her for a future career in editing. It exposed her to corporate style guides, standard writing formats, the important issue of writing consistency, among many other things. Olivia urges English students to value internships: “I didn’t think that internships were that beneficial… so I didn’t care to look for them, but [now] I think they are greatly important.… It’s important for English students to realize that there are many businesses and many corporations that need writers or people who can write.” 

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