RSU Students Complete Internships at ConocoPhillips

Rogers State University and ConocoPhillips are working together to place RSU student interns at the company’s offices in Bartlesville and some of those internships are resulting in full-time job offers after graduation.

Last spring, four RSU students who earned their bachelor’s degree in business administration at the Bartlesville campus completed internships at ConocoPhillips. All four were offered full-time professional positions at the company, including Amy Ashlock, Kristin Horsman, Lisa Locke and Leanne Tonubbee, all of Bartlesville.

This fall, eight RSU students are participating in the university’s business internship program, including Katie Lethgo of Bartlesville, Emily Wiswell of Claremore, Nick Pranger of Claremore, Amanda Scott of Inola, Diane Huffman of Bluejacket, Samuel Paden of Beggs, Kristina Muzzie of Talala and Misty Pritchett of Vinita.

Conveniently located a half block from the RSU campus in Bartlesville, ConocoPhillips is ideally situated as a “real world” educational experience for students majoring in business, information technology and related fields, said Bill Beierschmitt, provost and chief operating officer of RSU in Bartlesville.

“The presence of ConocoPhillips near the RSU campus in Bartlesville provides an unparalleled opportunity for our students to learn in a world-class corporate environment, not to mention getting in on the ground floor of one of the nation’s top corporate employers,” said Beierschmitt.

The internship program, established last year, has been very successful, according to all those involved, including RSU faculty internship coordinators, participating students and their supervisors at ConocoPhillips.

“We have been extremely pleased with the knowledge and professionalism of the RSU interns,” said Teresa Messerli, director of excise tax advisory at ConocoPhillips.
Messerli also serves as RSU internship coordinator and recruiter for the finance division at the company. In that role, she attends college career fairs, reviews resumes, conducts interviews with students and places them in departments within the company.

Dr. Bert Tollison coordinates the internship program for the RSU Department of Business, located in the School of Business and Technology. He helps place student interns at the RSU campuses in Bartlesville and Claremore at employers in the region, at top employers such as ConocoPhillips, the Grand River Dam Authority, and other companies and organizations, both public and private.

“Completion of an internship is often expected by employers seeking to hire new or recent graduates,” said Dr. Bert Tollison. “Employers no longer ask entry-level candidates if they have completed an internship – they ask where they completed their internship.”

To complete the internship, students must work 150 hours during the semester. They must complete a daily journal of their work assignments and submit progress reports on a weekly basis. The internship supervisor closely watches their progress and submits two extensive evaluation reports during the semester. The business internship is a three credit hour, senior-level class.

Samuel Paden, an RSU senior from Beggs, Okla., is completing an internship this fall in the ConocoPhillips human resources department. His major at RSU is business administration with an emphasis in human resources management.

“I’ve always been fascinated by how individual employees fit into an organization,” Paden said. “Everyone within an organization has a special role and it’s fascinating how it all comes together. I think that’s why I’m interested in human resources.”

Paden will earn three credit hours for completing his internship this fall. He lives in Claremore and drives to Bartlesville two days a week for the internship.

Kristina Muzzie, an RSU senior from Talala, Okla., is participating in an internship this fall in the excise tax department at ConocoPhillips. She is a graduate of Pinon High School in Pinon, Ariz. She expects to earn a bachelor’s degree in business administration with an accounting emphasis in December. After graduation, she is contemplating pursuing an M.B.A. at the University of Tulsa and earning her C.P.A. certificate.

“I jumped into work my first day on the job,” Muzzie said. “Right now, we’re checking taxes on invoices that might have been over-accrued.”

Tollison says the internships are structured to provide students with professional experience. “They’re not just filing or answering phones, they’re doing real work. It’s invaluable experience. Along with their academic studies, it’s an unbeatable combination.”

For more information on the internship program, call (918) 343-7507.