WINONA LAKE — Grace College recognized students Spencer Roberts and Danielle Deal, and area employers CoolCorp and RSM, during the Influence Awards Luncheon on Tuesday, April 11. The annual luncheon at Grace College featured keynote speaker Melissa Montana from STAR 88.3 and awarded outstanding students in internship and applied learning experiences as well as the businesses and organizations where they work. This year’s winners were selected by Grace College Center for Career Connections Advisory Council members Tom Roy, David Robertson and Marlene Mulero-Betances.
Spencer Roberts, a sophomore at Grace majoring in youth ministries and biblical studies, was named Applied Learning Student of the Year for his work at Centerville United Methodist Church in Centerville, Ohio. Danielle Deal, a senior at Grace studying accounting and marketing, was awarded Intern of the Year for her work at Flagship Enterprise Center in Anderson. Both students were honored for their exemplary work with an engraved glass award, books by millennial best-selling author Paul Angone and a $250 monetary prize.
During his applied learning experience, Roberts contributed heavily to Centerville UMC’s TEAMeffort, a youth mission organization that hosts youth groups at construction camps across the country. As camp counselor, Roberts led devotions with students, played in the worship band and helped lead chapel each night.
“Winning the award was unexpected to say the least. I am incredibly humbled by this recognition,” said Roberts. “I take pride in the work I do and I’m very appreciative that Grace would acknowledge my time and energy at TEAMeffort in this way. To know that I made a lasting impact there is humbling and exciting.” After college, Roberts plans to direct his passions into full-time youth ministry at a local church. Roberts said, “I want to spend my live investing in youth and giving them a fuller understanding of and love for Christ. My applied learning experience has prepared me for that.”
Intern of the Year Danielle Deal has interned for three area companies during her time at Grace, including Flagship Enterprise Center which nominated her for the award. “Danielle received great accolades from Flagship employees who worked alongside her in the accounting department,” said DeeAnna Muraski, associate director for the Center for Career Connections at Grace College. “They said she was invaluable to the operations of the accounting team and credited her with streamlining their financial reporting system and directly impacting Flagship’s bottom line.”
Two employers were also honored during the Influence Awards Luncheon. CoolCorp, established by Grace alumnus Wesley Gensch in 2015, was named Applied Learning Employer of the Year. CoolCorp specializes in personal cryotherapy products in Warsaw. Gensch has created opportunities for many Grace students to help launch his business, including positions in accounting, marketing and corporate law.
RSM, an audit, tax and consulting firm based in South Bend, was recognized as Internship Employer of the Year. RSM has provided numerous internships to Grace students over several years. RSM creates an excellent environment for training, hands-on experience, special events and mentorship. Students come away with valuable knowledge gained through worthwhile projects and professional interaction.
Grace College’s applied learning and internship programs are designed to incorporate real-world experience in the college curriculum. All Grace students are required to complete 12 hours of applied learning credits to earn their bachelor’s degree. Grace’s Center for Career Connections has developed partnerships with more than 250 area businesses and organizations from which students may choose to apply their classroom learning and explore their desired career path.