Student takes advantage of internship at local company on campus

October 11, 2010

Though officials at DesAcc typically seek out interns at events such as job fairs, they met the current intern in a strikingly different fashion.

She simply dropped in.

Indiana State University graduate student Lakshmi Attota stopped in the Terre Haute offices of DesAcc, Inc., which are housed in the John T. Myers Technology Center at ISU, in the summer of 2009. There was an unexpected opening with the company's local facility, which works to convert and move medical data for hospitals. Though the organization has a protocol for hiring interns, a conversation with Attota convinced Walter Balcavage, manager of DesAcc operations in Terre Haute, that she was the right person for the job.

"When you get a bright kid, you don't need to run them through the hoops of check-marks," Balcavage said. "Lakshmi's bright, and she learns fast, and she's been very good for us."

Though DesAcc first hired her for a six-month position in 2009, she still works there today. Attota has done a variety of tasks in the office, including data conversion and interacting with customers.

"I got to know more about the business," Attota said, "what they're really doing."

DesAcc, which currently has only Attota as an intern, has hired a number of students from ISU and other local colleges in the past, and they have been a good fit for the company, Balcavage said.

"They've all gone on to bigger and better things," he added. "I think they've all benefited from the kind of business discipline that we strive to maintain."

The company teaches interns the core business processes while trying to utilize each person's acquired skills and interests. Interns also have the chance to do different things in the office. Attota even had the opportunity to learn about marketing, Balcavage said.

Attota, who started at ISU in January 2009 and is studying for her master's degree in industrial and mechanical technology, has seen the connection between her studies and her internship. She said that several of her classes deal with supervision, which she noticed are relevant when she interacts with customers and how her manager deals with situations.

She also has enjoyed her time as a graduate student. She said that professors are friendly and don't always require appointments to talk to students.

Her internship almost came about by accident. Attota, who is from India, was searching for jobs when a friend of hers told her about DesAcc.

"My classes are just upstairs," she said, "so I thought that maybe I'd just walk in."

Though she has continued working at DesAcc while pursuing her degree, her time there is coming to an end. She's scheduled to graduate in December.

"We'll be very sorry to see her leave," Balcavage said.

Photo: http://isuphoto.smugmug.com/photos/1036410942_oDa9h-L.jpg (ISU/Tony Campbell)
Indiana State University graduate student Lakshmi Attota is currently an intern at DesAcc.

Contact: Christopher Pfaff, Director - Business Engagement, John T. Myers Technology Center, Indiana State University, 812-237-2530 or chris.pfaff@indstate.edu

Writer: Austin Arceo, assistant director of media relations, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3790 or austin.arceo-negrich@indstate.edu