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MSU Career Services awards annual Experiential Education Awards

Experiential Education Awards Winners PictureMorehead State University's Office of Career Services has named the winners of its annual Experiential Education Awards. The awards honor a student, an employer and a faculty member whose contributions to and investments in career development via experiential education were exceptional. All students, employers and faculty engaged in experiential education – internships, co-ops, clinicals, practicums and student-teaching – during 2020 were eligible for nomination.   

"Career Services is excited to be able to recognize excellent faculty supervisors and employers who make hands-on experiential education opportunities available to our students," said Megan Boone, Director of Career Services. "The students deserve recognition, and they are making an impact for these employers. We had some excellent nominations, and these three winners exemplify the dedication of our employers, students and faculty. Internships are vital for student success, and we look forward to continuing to partner to offer these experiences for our students."  

Rebecca Wright, coordinator of internships at MSU, said experiential education is a critical component in MSU's Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) titled, "LevelUp: Experience Your Future."  

"As the coordinator of internships at MSU, I am grateful for all the students, faculty and organizations that make internships such a dynamic and impactful experience for all constituents involved. Research shows how significant an internship is for students, not only in regard to employability, but for the development of desirable career skills that they can apply in academic, professional, and personal settings," Wright said. "MSU is very excited to be focusing on this reality with the rollout of our current Quality Enhancement Plan, LevelUp: Experience Your Future, which allows students the opportunity to develop proficiency in targeted career skills through engaging in hands-on, high-impact practices like internships. Congratulations to this year's MSU internship award recipients."  

Student Intern of the Year Award: M'Shae Mathews   

M'Shae Mathews is a senior double-major in management and finance minoring in information systems in the School of Business Administration. The Lexington native was awarded for her communication skills and dedication to completing inventory and creating a new process for moving supplies online for students to access during the pandemic. Mathews’ supervisor, Julie Ferguson, stated, "As a manager, I wish that everyone could experience working with someone like M'Shae. Easygoing, loyal, dedicated. Open to new ideas and willing to take calculated risks are just a few of the adjectives I have for her. She is not afraid to ask questions or for help. She also is comfortable suggesting ideas outside the box. A faithful team player, without M'Shae as our intern in 2020, sales figures for the University Store would look much different."  

Internship Employer of the Year Award: Boise State University Athletics   

Boise State University Athletics is in Boise, Idaho. Its staff followed Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines and provided an excellent in-person internship for an MSU student. The internship exposed students to many aspects of NCAA compliance, including national letters of intent, housing leases and name, image and likeness issues. Boise State Athletics was nominated by Dr. Steve Chen, professor of sports management. MSU sports management alumnus Connor Volpe (Class of 2020) of Georgetown currently works as a part-time compliance assistant for Boise State Athletics and previously completed an internship with the program. He expressed that, "I was not treated as an intern. I was treated as a full-time staff member. I was included in staff meetings to know what was going on and how I could help. I was included in the 'pitch' meetings for our 3rd party administrators for name, image and likeness. I set up the initial meetings to learn more about the companies; then, we had the pitch meetings. I knew most things that were going on within the department and that made my experience much more enjoyable." Dr. Chen also noted that "Boise State staff conducted Webex meetings with Connor regularly to check his progress and provide feedback. They also periodically communicated with me discussing Connor's performance and provided a detailed evaluation."  

Faculty Supervisor of the Year Award: Dr. Shannon Smith-Stephens  

Dr. Shannon Smith-Stephens is an assistant professor of nursing at MSU. She was awarded for demonstrating a commitment to student success. Dr. Lucy Mays, professor of nursing, said that "The Spring 2020 semester was a particularly challenging semester for our Master of Science (MSN) in Nursing and the Family Nurse Practitioner Program (FNPP) students. Many students were prohibited from continuing at their assigned practicum sites after the March 2020 COVID-19 situation emerged. Dr. Smith-Stephens beat every bush and looked under every rock to find practicum placement for students. She developed realistic, evidence-based and creatively simulated case studies for all FNPP practicum students who were not able to be placed in the practicum area." She further stated that "When she sees a barrier to student success, she provides an avenue to overcome that barrier. Her ongoing commitment to student success and to improving health care outcomes in the service region is unsurpassed." Dr. Smith-Stephens has frequent Webex meetings with her practicum students to review patient care processes and provides constructive feedback to promote student success.   

For more information on internship opportunities at MSU, contact the Office of Career Services, visit or contact 606-783-2233 or

Photo, clockwise from left: MSU’s Office of Career Services annual Experiential Education Awards were awarded to Student Intern of the Year M’Shae Mathews (pictured on left with University Store Assistant General Manager Julie Ferguson), Internship Employer of the Year Boise State University Athletics (intern Connor Volpe, right) and Faculty Supervisor of the Year Dr. Shannon Smith-Stephens (pictured on right with Dr. Lucy Mays).