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October 3, 2014

SVSU student from Petoskey turns Credit Union internship into full-time job

Cara Deschermeier can be described in many ways. Wife, Saginaw Valley State University student, musician, events coordinator, dancer, leader. Soon, working professional will be added to the list.

The Petoskey native has accepted a full-time position as a junior instructional designer at United Federal Credit Union's headquarters in the southwestern Michigan community of St. Joseph. She plans to begin the job once she graduates from SVSU with a bachelor's degree in communication in May 2015.

Nabbing a full-time job before graduation is a rare accomplishment for any college undergrad. Deschermeier said she was able to secure the post because of the impression she made at the credit union this summer, when she worked as an intern.

"I'm very excited," she said. "I loved my boss and my team, and I can't wait to go back."

The 2010 Petoskey High School graduate said the opportunity arose in part thanks to SVSU's Career Services office, whose staff connected her with the credit union when it posted an opening for the internship earlier this year.

"I might not have even looked at the opening without them," she said.

When she begins the new job, Deschermeier said she expects to inhabit many of the same responsibilities that helped catch the company's attention when she was an intern.

This summer, she helped build online learning courses for the company's new employees. The role involved a lot of planning, writing, graphic design and web design work. Before beginning her internship, Deschermeier considered herself a novice when it came to graphic and web design. Learning new skills, though, became part of the job's appeal.

"I learned so, so much," she said. "I can't wait to go back and learn more."

Cindy Swigert, chief human resources officer at United Federal Credit Union, said Deschermeier during her internship displayed "a well-developed learning agility" that impressed supervisors enough that they extended the full-time offer.

"What we're looking for are folks who are able to learn on the fly, who are resourceful, because so much is changing all the time," Swigert said. "Her ability to digest new information and respond to it and use it is what we were looking for."

Despite her eagerness to return to St. Joseph, Deschermeier plans to enjoy her final academic year; she has SVSU in her DNA.

Her mother, Karen Mazzoline, earned a bachelor's degree in music education from the school. Deschermeier herself started out as a music education major during her freshman year - she is trained as both a vocalist and flutist - but changed her tune eventually to the communication degree program.

"It's taught me a lot," she said of the program. "It's amazing to sit down and think about what's going on around the world, and how we communicate through technology."

Deschermeier is involved in a number of extracurricular programs. She works in the Student Life Center office, where she serves as coordinator of the after-hours campus event planning group, Valley Nights. She also is president of ENCORE, an SVSU student organization that coordinates singing- and dancing-geared events, and is a member of the SVSU branch of Lambda Pi Eta, the National Communication Association's honor society at 4-year colleges and universities.

Deschermeier said her entire collegiate experience has prepared her for her next role at United Federal Credit Union ... and beyond.

"This has put me in a great situation," she said.