September 2021 Newsletter

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September 2021 Newsletter

DON’T FORGET! The fall 2021 job shadow portal closes in one week! Sophomores, juniors, and seniors have the opportunity to explore a career field of interest in a short two- to four-hour exploration experience. So many opportunities to choose from with both in-person and virtual options available. Learn more.


Introducing the New WLC Director – Kristine Bullock

We are excited to introduce the new director of Workplace Learning Connection, Kristine Bullock. Kristine is replacing Laurie Worden who retired in August. Kristine most recently served as the Southeast Iowa STEM regional manager for the Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council. In this role, she was responsible for providing high-quality STEM professional development for pre-K through 12 formal and informal educators and building connections between educators and local businesses and organizations. Through her work, she helped build a pipeline for thousands of young Iowans who were better prepared to enter postsecondary education or the workforce with strong STEM skills connected to local opportunities. Kristine Bullock

Kristine is a huge advocate of work-based learning and career exploration. “One of my most memorable high school experiences was the internship I did at a local NICU. Working alongside a practicing professional to get real-world experience and to ask on-the-spot questions really allowed me to see medicine in practice and helped me gain career experience,” Kristine says. “I also had a really great mentor in a research internship, which gave me professional experience I use every day, even if it is in a different career sector. I think career exploration places students as active drivers of their future rather than passive passengers and helps them to see careers in action, especially those that are less mainstream.”

Kristine is a graduate of the University of Iowa where she received her Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering and Christian Brothers University where she received her Master’s in Education. She keeps very busy with her three young boys and loves getting involved in their activities. She also loves to travel with her husband and research new places to visit.

“I am really looking forward to joining a team of hard working professionals that work every day to ensure the best outcomes for students,” Kristine says. “Each year, WLC continues to grow, ensuring that more students have access to these experiences and have multiple touchpoints to explore their career options.”

Student Video: Summer Intern Shares Value of Experience

Check out this video interview with Mayasa Hamid, an Iowa City West junior who completed a WLC nursing internship this summer at Grand Living at Bridgewater in Coralville.

Play the Mayasa Hamid video.

“I picked up so many skills while working in my internship. I learned patience and responsibility,” Mayasa says. “My experience will be helpful for me in the future because I want to be a heart surgeon when I grow up.”

Educator Recalls How Internship Led to New Opportunities

Samantha Pruess, a former Tipton High School student, knew even in high school that she wanted to go into education. To solidify that decision and gain experience, Samantha applied for a WLC internship in the fall of 2015. The following spring, she was placed with Iowa State Extension and Outreach in Cedar County as a family and youth educator intern. Little did she know how impactful that experience would be. Samantha Pruess

“When I first got placed with ISU Extension and Outreach I was a little confused, because I wanted to be a teacher and I wanted to be in the classroom. Looking back though, I am so glad I wasn't’t just placed in a classroom,” Samantha says. Samantha is now a preschool teacher in the College Community School District and is thankful for her time with ISU Extension. “In the internship I saw another side of education, and as a teacher it has given me a whole different skill set and I got to be more involved in the community. I know a lot of resources that most people may not know. And my experience led me to add a minor in Child Adult Family Services while I was in college as well, which I have greatly benefited from.”

In the winter of 2016, Samantha completed her internship hours with ISU Extension quickly but stayed on to earn volunteer hours needed for graduation. She really enjoyed the work, so when they invited her back in the summer to assist with their summer education programs, she jumped at the chance. “I loved it! I got to create different summer programs based on area categories like cooking and robotics. I enjoyed it so much, I came back three different summers!”

Internships can turn into so much more than you expect. One of the biggest things Samantha values from her experience is the personal connections she made with the Cedar County ISU Extension team. “We still stay in touch. We are just like a little family. They’re amazing people. And I tell them all the time that they are the best,” she says.

WLC helps make experiences like Samantha’s possible every day. The winter/spring 2022 internship portal opens Sept. 27.



We want to recognize Jeff Lucas, Stephanie Neff, and their teams at Cedar Rapids Community School District for hosting nine student interns this summer in the fields of information technology and mental health advocacy. In today’s world, careers in these fields are pivotal, and it is so important to foster students’ interest in these areas. We couldn't’t provide these opportunities without partners like Jeff and Stephanie. Thank you!

“The opportunity to partner with Kirkwood Community College to offer internships to students is a wonderful opportunity for CRCSD to continue helping students grow and build toward their future goals. The CRCSD IT team loved working with our group of interns and found it to be an equally rewarding experience.” – Jeff Lucas, Information Technology Manager, Cedar Rapids Community School District

Interested in hosting a student and helping develop our future workforce? Visit our Partners and Volunteer page to learn more.

Cedar Rapids Community School District multi-colored star logo

Contact WLC

Linn County Regional Center
1770 Boyson Rd., Hiawatha, Iowa 52233
Phone: 319-398-1040  
Fax: 319-398-1041 

Kirkwood Regional Center at the University of Iowa
2301 Oakdale Blvd., Coralville, Iowa 52241
Phone: 319-887-3970  
Fax: 319-358-3102