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Jun 29

Students gain experience by working in a variety of areas within JCPRD

Posted on June 29, 2023 at 2:17 PM by Becky Burnside

On their way to anticipated career paths ranging from recreation management, to a-yet-to-be-determined role in information technology, to public historian, to graphic designer, four young women are working as interns with JCPRD this summer.  

In a way, the internships are a microcosm illustrating the many different types of work which take place within JCPRD. This summer’s interns are: Alyssa Castilleja in the Recreation Division, Jessica Sapien at the Johnson County Museum, Stephanie Nofsinger in the Information Technology Department, and Anna Desmarteau in the Marketing & Communications Department. 

Alyssa Castilleja

A native of Ulysses, Kan., in the southwest corner of the state, Castilleja is finishing up her fourth year at Emporia State University where she is studying sports leadership and recreation. She began her internship with JCPRD’s Recreation Division in late May and will be with the agency until mid-August. 

“This internship allows me to see how various departments are managed and operated as well as follow some exceptional leaders within the recreation field,” she said. “I am most excited for the broad exposure I will be obtaining all summer long. I am hoping to walk away from this internship with a range of skills and experiences that will help me become a more effective leader in the future. I am extremely thankful for the time and commitment of all the great people I have got to meet along the way!”

“Alyssa has been a breath of fresh air during a very busy season for our department, said Wellness Manager Lacey Fisher at the Mill Creek Activity Center, where Castilleja has been working for much of her internship. “She has joined us with a positive attitude and eagerness to learn that has been contagious to all around. We sincerely appreciate her willingness to help out at our events and the top-notch customer service she has provided to our participants. Alyssa’s can-do attitude and flexibility will continue to serve her well in this industry. Her passion for the field and willingness to learn revives a spark in those that surround her. Her approachability allows for her to fit into any situation, even if it’s one she may have limited experience. I very much look forward to cheering her on as she finds her career path. She’s going to be a rockstar!”

Stephanie Nofsinger 

Born and raised in Gardner, Kan., in the house she still lives in, Nofsinger is a sophomore at Johnson County Community College, where she is studying IT networking and cybersecurity.  She started as an IT security and risk intern with JCPRD in mid-June and will continue through August. 

“This internship will allow me to gain hands-on knowledge in the tech field, something that just can’t be gained purely from coursework,” Nofsinger said. “I was Interested in this internship because I already had a part-time position with JCPRD (as a tech instructor in the 50 Plus Department) and enjoyed working for the agency and wanted to learn as much as I can to further prepare me for my career. I am also hoping this internship will help me decide on what area I want my career path to be, as there are many positions in the cybersecurity field. I am most excited about getting hands-on experience in different areas, as well as possibly contributing to making a process or something of the like easier with creative troubleshooting. The amount of knowledge to be gained from these can never be taken away and can only provide more solutions and open doors.” 

“Her enthusiasm and the knowledge she already has from working with the public are her strengths,” said Security Risk and Compliance Analyst Donna Gomez, whom Nofsinger is working with. “Knowing a bit more about your audience is a strength in IT to become a storyteller when it comes to sharing threats, risks, and IT practice so it is relevant to every user. She brings customer service mindset to IT security that is the foundation of the work we do. She will be launching some security awareness modules and guides in our internal enewsletter in July. It’s also fun to watch her see how IT is a part of everything and how the work touches every aspect of JCPRD.”

While she knows she wants to work in IT, Nofsinger hasn’t selected a specific role at this time.

“Technology is forever evolving, and so will the jobs and career paths,” she said. “So, while I’m not certain on where my career path will fall, I know there will always be many areas to choose from, and there will always be new ones to explore.”

Jessica Sapien

Sapien is an El Paso, Texas, native who moved to Kansas City, Mo., in June 2021 to pursue a master’s degree in public history at the University of Missouri - Kansas City. She began in September 2022 in the Emerging Museum Professionals Internship for the Johnson County Museum, which will end in May 2024. Her degree focuses on history told outside of academic institutions, such as museums, libraries, archives, etc. 

“I was interested in this internship at the Johnson County Museum because it allowed me to gain further experience working with public institutions and learn more about the history of the Greater Kansas City area,” she said. “Through this internship I hope for the opportunity to expand my field experience as a public historian and practice the skills I have learned throughout my education to exhibit histories that represent the many communities that make up Johnson County.” 

Sapien previously worked at the El Paso (Texas) Museum of History in the Curatorial and Collections departments, which helped her transition to the Johnson County Museum where she primarily assists with research for exhibitions and inventorying collection materials. 

“This summer I am working with the collections team on the transfer of collection records from one database to another. This has involved going through thousands of records and researching the history of many Johnson County families,” she said. “One of the most exciting aspects of my internship thus far has been curating three exhibit cases that are now on display in the museum’s “Becoming Johnson County” main exhibition.”

“The internship was set up specifically to help diversify the museum field and to give students from diverse backgrounds a hands-on, real world, paid experience that can propel them into their careers,” said Johnson County Museum Curator of Interpretation Andrew R. Gustafson. “Jessica jumped into doing real museum work with us as soon as her internship started last fall. She researched for material now on display in the museum’s special exhibit about trains, and she researched, helped design, and installed three mini-exhibits in large mannequin cases in the signature Becoming Johnson County exhibit. Jessica has many strengths, but two important ones are a real attention to detail that is vital to work in museums, especially in collections work; and she has a love of history, so is a great researcher and advocate.”

Anna Desmarteau

Olathe native Anna Desmarteau is a graphic design student about to begin her third year at Kansas State University. She began in late May and will finish at the end of July in a marketing and communications internship, is not a traditional internship for college credit, but is nonetheless giving her valuable experience in her chosen field. 

“I have enjoyed getting to work with people throughout the county and having the opportunity to do a variety of design work so far,” she said. “It is a little bit outside my comfort zone with the variety of work that is done within the Marketing & Communications Department, but it is a great opportunity to expand my experience from outside the design world. I hope to get comfortable with working and communicating with clients throughout the design process, which is something I have not much experience with at college yet.”

“We selected Anna due to her motivation to learn and her enthusiasm to help with a variety of tasks,” said Deputy Director Rhonda Pollard. “She has jumped right in helping to create flyers, proofreading, and writing articles.  Her ‘can do’ attitude is very much appreciated by all. She’s a proud K-Stater and the world is a better place with Anna in it!”

Desmarteau says she hopes to find a career in the design field working in a creative space whether or not that is in graphic design.