Applying for summer internships can be a tedious and frightening process as a collegian. Applying to one that is your dream job is even more intimidating. Senior cross country team member and captain, Thomas Beilke ’14, took that leap of faith and could not be happier with his decision.
Beilke gave much thought to where he could see himself working happily and efficiently; the USA Track and Field (USATF) was his answer. “The process I went through to get this internship was an interesting one,” Beilke said. “I applied to about 25 internships but I knew that this was the one I wanted the most, and this was the one I pursued the hardest.” With the help of the Lake Forest College Career Advancement Center, Beilke’s dream became a reality. Eager to be active in the application process, Beilke called the USATF to remind them exactly how interested he was in this position. “I apparently aced the interview because a few days later, I was offered the position…and I was probably one of the happiest people in the world that day.”
Beilke does a variety of tasks on a daily basis ranging from major projects, like analyzing travel policies or meeting with all staff members to see what professional development seminars they are interested in taking, to small tasks, such as putting bi-weekly reports into a binder and presenting them to the chief operating officer (COO). “I work with a lot of spreadsheets,” said Beilke. “I will be a near-expert in Microsoft Excel by the time this internship is over.”
While working for the USATF, there are bound to be a few exciting experiences along the way. Beilke was honored to have the opportunity to travel to Des Moines, Iowa, for the National Outdoor Championships track meet in June. This meet is the deciding factor on which USA athletes will be traveling to Moscow to compete in the World Championships. “I took a picture with Darvis Patton and Wallace Spearmon (displayed above), shook hands with Tyson Gay, was a part of Allyson Felix’s caravan to the track, and walked within inches of Mary Cain, Sanya Richards-Ross, David Oliver, and Jason Richardson,” said Beilke. On the last day of his trip to Des Moines, he was able to attend the USA Track and Field Board of Directors meeting, which he describes as an “unbelievable experience”.
Apart from obvious corporate workplace skills, Beilke has learned some meaningful life lessons that he may have missed out on if not for this internship. Each week, the USATF interns are treated to lunch with an executive or an individual with a high position in the field. The professionals share stories about the process they went through to reach where they are today, and even disclose a few tips along the way. Beilke expresses that one of the main lessons he has learned so far seems to be complicated and, possibly, contradictory. “In my own words, I guess I would say that I have learned to relax but take everything seriously,” said Beilke. To further explain, he articulates how important it is to develop easy-going and true relationships with your co-workers but when the time comes, to complete each task to the best of your ability.
Another inspiring piece of advice given to Beilke was presented to him by his COO. “She expressed the importance of taking every opportunity for a new experience, whether it be a weekend trip or a new job, because you only get to live your life once, and you do not know when those opportunities will present themselves again, “Beilke shared.
As the summer slowly winds down, Beilke’s senior year and another big cross country season is about to get underway. With hopes of graduating in May of 2014 holding a degree in business, Beilke is happy to have such a successful and informative internship under his belt, yet is very sad to watch it end. “It will be an experience I will never forget, and I’m hoping to someday be able to work here full time.”