For Larynda Keith, the goal has always been clear – Earn a degree in business, then get a job at the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division (NSWC Crane).
Through NSWC Crane’s Pathways Intern Program, Keith has been able to work on both of those goals at the same time.
Keith, a senior at Indiana State University triple-majoring in finance, insurance and risk management, and business administration, has been a Pathways intern at NSWC Crane since May 2015, working within the Business and Financial Management Division.
“Honestly, I love it here,” Keith said. “I work with great people. They make sure that I’m gaining leadership experience. They want me to better myself, so they push me to be involved in projects, to lead projects, to network with others, attend meetings, and take advantage of all the available training opportunities.”
Keith grew up in Elnora, Ind., a small town just 18 miles west of NSWC Crane. Her father works at Crane, so she’s always been familiar with the base and the mission of those who work on it. When a family friend told her that internship applications had been released, she jumped at the opportunity immediately.
Keith is one of 157 current Pathway Interns at NSWC Crane, and a good percentage of those interns will earn full-time employment when they graduate. NSWC Crane has hired 72 Pathway Interns in Fiscal Year (FY) 2016, and hired 106 in FY 2015, according to Lucinda Shirley, NSWC Crane Staffing and Classification Branch Manager.
“The program allows us to recruit and develop interns to ensure we have a pipeline of professional, technical and administrative employees to meet future needs,” Shirley said.
Because of her work as a Pathways intern, Keith received a Focus Indiana Scholarship earlier this year. Those scholarships are designated for interns working toward a meaningful career path.
Keith has other scholarships – she’s a Networks Scholar at Indiana State and is also part of the Networks Professional Program – but the Focus Indiana Scholarship was especially meaningful to her.
“It was great to have that over the summer because my other scholarships don’t run into the summer,” Keith said.
Pathways interns have the option to be full-time or part-time during the summer, and some – like Keith — even choose to continue working periodically during the school year.
“I do that to continue gaining my hours and getting some extra time to learn the processes, so when I start back full-time, it’ll be an easier transition,” Keith said.
Keith has worked a full-time schedule each of the last two summers at NSWC Crane, and she currently works once every two weeks during her final year at Indiana State (she graduates in May 2017). Last year, Keith worked every other Friday and Monday, but her busy schedule didn’t allow for it this year.
“Coming to work is pretty much an escape for me to get away from the schoolwork,” Keith said. “It’s kind of stressful right now, but work does not add any more stress to me. I know I don’t have a lot of time on Fridays to do homework, so I just try to do everything ahead of time so I don’t have conflicts.”
The purpose of the Pathways Intern Program is to provide an opportunity for college students to pursue work that is relevant and beneficial to their academic studies. Trainees provide assistance to higher-level personnel performing routine and repetitive clerical/administrative support work such as: Assisting specialists and analysts with gathering and organizing information and data for reports, maintaining filing or data systems, and more.
The program is an excellent opportunity for college undergraduate students to get an interesting, real-world experience in the field of administration while contributing to the defense of the United States.
“I work with metrics and help anybody that needs it,” Keith said. “It’s been great. I’ve met several different people that I can actually call my friends now and I look up to them. I have a lot of role models. It’s been a great experience, and I cannot wait to continue to meet others and gain other mentors, and be a mentor to someone else someday.”
Keith didn’t hesitate when asked what she would tell other students who are considering applying for the Pathways program at NSWC Crane.
“I would tell them to do it,” she said. “I’ve had a great experience, and I would encourage everyone to apply. I’ve done that the last couple years at ISU. I always mention Crane. It’s a great job, a great experience. It has shaped me into a more professional leader.
“It’s not just about the workload here, people care. I’m part of a great team in a positive environment. NSWC Crane is a great place to work that is preparing me for a great career. They don’t just develop you professionally, it’s more than that here with my team. They develop me personally, too.”
To learn more about the Pathways Intern Program or to apply, go to https://www.usajobs.gov/StudentsAndGrads. To view current and future Pathway openings at NSWC Crane, visit https://www.usajobs.gov/Search/?keyword=&Location=Crane%2C+Indiana&AutoCompleteSelected=true.