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Overseas odyssey takes student to Germany

November 09, 2007

If only Janese Paxton was back in elementary or high school. Oh, the paper she could write about what she did during her summer “vacation.”

The ASU School of Global Management and Leadership senior might start her essay with, “On my summer vacation, I traveled to Germany.”

Or maybe this: “On my summer vacation, I worked for one of the world’s largest industrial distributors of electronic components.” And even this would be an accurate account of her summer activities: “On my summer vacation, I played a lead role in the completion of several critical projects involving internal communication, crafting and refining presentations that needed to be done quickly and meticulously.”

What Paxton actually said recently about her summer internship with Avnet EM EMEA (Electronics Marketing, Europe-Middle East-Africa) was, “I learned to apply textbook and classroom knowledge in a real-world environment with a dedicated team of professionals.”

The Phoenix student worked with Avnet’s office outside Munich, serving as a communication assistant in the marketing communication department. She wrote and edited internal and external publications, created Microsoft PowerPoint presentations for upper-level management, conducted promotional photo shoots, was a contributor at company and department conferences, and generally assisted wherever and whenever she could.

In return for her efforts, Avnet provided Paxton with some lifelong, real-world experiences in the areas of learning and personal growth.

“This was a great experience for me, and I know it will benefit my future greatly,” says Paxton, who found time to visit Switzerland, Italy and Spain when not assisting Avnet. “I wanted to experience other cultures and locales outside the United States to truly broaden my perspective of the world. Additionally, I wanted to experience a world-class functioning marketing team prior to my graduation and my first career position. Avnet EMEA in Germany met those requirements in an amazing way.”

The internship with Avnet also provided a bonus.

“It not only reaffirmed my intended career path, it energized me to continue pushing forward,” says Paxton, who has her eye on a marketing position after her graduation in May.

Transferring textbook lessons and classroom theory from campus to career is not always a seamless proposition, which is where an internship such as Paxton’s can provide the finishing touches on a college education.

“Internships represent a very individualized opportunity by which a student further explores career interests, skills and talents,” says Ursula

Scheren, academic services manager in ASU’s School of Global Management and Leadership. “The internship experience is an excellent opportunity that builds the confidence of the student.”

Scheren is quick to note that the internship opportunity is a win-win in which the students and host companies benefit. Students gain a sense of business and industry and enhance their résumés with career-related experience, while companies playing hosts to interns get a low-cost or no-cost look at potential employees, observing them in the company’s work environment and determining if the right fit exists. Other student benefits, Scheren notes, include the opportunity to polish career-related skills such as customer service, communication and writing, while creating a professional network of contacts.

“Our (internship) program is fairly flexible,” says Scheren, who has placed students with such leading organizations as the Phoenix Suns, Phoenix Coyotes, USAA, Wachovia Securities, Wells Fargo bank, Challenger Space Center, the IRS and the Phoenix Finance Department, to name a few. “We can either recommend one or two companies to an interested student, or we will let the student propose their ideal internship company, or we will help them to determine the best opportunity and then help them land it.”

For Paxton, the internship matched closely her experience with ASU’s School of Global Management and Leadership.

“I’ve had a great experience here,” she says. “All my professors have been entertaining, enriching, and very encouraging of my personal development. The advisement team has also been supportive of my learning endeavors.

“I chose ASU and the SGML school because, as a communication major coming out of Paradise Valley Community College, I matured and recognized that business topics held my interest. I was fascinated by marketing ads – more specifically, the creativity and audience connection for an ad to be effective.”

Paxton’s summer has been a rewarding and memorable one – for her, and for Avnet EM EMEA, too.

“From the beginning, we could count on (Paxton) to contribute to the team’s daily efforts,” says Georg Steinberger, Avnet EM EMEA VP of communication, of Paxton’s contributions. “(Her) very professional manners in every respect, (her) clear goal orientation and open and engaging personality shows (her) potential as a future executive.”

Des Georges, with Public Affairs at the West campus, can be reached at (602) 543-5220 or