Nex-Generation intern program impacts 68 students
Fifty-six businesses across northwest and north central Kansas hosted 68 high school and college interns through this summer’s Nex-Generation Student Internship Program. Participating students received an opportunity of a lifetime, preparing them for any future career path they choose.
“Each summer, our interns receive hands-on instruction from local, business professionals in their hometowns or nearby communities,” states Nex-Generation’s Executive Director Jacque Beckman. “Unlike many internships, each intern in the Nex-Gen program is paid a base wage of at least $10 per hour.”
If students are looking to gain skills that will set them apart from their peers – experiences that most do not achieve until after college - they need to apply.
The Nex-Generation Student Internship Program offers a variety of technical and non-technical career experiences. This year’s “graduating class” experienced careers in agriculture, non-profit, economic development, civic engagement, automotive restoration, retail, communications, marketing, graphic design, medical, social media, heating and air conditioning, computer technology, construction, art, banking, news writing, editing, photography, administrative, physical fitness and training, customer service, culinary arts, therapy, legal, travel and tourism, and more!
“One of our main objectives is to expose students to northwest and north central Kansas workforce opportunities at an early age and encourage them to look for jobs right here at home,” said Mendi Anschutz, Nex-Tech’s Economic Development/Networking Specialist. “We launched this program through Nex-Tech in 2011 with 6 interns. Three years ago, we opened up the program to local businesses, and a true culture shift has begun. Already we are seeing students remain in the area as soon as they graduate from college. One reason is their experience interning with a business right in their own county.”

This summer’s Nex-Generation interns and their respective businesses included the following:

Tatum Bartels, daughter of Mitch and Roxanne Bartels of Phillipsburg, interned with Westbrick Salon & Boutique in Phillipsburg. “This summer was a blast. I am thankful for the opportunity I received.”
Bergan Bock, daughter of Doyle and Julie Bock of Bird City, interned with Cheyenne County Development Corp. (CCDC) in St. Francis. (Bergan was a second-year participant in the program.) “I had a great year again working here. It was interesting to see how things had progressed since last year.”
Jaime Berkgren, daughter of Mike and Teri Berkgren of Oakley, interned with Uhrich Law Office in Oakley. “I am considering becoming a child advocate lawyer, so this position was perfect for me.”
Karlee Braun, daughter of Delton and Gina Braun of Phillipsburg, interned with Prairie Horizon Agri-Energy, LLC, of Phillipsburg for the second year. “This summer, I was able to build off of what I learned last summer, which was awesome! This internship benefited me in many ways, including communication skills, learning more about the ethanol industry, and considering my future career options.”
Rylee Bretton, daughter of Jacque Bretton of Phillipsburg, interned with Phillips County Economic Development. “When I took this internship opportunity, I was so excited to have an adult-like office job, so I’ll know what to expect after college.”
Tyler Burk, son of Shadd Burk of LaCrosse and Aimee Walker of Bazine, interned with EJ Livestock in LaCrosse. “This was a chance for me to expand my farming skills.”
Dakota Cooper, son of Denise and Brian Berndt and Tracy Cooper of Glasco, interned with Sharp Performance in Concordia. “This summer was a great learning experience through Sharp Performance. I believe that I will be able to apply a lot for a future career as a wellness center/gym director.”
Autumn Cox, daughter of Corina Cox of Hill City and Michael Cox of Hays, interned with Graham County Hospital. “I had a blast this summer! I’m so grateful that I was able to learn as much as I did and really get some hands-on experience! I also loved being able to bond with the patients. As a pre-med and biochemistry major, It was everything I wanted and more!”
Zoe Cox, daughter of Chris Cox of Norton and Rachelle Sander of Alma, NE, interned with Norton County Community Foundation in Norton. “One of the greatest things I learned was how to effectively communicate with members of the community, both in person and through online resources.”
Amy Crouse, daughter of Sam and Jan Crouse of Atwood, interned with Rawlins County Health Center in Atwood. “I was able to learn so much this summer! I learned how to care for wounds, a variety of exercises for any kind of injury, reading CT scans, observing radiology and lab, and much more.”
Fatoumatta Darboe, daughter of Yankuba Darboe and Yatoutou Sanyang of Bonjue, The Gambia, and a student at Fort Hays State University, interned with the City of Russell. “The staff made me feel so at home and stopped what they were doing to show me so many things. I especially liked learning about water treatment and visiting the plant.”
Leah David, daughter of Troy and DeAnn David of Lenora, interned for a second year with Nex-Tech’s customer sales department in Lenora. “As a second-year intern, I was able to better understand how everything works and contribute more from the beginning, with less training than before. I was also able to expand my knowledge by working with accounting staff to build on my interest in accounting.”
Alyssa DeBoer, daughter of Shane and Stacie DeBoer of Prairie View, KS, interned with Phillips County Health Systems in Phillipsburg. “I really enjoyed this summer internship. I learned a lot about the different departments within the hospital; I thought I knew what specialization of nursing I was going to stick to, but I learned that I enjoy others just as much.”
Janaeha Dinkel, daughter of Dean and Vicki Dinkel of Sharon Springs, interned with Northwest Kansas Library System in Norton. “One of my projects was to redesign a NWKLS brochure. I enjoyed getting to know the staff and am thankful for the opportunity.”
Lyddia Eilert, daughter of Leo and Leanne Eilert of Beloit, interned with Mitchell County Hospital Health Systems in Beloit. “I am very excited to see what the future holds for me! Nex-Generation was very helpful and I’m glad I got the experience.”
Michael Eisenbarth, son of Jesse and Jeanette Eisenbarth of Onaga, interned with Midwest Energy, Inc., in Hays. “Coming into the internship, I had my share of fears and anxieties, not knowing exactly what to expect. Those were quickly dissolved, as I was able to work on a variety of meaningful, hands-on projects, including a customer bill stuffer, social media campaign, an online employee directory, and more. All of these helped build my communication, editing, publishing, and time management skills.”
Will Ellis, son of Scott and Darla Ellis of Norton, interned for the third year with the City of Norton. “After spending three summers with the City of Norton, I can confidently say that I not only learned more about a business as a whole, but I also believe that I learned a lot about myself and found a future career path because of this internship. Thank you to everyone involved with the Nex-Generation program; you really are making a positive, big, and meaningful impact!”
Olivia Engler, daughter of Dan and Carrie Engler of Downs, interned with The Farmers Bank of Osborne. “This internship has benefited me in numerous ways: I have built relationships with people that I didn’t have before (both in the public and in the bank); put my foot in the door in the banking industry (which will benefit me post-college); put me a step in front of other banking students in college; and provided me with knowledge about how banks operate and run.”
Savannah Ewing, daughter of Randy and DeAnna Ewing of Phillipsburg, interned with Farmers & Ranchers Outlet in Phillipsburg. “My manager was easy to work with and provided many opportunities for me to learn. I learned that running a business by yourself is harder than it seems; how to deal with rude and problematic customers; how to run the computer system in order to make sales and deposit checks; what different vaccinations and tools are used for/what they look like; and what feed is beneficial for animal weight gain and what feed helps keep the flies away. I even got to learn how to operate a forklift – and how not to poke holes in feed bags.”
Umar Farooq, son of Ahmed and Mehrunissa Farooq. Umar is an information technology student studying at Fort Hays State University who interned with Livin’ on a Prairie in Hill City. “The internship was very flexible. I liked my work and learned a lot about the custom apparel business. I enjoyed the freedom of implementing my own ideas.”
Riley Goss, son of Rusty and Shannon Goss of Lenora, interned with Nex-Generation Round Up for Youth, Inc. in Lenora. “I wanted a summer job where I could apply my own skills, hands-on. I got to paint, pull carpet, help build things, and really enjoyed it all. I think it has helped me be a better communicator and develop more responsibility.”
Jessie Graves, daughter of Billy and Carolyn Graves of Ellsworth, interned with Ellsworth County Medical Center. “Coming in to ECMC, I immediately felt a strong need to help and relieve some of the stress and burdens on the HR staff. It feels great to be able to help them and to know how much my work means to them. It has been wonderful!”
Aileen “Gaby” Gurrola-Flores, daughter of Gabriel and Hilda Gurrola of Garden City, interned with Colby Community College Endowment Foundation in Colby. “I was able to help maintain a dorm Google document, work with scholarships, and help other students with their needs. It was a great opportunity and one that will definitely help me as I go on to dentistry school.”
Kaylin Haines, daughter of Mark and Kasi Haines of Topeka, interned with Nex-Generation Round Up for Youth, Inc. and Nex-Tech. “One thing I’ve learned the most during my year with Nex-Gen – I started last October – is how connected all the communities in northwestern Kansas are. From the businesses to the people that live there, everyone is working to help their communities thrive. Truly amazing!”
Nichole Hall, daughter of Michael and Regina Hall of Osborne, interned with Osborne County Memorial Hospital. “During my internship, I worked on developing my phone communication skills and building more confidence. I loved working with the physical therapist and learning all about the body. This experience has confirmed my desire to pursue a medical field.”
Gabrielle Hammer, daughter of Lyle and Christy Hammer of Wallace, interned with Wallace County Foundation in Sharon Springs. “This was an opportunity for me to explore something new. My current plans are to pursue a physical therapy program at the community college level and then attend physical therapy school.”
Allayna Hanson, daughter of Kirk and Rhonda Hanson of Concordia, interned with Polansky Seed, Inc., in Belleville. “During my internship, I learned various aspects of the seed business and industry. I shadowed sales, seed technicians, and the bookkeeper. I also learned to operate the forklift; package seed for sale; create and design marketing pieces; and tour other ag industry businesses.”
Erica Hoover, daughter of Shawn Hoover of Glade and Kim Overmiller of Phillipsburg, interned with Phillips County Hospital Health Systems. “My experience at Phillips County Health Systems has truly been wonderful. I was able to learn and experience so many new things, both medical and non-medical. This internship has confirmed my intended major, shown me that I love working in the medical field and helping others, and has brought me so much knowledge and experience in such a short period of time.”
Preston Howard, son of Tony Howard of Lincoln and Heather Sandefur of Manhattan, interned with USD 298 – Lincoln Schools. “This internship was an absolute blast! Not only was it very insightful, but it was still a place to be able to have fun. I appreciate this opportunity and everyone I have worked with. I will definitely be applying again next year!”
Kyle Hull, son of Downer Hull of Woodston and Tricia Hemphill of Stockton, interned with Plainville Times in Plainville. “This summer allowed me to increase skills in writing, time management, interviewing, and photography. It also enabled me to dive deep into the Plainville community, interview interesting people – including a candidate for Governor – and attend community meetings.”
Julien Illo, son of Daryl and Heather Zerr of Grainfield, interned with USD 292 – Wheatland Schools. “This summer internship was a great experience! I worked on a brand new Applied Technology class as one of my main projects. I learned how to create daily lesson plans, collaborate with teachers/coworkers, make decisions on my own, learn what it looks like ‘behind the scenes’ in a school business environment, and how to behave in a more professional setting.”
Micah Kasson, daughter of Kirk and Kim Kasson of Almena, interned with Midwest Family Health in Phillipsburg. “Throughout the internship, I completed many projects, including brochures, in-store signage, flyers, and more. I gained skills and lessons like working 40-hour weeks and how to communicate effectively with other employees. My internship especially taught me the importance of small-town Kansas values: community and personal relationships. This has definitely been a wonderful experience that I will remember.”
Kollette Keeten, daughter of Greg and Tonya Keeten of Glade, third-year intern with the Nex-Gen program, interned with Sign Solutions, Inc., in Phillipsburg. "The opportunities brought forward through my time with Nex-Generation were essential to helping me get my foot in the door within the design community. Not only did I get hands-on experience, but I got to learn from two very talented local creatives."
Cory Koetter, son of Brian Koetter of Downs and Kara Schadegg of Holdrege, NE, interned with Cunningham Telephone & Cable of Glen Elder. “I learned a lot over this summer. Many things were experiences that school could not teach or prepare me for. This internship also taught me about opportunities in rural Kansas and showed me the technologies that I thought I’d have to move away for.”
Katelyn Lee, daughter of Chris and Luanne Lee of Quinter, interned with The Elephant, a new restaurant in Hoxie. “I was in 4-H for 14 years and my passion for foods and nutrition led me to my education in Bakery Science. I took this internship in order to learn the inner workings of a restaurant. I look forward to using my experiences this summer in my future!”
Garrett Lemon, son of Ron and Terese Lemon of Hoxie, interned with Hoxie Feedyard in Hoxie. “This was my second internship with Hoxie Feedyard. It’s giving me practical, hands-on experience that will prepare me for a future career in animal science.”
Lillie Lewis, daughter of Jason and Caroline Lewis of Hill City, interned with Peoples State Bank in Hill City. “I have learned so much this summer and have enjoyed every minute of it! This is an amazing program and I am so glad I was a part of it! It will definitely help me with my future plans to go into accounting and finance.”
Chaylee Lowry, daughter of Curtis and Cindy Lowry of Almena, interned with Norton County Community Foundation in Norton. “One of the many things I enjoyed learning this summer was the grant process and how it works. It was also amazing to experience fundraising directly within our community to help impact local businesses and organizations.”
Maggie Malmberg, daughter of Bud and Michele Malmberg of Phillipsburg, interned with Norton County Hospital in Norton. “Thank you for sponsoring a wonderful summer internship. The opportunity to rotate through almost every department of a rural hospital was eye-opening and will directly relate to my future career plans. Norton County Hospital did an excellent job of creating projects to challenge me throughout the entire summer. I was also allowed to shadow a plethora of medical providers and supporting staff. I am so appreciative that Nex-Tech founded a program to provide impactful jobs for young adults. I plan to encourage many of my friends to apply next year. Thank you again!”
Shyann Miller, daughter of Phill and Angie Miller of Phillipsburg, interned with Phillipsburg Chiropractic Center. “This was my first real job and everyone helped me learn how to work in a ‘work environment.’ I learned how to step out of my comfort zone and meet new people and not be afraid to branch out. I learned a lot this summer and I’m glad I got this opportunity at a young age.”
Maruby McQueen, daughter of Truette and Rebecca McQueen of Barnard, interned with OCCK in Beloit. “My experience at OCCK was life changing. I found a passion I didn’t even know I had and it made for an amazing summer.”
Evan Ouellette, son of Chuck Ouellette of Washington, KS and Lisa Ouellette of Morrowville, KS, interned with Cunningham Telephone & Cable of Glen Elder. “I have learned a lot over the summer working at Cunningham: how to properly splice fiber; work in a splice tray; troubleshoot phone and Internet problems; and how to bury cable in the ground. It has been a fun summer working with all of the techs and I’ve appreciated the opportunity.”
Nicholas Pennington, son of Derek and Sarah Peine of Hays, interned with Western Cooperative Electric for the second year. “As a second-year intern at WCE, I came in already knowing that everyone at the company is really friendly and fun to be around, so the work environment really appealed to me. I got to work on some great projects again, including a new online application process. I enjoyed being able to grow my skills in IT.”
Erik Perez, son of Arturo Medina and Alondra Sanchez of Bird City, interned with Tri-State Antique Engine and Thresher Association in Bird City. “My work experience at Tri-State Antique Engine and Thresher was an amazing work experience. Not only did I gain new work skills and knowledge, but I met many great people that I will always remember and appreciate because of what they did for me.”
Jacob Powell of Hays has an interest in video production and marketing, which led him to intern with Midwest Energy, Inc. in Hays this summer. “Working at Midwest Energy Inc. was an amazing experience. I was trusted with work that truly allowed me expand my knowledge, and build my portfolio moving forward."
Megan Quinday, daughter of Alice and Jon Quinday of Russell, interned with Russell County Economic Development & CVB. “My primary objective this summer was to work on and promote an alumni database to help in sustaining and growing Russell County. This was a great project and I had a super experience interning here!”
Ashton Royer, daughter of Kevin and Debbie Royer of Plainville, interned with Sunflower Bank in Hays. “Throughout the internship, I learned more than what I thought I would, not just about banking, but also about life skills and customer service. My mentor, Christine, did a wonderful job bringing me into the team, and all of my coworkers made me feel welcomed. I was exposed to management and team building and now have mentors for all aspects of my future. I couldn’t have asked for a better experience!”
Gabe Sauer, a senior at Phillipsburg High School, interned with J and R HVAC/R LLC in Phillipsburg. “This was an incredible opportunity! Going into this, I was expecting this to be ‘just another job,’ but it turned into so much more. I learned about a field I originally had no interest in. I learned what it is like to work in the real world, have set days and time. I can’t express how much I loved working with everyone there. They taught me things I would never have otherwise learned: checking pressures, washing condensers, changing filters – things I can now do myself. Now, I am even considering becoming a licensed tech, possibly even as a backup career or a second job.”
Kayla Schlachter, daughter of David and Kerry Weber of Bennington, interned with Nex-Tech’s creative solutions department in Hays. “I have enjoyed working creatively with a team of professionals and business representatives. It’s amazing to learn different perspectives, implement others’ ideas, and then see projects through to the finished product.”
Courtney Schmidt, daughter of Steve Schmidt and Kathy Driggs of Smith Center, interned with Smith County Memorial Hospital in Smith Center. “This internship provided both measurable and intangible successes, like completing an employee training program and seeing a successful hospital grand opening, as well as realizing that professionalism, opportunity, and health care options exist in rural communities, and much more. Overall, my summer was an incredible experience.”
Isaac Schoen, son of Kail and Anna Schoen of Downs, interned with Domoney’s Furniture and Funeral Home in Downs. “I won my internship through the Nex-Generation Career Fair & Expo last November and it’s been a great experience. I have assisted with furniture sales and delivery, advertising, inventory, repairs and warranty, cleaning and maintenance, and funerals. I want to thank Dewey, Pam, and Amanda, as well as Nex-Generation for this opportunity.”
Kelby Schonthaler, son of Byron and Diana Schonthaler of WaKeeney, interned with WaKeeney KOA. “I have learned so much this summer about multitasking, taking positive and negative criticism, and teamwork. I’ve gained knowledge about being flexible, having multiple responsibilities at one time, working with the public, and dealing with difficult people.”
Carlos Schwindt, son of Phil and Laura Schwindt of LaCrosse, interned with Rush County Memorial Hospital in LaCrosse. “I was awarded the best summer job. At RCMH, I learned through both shadowing and hands-on experience how a rural hospital works. I want to go through medical school and become a rural doctor, so getting medical experience in high school is a really amazing opportunity and resume builder.”
Raelynn Slipke, daughter of Raymond and Bonita Slipke of New Almelo, interned with Theraplay Learning Center in Norton. “Working at Theraplay this summer was a ton of fun! I got so many experiences that will help me both in my job and in my everyday life. Everyone answered my questions, talked to me about my future, and helped me make practical plans. I was able to use some of my creative and organizational skills which made the job even more rewarding.”
Coral Stewart, daughter of Jeff and Teresa Stewart of Norton, interned with Nex-Generation Round Up for Youth, Inc., in Lenora. “It was fun getting to use some creativity as we worked on constructing the upstairs of the Lenora High School building into what will soon be ‘Young AmeriTowne of Kansas.’ It was a lot of work, but it is exciting to have been a part of something that will last for years to come.”
Jacob Taber, son of Ronnie and Amie Taber of Sand Springs, OK, interned with Shiloh Vineyard of WaKeeney. “This summer I did many different tasks and projects and developed many different skills. The tasks I performed and the skills I grew cover a vast range of areas. I got to experience everything that goes with working a vineyard all the way to the selling of the finished product. It was a great experience working in the winery and really seeing how everything does come together in the wine making process.”
Nate Tedford, son of Holly Resse of Phillipsburg, interned with Cotten Collision, Inc. of Glade. “Each week brought more experiences. I learned how to prep and restore trucks and cars, including hoods, beds, doors, bumpers, and gates, and how to maintain the shop.”
Teryn Tracy, daughter of Bruce and Lois Tracy of Concordia, interned with C & C High Tunnel Farms in Scandia. “This internship taught me so much. The three things I liked the most were working with fun people, working in an agricultural environment, and meeting new people. I gained valuable skills for my future: perseverance, responsibility, and routine. I had a wonderful time and I would love to still work here after my internship is over.”
Ravyn Van Vleet, daughter of Pam Van Vleet of Oberlin, interned with the Thomas County Attorney’s office in Colby. “This was an amazing opportunity and I want to thank Rachel Lamm and Nex-Generation for the experience! I learned so much.”
Kinsey Volk, daughter of Leon and Mary Volk of Goodland, interned with the City of Goodland/Sherman County Economic Development in Goodland. “With my internship, I have gained a wide variety of skills that I can put to good use in the future. From building a good and positive social media presence, to being a make-do handyman, I have learned more than I possibly imagined I could. I am sad to see this internship coming to a close, but I am excited to see the different connections I can make from this experience in economic development.”
Lauren Wallgren, daughter of Donovan and Deborah Wallgren of Phillipsburg, interned with Sign Solutions, Inc. of Phillipsburg. “As a graphic design major, I was so excited to be accepted into this program and to be given the opportunity for a hands-on learning experience with a local, hometown business. It was a terrific internship!”
Carson Walter, daughter of Chad and Christi Walter of Lincoln, interned with USD 298 – Lincoln Schools. “I’m very grateful for this opportunity! I am so thankful for the ladies I worked with and I’ve learned so much.”
Zach Warner, son of Debbie Warner of Concordia, interned with NCK Tech in Beloit. “When accepting this internship, I was looking forward to seeing the in’s and out’s of the IT world. I’m hoping to become a network administrator, so this was a fantastic opportunity and I have gained tremendous knowledge – much more than I would get just in the classroom.”
Conner Weinman, son of Roger and Mitzi Weinman of Phillipsburg, interned with Phillips County Health Systems in Phillipsburg. “Most of my internship was spent in the physical therapy department, since I am working towards a future career in PT. I also had an opportunity to work in and shadow other areas of the hospital, including administration, lab, speech pathology, and orthopedics. It was an amazing experience!”
Kylie Wood, daughter of Curtis Wood of Lawrence and Lindsey Johnson of Phillipsburg, interned with Phillips County Health Systems in Phillipsburg. “I was excited to apply for this internship this summer, because I wanted to learn more about the medical field and to help me be better prepared for college. This internship did just that and more! It has helped me gain further knowledge in the medical field and each department, which has helped me narrow down my decision to attend PA (Physician’s Assistant) school after graduating college.”
Jillian Worm, daughter of Mike and Deb Worm of Webber, interned with Randall Farmers Coop Union in Randall. “This was an experience of a lifetime! My future plans are to work in an agriculture field, so this internship has provided me with a well-rounded view of our industry. Everyone I have worked with have been so kind and helpful, and I have loved my job!”
Zachary Young, son of Kirk and Holly Young of Colby, interned with Sunflower Electric in Hays. "The whole experience was eye opening and very helpful in confidence building. I feel much better prepared to step out into the workforce after college."
Student internship applications for 2019 will be available in January 2019. Businesses interested in hosting interns should contact Nex-Generation before December 2018. Anyone wanting more information about Nex-Generation and its programs should contact Jacque Beckman or Mendi Anschutz at 877-567-7872, or by e-mail:, or
Funding for the internships has been made possible by Nex-Tech Customers who participate in the monthly billing Round-Up Program; Nex-Generation Business Partners; and the Dane G. Hansen Foundation.
Nex-Generation Round Up for Youth, Inc. is a 501(c)(3), non-profit organization based in Lenora, Kansas. The organization operates solely on the generous support of area donors. Nex-Generation's mission is to educate northwest and north central Kansas students about local career opportunities by providing and supporting programs in career development, entrepreneurship, internship, and work study/apprenticeship. Through these efforts, the organization hopes to foster a positive sense of community and encourage youth to remain or return home to prosper.