Saturday, November 30, 2002
Steamboat Springs Christian Hogrefe's knowledge of the Internet and business along with his natural curiosity was put to good use during his internship at the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association.
Hogrefe is enrolled in Careers, a high school class that offers students internship opportunities with local businesses.
"I think it is a very well-developed course. Students are asked to think about a lot of things they do not want to," said Kathy Coates, membership director of the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association.
She said Hogrefe initially approached her for an internship because he was interested in learning about international businesses in Steamboat.
She said there are not many local international businesses, but Hogrefe has learned some basic fundamental business ethics and practices.
Hogrefe said he attended the e-business expo as part of his internship and has also helped create a few PowerPoint presentations for the chamber.
"I've learned office politics," he said.
He said his mentor, Coates, receives numerous phone calls from people not content with services offered and other matters, and she always has to handle issues in a professional manner.
Coates, who used to coach executives who had been fired and were searching for a new job, said she weaves her background knowledge when working with Hogrefe.
She said Hogrefe is naturally quiet, and Coates coaches him on how to be more comfortable when dealing with people.
She said when people come in to talk to her, she and Hogrefe would discuss how the conversation could have improved.
"He's great. He is a very talented young man," she said. "At his age, he just takes it all in."
Coates said it is refreshing to have someone to ask why the business functions of the chamber are carried out in a certain way.
"(High schoolers) see the world completely differently. You don't think about why you do everything," she said.
Coates said part of her job is teaching Hogrefe how the chamber produces a product for business members and how the function of the chamber is directly tied to the needs and expectations of its customer.
Hogrefe designed a PowerPoint presentation representing the chamber's membership status. Coates said by creating the presentation, Hogrefe was exposed to a different viewpoint of how his hometown functions.
"He is learning which businesses rely on winter business and how to market them," she said.
Senior Travis Logan said his Careers internship has helped him develop the work ethic he will need to join the Air Force.
Logan has an internship with Fox Construction and said he has continually gained more responsibility in his internship because of his hard work.
"You learn a lot; you have to work your way up," he said. "It's like the military."
Logan said before he took Careers, he didn't consider going to college through the military. He applied for the ROTC program at the University of Colorado and at the University of California at Los Angeles.
In addition to working as an intern, Careers students complete a project outside of school that focuses on an area of interest.
Hogrefe is participating in Colorado Mountain College's The Stock Market Game class for his project.
As a student interested in pursing a field in business and finance, the project offers Hogrefe some more hands-on experience.
Careers teacher Angie Blair said the project is meant to involve a community mentor who will advise students as they complete their projects.
Blair said students' projects range from learning how to play an instrument to building a gun cabinet.
She said beginning with the graduating class of 2005, all students will take Careers or Senior Experience. She said mentors who donated from three to 10 hours over a two-month span are needed to work with students on their selected project.