RJL Solutions, an advocacy and strategic communications firm in downtown Terre Haute, recently hired two interns for the spring semester to complete a regional branding project for West Central Indiana. Kathryn Shema, a senior at Indiana State University, government affairs intern, and Anna Madden, a senior at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, public relations intern, joined the RJL Solutions team in January.
“Governor Eric Holcomb has spoken about West Central Indiana’s biggest asset being the variety of educational institutions as a business community,” states Rachel J. Leslie, RJL Solutions partner. “It is important to seek opportunities to nurture these students in experiential ways and raise servant and civic leaders willing to change West Central Indiana. We look forward to what these two students accomplish as they work closely with government and business leaders across West Central Indiana.”
Shema and Madden will work closely with leaders from the Vigo County government, the city of Terre Haute, the Economic Development Corporation, the Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the Chamber of Commerce in collaboration with community leaders from Clay, Parke, Putnam, Sullivan, and Vermillion counties to develop a student-led proposal.
“I’m pleased the different government and organizational entities that represent our community are willing to work with these two, talented students. I’ve encouraged these students to visit the surrounding counties and get to know their leaders, learn from their thoughts, and develop an asset list. They’ve also been resourced to visit other regions across the state and ask hard questions and develop strong recommendations. I’ve asked them not to get side-tracked by politics, but to use their educational backgrounds, talents, and collaborative spirits to do quality research,” states Leslie.
Shema, of Terre Haute, majors in Social Justice and Sociology with a minor in International Studies. She has been a recipient of the Indiana Academic Honors Incentive and Dean’s List for four years. Shema was given the opportunity to study abroad for a semester in Florence, Italy and traveled to various places in Europe and Morocco. She was also chosen to go on a service trip to the Republic of Panama through the Community Engagement Center at ISU. She has served on a medical mission trip to Haiti, where she worked in a clinic and visited the local school. Shema plans to attend law school, utilizing her passions for education, human rights and international relations, in the legal system to advocate for positive change.
While being a full-time student, Shema has also worked at CASA Kids as a Volunteer Coordinator and serves many hours volunteering at her church, St. Joseph’s University Parish. Kathryn is also an active member of the Chi Omega Fraternity and served as a Recruitment Counselor for the Panhellenic Association.
“Through working as an intern at RJL Solutions, I hope to develop strong leadership skills and help bring more opportunities, pride, and growth to my hometown, and the greater West Central Indiana area,” states Shema. “I believe that this internship will impact my future endeavors in a multitude of ways, because it will teach me how to advocate for the community, develop stronger leadership skills and collaborate with multiple different entities such as businesses, non-profit organizations, and government.”
Madden, of Indianapolis, is pursuing a degree in marketing with a minor in French. During her time at the Woods, she spent two years as a resident assistant and worked as a student representative for the College. This past summer, she had the opportunity to study abroad in Cannes, France where she immersed herself in the French language and culture while traveling throughout the French Riviera. Madden plans to attend Xavier University to complete her Master of Business Administration in International Business.
“From this internship, I hope to obtain industry level experience in marketing as well as a better understanding of the functions of working in a business and with others,” states Madden. “West Central Indiana has provided me with countless opportunities and support, and I cannot wait to give back while utilizing my talents. I am honored to be entrusted with such an important project and hope to have my growing talents speak for themselves through the regional branding project.”