Running with the ball

A Google search kicked off a huge internship opportunity for Sara Leyes, ’18. She credits the culture of support at State for setting her up for success.

When Sara Leyes walked into USA Football in January to start her internship with the human resources department, she admits it was a little intimidating.

The internship with the Indianapolis-based national governing body for amateur American football in the U.S. may have been one of Leyes’ best Google-search discoveries, though. After applying online, the organization reached out to her for a phone interview.

“A week after the interview, I was offered the internship, which was exciting because I know I want to start a career in human resources and work my way up through a company,” said Leyes, a senior health sciences major with a minor in human resource development from New Castle, Ind.

During Leyes’ four-month internship she accumulated a portfolio of projects, including generation of an intern/supervisor evaluation and helping create a wellness program for USA Football.

“USA Football has a small HR staff, which allowed me firsthand experiences in a lot of different areas and was a great learning environment,” she said. “For (the wellness program), I met with a few employees about what has been done in the past or what they want done in the future and created a needs-assessment survey, which was approved by the leadership team to send to employees. We have a wellness committee coming up, and from there, we plan to fully implement a program. It is very exciting to be a part of that, and I am very happy USA Football allowed me to bring in my passion for healthier living during my internship.”

Leyes’ 40-hours-a-week experience was filled with updating employee files within the human resources system, performing audits on certain paperwork to ensure all employees are up-to-date, reconciling benefits statements and sending out mail, as well as exposure to completing employee payroll, I-9 documents and new software.

She also gained insight into recruitment by leading the new-employee orientation and reviewing applications for USA Football’s summer interns, narrowing the pool of candidates and participating in interviews.

“My supervisors are very hands-on, and they have given me the opportunity to conduct new-hire orientation, as well as sort through resumes to find their next intern for the summer,” Leyes said. “Researching policies and different aspects of human resources is a daily task of mine, and I have gained so much knowledge about the field and am appreciative of all the responsibilities they let me take on. I was able to learn about everything HR-related.

USA Football was Leyes’ second internship as an Indiana State student. In the summer of 2017, she served as an administration intern with Henry Community Health in New Castle, Ind., performing audits and learning about marketing.

“You learn about the policies and procedures in class, but it’s not hands-on. That’s why my internships have been so valuable, and I’m so glad that people at Indiana State pushed me to do them,” she said. “I learned so much just about being a professional — how to formulate emails, talk in meetings and how to dress. The process of looking for an internship can be intimidating, though, so it was good that I was at a university that encouraged me to step up and do them and helped me along the way, with access to things like practice interviews at the Career Center that helped me to land my internship.”

USA Football provided Leyes with another well-rounded experience she can add to her resume, as she interviews for human resource positions in the Cincinnati, Ohio, area.

“I did a co-op experience in the health care field while I was in high school and decided I wanted to do something in that field, but I realized it wasn’t for me once I got to college,” she said. “I found I’m more of a business-minded type of person and felt like health care administration was a better fit. Picking up a human resource development minor gave me the option to go into human resources. I like the recruiting and helping employees make their work experiences better aspects of the human resources field.”

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