Southeast Missouri State University

Internships Help Southeast Student Prepare for the Future

College of Business

Southeast senior Rita Jo Dirnberger of Cape Girardeau, Mo., says her education at Southeast has prepared her for her future beyond school.  Rita Jo, an accounting major, got a taste of the “real world” environment through two different internships.

“I completed an internship at a local C.P.A. firm learning to prepare and process individual tax returns, payroll tax reports and financial statements,” Rita Jo said.

Rita Jo also had the opportunity to complete a co-op internship with the Boeing Company in St. Louis in their finance department.

“I did two summer rotations and one spring semester rotation,” Rita Jo said.  “My most favorite job was estimating for the F/A-18 plane, the Navy war fighter.  While at Boeing, I was able to train as a Six Sigma Green Belt Navigator, which qualifies me to work on process improvement projects through data collection and analysis.  I worked on a project in my estimating group that helped fix our on-time submittals.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Southeast, the education I have received, and the wonderful professors who have taught me,” Rita Jo said. “I believe one of the most important things a professor can do is pull real-life examples into the classroom and to talk about current events; I feel almost all of my professors have done this.  Professors at Southeast care, they encourage, and they value their students and their careers.” 

Rita Jo says she owes Southeast a special thank you for their commitment and opportunities that have prepared her for her next steps.

As for her next steps, Rita Jo says she will hold a full-time position at the Boeing Company in St. Louis, doing a two-year Leadership Business Rotational Program.  While working, she plans to attend graduate school studying for a master of business administration degree and sit for her C.P.A. exam in the fall of 2011.

While at Southeast, Rita Jo has been very involved both on and off campus.  She is a member of the professional business fraternity, Alpha Kappa Psi, Catholic Campus Ministries, and the honor societies of Beta Gamma Sigma and Phi Kappa Phi.  Rita Jo has held office positions in each of these organizations.

Rita Jo served as a student representative at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, during a week-long think tank experience in Washington, D.C., and also participated in a short-term study abroad program to Greece and Italy through the Harrison College of Business.

Rita Jo dedicates her time to several community service programs at her church, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, and a not-for-profit mission in Haiti.

When Rita Jo isn’t busy with classes, internships or volunteering, she enjoys scrapbooking, reading, traveling, baking, live music, coffee shops, nature walks and dreaming.

Rita Jo offers the following advice to Southeast students: “Take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way and every door that opens.  Get involved and always lend a helping hand.”