Intern experience leads to full-time career for two recent college graduates

both internsThe best thing for a recent college graduate to include on their resume is hands on-experience. That’s exactly what Megan Schmitz and Kayla Mikonowicz received following their 14 week internships within the Therapeutic Recreation (TR) departments on The Lutheran Home: Belle Plaine campus.

Both women are recent graduates from Minnesota State University, Mankato majoring in Recreation, Parks and Leisure Services with an emphasis in TR. Their internship, not only provided experience, but also the opportunity to discover which care communities fits best for them.

The TR department uses leisure activities to help residents meet well-being goals. Team members work with residents to enhance motor skills, social and cognitive functioning while building confidence and developing skills. Examples include creative arts such as crafts or music, games including Bingo and exercises like dance or movement.

The Lutheran Home: Belle Plaine care campus offers a wide variety of care for aging seniors and individuals with disabilities. The internship program allows individuals to spend time within Kingsway Retirement Living, which offers independent living, assisted living and memory care all under one roof; Hope Residence, a disability housing community and The Lutheran Home, a skilled nursing facility.

“Working within each community was a great opportunity to understand the differences with each population,” explained Megan. “Having spent time in each facility, I was able to find the best fit for me.”

The Therapeutic Recreation department within each care community provides a variety of leisure activities and hobbies can increase one’s quality of life. Observing the behind the scenes work was eye opening to both Kayla and Megan.

“I learned how much background planning TR directors have to do and how truly important it is to find activities that suit all of the resident’s needs,” said Kayla. “There are so many different levels of abilities; it can be challenging at times to find activities that work for everyone. I really enjoyed the opportunity to work on that.”

Both Megan and Kayla found their way to the TR field because they wanted to help people. That’s exactly what they will both be doing. Following the completion of their internships, both women have accepted roles as team members within Hope Residence. Megan will serve as the TR director and Kayla as a TR assistant.

“Having an internship program offers benefits including fresh ideas, new perspectives and mentorship opportunities for our current team members while creating partnerships with local colleges. The experience allows team members to foster their leadership skills while providing students with experiences they couldn’t acquire in a classroom setting,” explained Kayla Jones, Human Resources & Recruitment Director at Hope Residence. “In this situation, it has helped us as a recruiting tool to have two qualified and experienced individuals joining our Hope team.”

With a variety of career paths available, we are always looking for caring compassionate people to join our team. Discover our career opportunities at