Cheryl Blok

Master of Public Affairs
Graduation Date:  Dec. 2010

The Exchange
(US Army and Air Force Exchange Service)
Summer - Fall 2010


“This position has allowed me to facilitate discussions with my classmates about my internship experiences. Reading and completing assignments for class is quite different than actually experiencing concepts covered in the coursework in a real-world organization.”

Cheryl Blok had a clear goal in mind when she set out to do an internship - she wanted to work for AAFES (Army and Air Force Exchange Service), which is now referred to as the Exchange. She was able to support the organization's mission by working in Human Resources. As an MPA student she was given the option to complete an internship for credit, and believed this would give her some great hands-on experience.

Since applying to work for this organization can be difficult, Cheryl met with an Internship Coordinator and was able to apply through UTD CareerWorks, making the process easier and more direct. When she received news that she got the position, she was absolutely overjoyed.

Much of Cheryl's work involved writing and editing, which is a major part of her coursework. She focused on getting necessary information out to Exchange associates in the clearest way possible. Since her MPA program involves lots of hefty writing assignments, this was very helpful. “I also learned about the functions of HR in a government organization and the challenges that the directorate faces.”

So how did this internship fit into this graduate student's busy schedule? Very well, in fact! “Because I was able to set my own hours at the Exchange, I am able to leave at 3:00 pm which gives me enough time to finish coursework before I go to class each night.” A key benefit of this internship was that the work was relevant to her career and academic goals. She notes that “the work assigned to interns is not menial. Interns are given projects and tasks that are beneficial to their course work and for future employment with other organizations.”

This experience in the field helped to solidify her plans to work in Human Resources. “Working on and completing projects that dealt with recruitment and other HR issues strengthened my desire to pursue a career in the field.”

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