GCU helps Scottsdale-based company pilot internship program

Ben Bustamante (right) is working as an intern at Scottsdale-based Transact Campus, where Marketing Manager Wade Poezyn (left) is one of his mentors. (Contributed photo)

Breezing through his classes at Grand Canyon University, Francis Allotey Jr. was barreling full speed toward the end of his bachelor’s program.

Three years of college behind him?

Check.

Zooming through those upper-level classes?

Check.

Real life just around the corner?

Check.

But, like many college students, “I didn’t even know specifically what I wanted to do,” said Allotey, a senior business information systems major in the Colangelo College of Business.

Business information systems major Francis Allotey was inspired to go into project management after his internship.

Then he popped onto the University’s Career Connections website, the go-to spot for finding internships, jobs and all things job-preparation related.

He started applying for internships and landed one with Transact Campus, a Scottsdale-based technology company that serves the higher education community with mobile-ordering apps, building and residence hall access badge systems, tuition-payment apps, event tracking and classroom attendance apps and the like.

By the end of his 10-week summer internship with Transact as a project management intern, “My mind is all project management,” he said.

It’s what Ruben Arangure and Arriel Pilapil of GCU Career Services want to hear: That students have found their purpose, as GCU’s well-known slogan goes, and that, ultimately, they will find a job they’re passionate about.

As it turns out, the Employer Relations Program Managers, with the help of Career Services Director Marquis Scott, did more than hear about Allotey’s internship – he was one of four GCU students who completed the company’s pilot internship program along with Jay Alshouse, Valentina Sanchez Valbuena and Ben Bustamante.

Arangure and Pilapil spent a year and a half teaching companies how to create an internship program through a series of webinars.

“We teach employers how to make a proper internship and really just walk alongside them on how to make an internship that’s going to be relevant to a student, current day, and with Gen Z in mind,” said Pilapil. “So we’ve had a lot of fun trying to brainstorm ways to have companies thrive in the Valley when it comes to hiring students.”

One of the companies that participated in those webinars was Transact Campus.

“They said they wanted to design a pilot internship program. Really, the highlight of it was that GCU played a critical part in getting this pilot internship started for this employer,” Arangure said.

GCU Career Services' Ruben Arangure (second from left) and Arriel Pilapil (right) helped Transact Campus develop a pilot internship program. (Contributed photo)

Added Pilapil, “You sometimes do work and don’t realize people are listening. Transact took our recommendation, came to our webinars and developed this beautiful internship.”

One of the beautiful things about this pilot program is that it supports a core value for the company.

“The big thing about this internship and why it was so important is that it focused on diversity in technology,” Arangure said. “One of the things Transact is really highlighting is the importance of diversity and representation in the industry of technology, particularly as it relates to college campuses and future careers.”

Mechelle King, Transact Campus’ Vice President of Corporate Social Responspibility, related: “Our goal was to pilot a talent pipeline program for students from diverse backgrounds to gain valuable work experience and professional growth as our commitment to social responsibility.”

Seven interns from four universities – Grand Canyon, Arizona State, Chowin and Coppin State  – were part of the company’s Diversity Internship Program.

Wade Poezyn, Senior Digital and Demand Generation Marketing Manager for Transact Campus, said the company works in the higher education industry, so with this pilot internship “wanted to give students in the industry we’re involved in a chance to learn about the corporate world.”

Allotey spent his internship working mainly with the company’s Campus ID projects. Over the summer, campus ID systems were installed on four campuses across the United States.

Ben Bustamante worked on marketing campaigns and ran his own marketing campaign as part of his internship.

Meanwhile, Ben Bustamante, a GCU junior marketing and advertising major, worked with the digital marketing team and with Poezyn, one of his mentors at the company.

Bustamante assisted employees on marketing campaigns and ran his own campaign, too. He targeted potential clients who might be thinking of using the company’s mobile-ordering app.

Bustamante himself has used the mobile-ordering app as a GCU student. In 2021, GCU Dining launched the app, which allows students to skip waiting in lunch lines, order through the app and stop to pick up their meal.

Pilapil didn’t know Transact Campus was on the GCU campus until a stop at GCBC.

“We were like, ‘Whoa, there’s the logo!’”

Bustamante said it was important to him to do an internship so he would be ahead of the game when it comes to gaining job experience.

What he loved about the internship is that it was far from go-fer territory. He had strong mentors who taught him skills he will use in marketing jobs after he graduates.

“We had so much access to the staff that you wouldn’t get with anyone else,” Bustamante said. 

Allotey added, “They provided so much mentorship. The managers, they reached out, even outside of work, to direct us in how we should go about things post-graduation.”

Poezyn said the company wanted to set students up for success.

“It wasn’t like, ‘Oh, go do mundane tasks.’ … It’s, let’s get you involved in a specific role you’re trying to go after,” he said.

The interns wrapped up their internship with a capstone project presented to the company’s leaders.

“That’s where you really saw the confidence,” Poezyn said.  “ … We’re viewing these presentations and were like, ‘You did what? That’s absolutely incredible!’ They really applied themselves and did things we didn’t even think they were capable of.”

Because of this pilot internship, Pilapil said Transact Campus is doing deeper work with the University.

Poezyn, for one, recently presented an Honors College talk in which he spoke about brand awareness and gave Linked In and networking advice to students.

Bustamante, who also spoke at the Honors College event, is getting even more out of the Transact Campus internship than he expected. His internship was extended through December.

“The best part of it was that working for the company didn’t feel like a job; it prepared me for different tasks for my career.”

GCU Internal Communications Manager Lana Sweeten-Shults can be reached at [email protected] or at 602-639-7901.

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