By Zoe Lance

Danielle QuillanJust a few weeks ago, Danielle Quillan heard back from one of the CSUCI students she had coached through an extensive internship application. After interning at a local laboratory for a semester through CSUCI’s Henry L. “Hank” Lacayo Institute (HLI) for Workforce and Community Studies, the student had been hired for a full-time position after graduation.

“It makes me smile. I love hearing those stories,” Quillan says. “Part of student success at CSUCI is having those students come back and say, ‘Thank you. I got this job because of this internship. You helped me write my resume, and you helped me gain self-confidence and new skills.’ They’re going into their fields career-ready.”

As the HLI Internship Program Analyst, Quillan works with students who are looking to enhance their educational experience. She trains the students who apply to HLI’s competitive internship program on professional development skills and helps place them in a paid position with a local employer, ensuring that it aligns with the students’ career goals.

For her deep investment in her students’ career readiness, Quillan received the 2018 CSUCI Staff Award for Excellence. Director of Career Development & Alumni Engagement Amanda Carpenter, Ed.D., nominated Quillan for the award.

“Danielle takes her work above and beyond,” Carpenter said. “She’s always looking for new ways of doing things, and I appreciate her perspective and willingness to challenge herself and grow. She never wavers from her commitment to staying student-focused.”

Danielle takes her work above and beyond. She's always looking for new ways of doing things, and I appreciate her perspective and willingness to challenge herself and grow.

 Amanda Carpenter

Before returning to the University as a staff member four years ago, Quillan worked in membership development at the Museum of Ventura County. She has worked with HLI since 2016, previously working with University Advancement as an Administrative Support Coordinator. Quillan says that her work in museums was made possible by an internship she had as a CSUCI Art student — she earned her bachelor’s degree in 2008 with an emphasis in art history.

“At one point, I didn’t really know if I wanted to go into teaching, or if I wanted to get my master’s degree in art history and work in the museum field,” she said. “But somebody suggested to me, ‘You should do an internship — maybe you want to be in another area or maybe you want to work somewhere else.’ It was eye-opening. I wanted to come back to CSUCI to see students’ success firsthand and feel like I’ve made a difference.”

Quillan counts expanding HLI as her proudest CSUCI accomplishment. When she joined the HLI team, there was funding for 20 interns per semester. In the spring, Quillan will recruit upwards of 40 students.

“We’ve grown the program substantially, and Danielle has made a huge contribution to that,” Carpenter said. “She always has a positive attitude, and is eager to roll up her sleeves and put the work in to support students in having quality internship experiences.”

The CSUCI Staff Award for Excellence, bestowed by CSUCI Staff Council, annually recognizes outstanding staff members for their contributions to the University community. Award criteria include years of service, job performance and demonstration of University values. 

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© Fall 2018 / Volume 22 /Number 02 / Bi-annual

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