3/31/14 ASHLAND, Ohio - Ashland University senior Elizabeth Papantonio, a resident of Zelienople, Pa., was recognized March 27 by the Northeast Ohio Council on Higher Education (NOCHE) as Northeast Ohio’s “Best Intern.” She was one of two Ashland University students who were finalists for the award.
Papantonio, a hospitality management and marketing double major, was nominated for her internship at Ecolab, while AU senior Taylor Zorman, an international business major, was nominated for her internship at FlashStarts.
The fact that two of the five "Best Intern" award finalists were from Ashland University is remarkable, since students from all higher education institutions in Northeast Ohio and students from other institutions who completed an internship in Northeast Ohio were eligible in this competition.
Papantonio received the award at the Expys Award Luncheon, which was a NOCHE event held to recognize the best interns, intern supervisors and internship programs in Northeast Ohio. A panel of independent judges selected the winners, who were honored in front of a sell-out lunch audience of 250 people at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Independence, Ohio.
“Talented people drive our economy and internships and co-ops are critical to cultivating and developing world-class talent. The Expys sends a positive message that Northeast Ohio is a great place to attend college and do an internship,” said NOCHE Interim Executive Director Shawn Brown.
“Internships and co-ops are among the strongest connectors for business and higher education,” Brown added.
Papantonio spent much of her internship ensuring that all Ecolab equipment was functioning well and identifying solutions to common problems for accounts and selling appropriate solutions. Her work included preventative maintenance, fixing dishwashing machines and laundry equipment as well as dispensing equipment.
During this period, Papantonio installed 150 hand soap dispensers, soap cells, Oasis dispensers and two dishwashers. She also sold roughly $3,000 worth of product.
“Ashland University classes prepared me to deal with customers and how to approach situations in a professional manner,” Papantonio said. “The classes also taught me how to market my skills and how to apply my strengths in different ways as well as address my weaknesses so that I could better myself.”
Papantonio, who would like to continue her career with Ecolab after graduation, said the internship helped her market and improve her salesmanship from new angles. “It taught me the importance of good communication skills. It also helped me realize the importance of hard work and professionalism,” she said.
Papantonio, the daughter of Karen Haluck and Tony Papantinio, is a 2010 graduate of Seneca Valley High School.
Zorman, a resident of Novelty, Ohio, is a 2010 graduate of West Geauga High School.
Ashland University, which has been ranked in the top 200 colleges and universities in U.S. News and World Report’s National Universities category, is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University (www.ashland.edu) values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students.