If you happen to check out Bastille Days in Milwaukee this weekend, head on over to the Bucks' display area. Chances are you'll find Lakeland College student Jake Maechtle making kids smile.
Jake is enjoying a summer internship with the Milwaukee Bucks, and since sports and people are two of his passions in life, it's no wonder he's having a blast.
"I love it," he says. "This is such a great opportunity for me to work with people, and I've always been a huge sports fanatic. I'd really love to continue with this and make a career out of it."
As a paid summer promotional intern with the Bucks, Jake goes to fairs and festivals around the state, setting up temporary baskets, encouraging fans to play interactive games and offering discounted Bucks tickets.
"I've been told to apply for the in-season internship, so I think they've been happy with me so far," says Jake, who will be a senior at Lakeland this fall. His major is business administration with emphases in sports management and economics.
This exciting internship opportunity came about through a mix of Jake's initiative and help from Lakeland Success and Engagement Coach Whitney Diedrich and 2010 Lakeland grad Tina Filipovic. Tina, an account service executive with the Bucks, got the ball rolling by putting in a good word. Then, Jake nailed a couple of phone interviews, and got the gig. One thing that helped prepare Jake for those phone interviews was a mock interview set up by Lakeland with the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers minor league baseball team.
"Whitney helped me out a ton in so many ways," Jake says. "She helped me strengthen my resume, gave me a lot of great advice and encouraged me throughout the process. Whitney and (fellow Success and Engagement Coach) Kay Voss have been great."
Spend just a few minutes with Jake, and you'll find it hard to believe he arrived at Lakeland from his hometown of Port Washington, Wis., as an extremely introverted person.
Things changed his sophomore year, when Jake took Professor of Business Administration J. Garland Schilcutt's business protocol course. In this class, students are driven hard to communicate – privately and publicly.
"I was scared to death," Jake recalls. "One day, Professor Schilcutt pulled me aside and told me I needed to speak up more. But I was shy and very nervous. I was worried people would think I was stupid. Professor Schilcutt encouraged me and told me he was once the same way, but was able to overcome it and become successful in life. I really took that to heart and decided to get more involved."
Did he ever. First, he joined Lakeland's "call team," reaching out by phone to prospective students and alumni. Then, Jake became an admissions ambassador and, the following year, an orientation leader and captain of the wrestling team.
Jake has really come out of his shell over the past few years. He gives Lakeland's nurturing environment, caring professors and numerous opportunities to branch out and shine a lot of credit for that.
"Lakeland has been great for me," he says. "It's amazing how much I've grown as a person here."