By Brian Brus
Courtesy of The Journal Record
OKLAHOMA CITY – Mary Hestilow’s fellowship with i2E two years ago is proving useful in her interactions with clients now, she said.
Hestilow works at Grant Thornton LLP as a business advisory associate. The market research she conducted for the nonprofit business support organization i2E helped her develop perspective on matching client expectations with viable options.
Hestilow had a few other experiences working to her benefit as well. She has been an intern at the Center for the Creation of Economic Wealth in Norman, an intern at the White House working on the Let’s Move! childhood obesity initiative, and an intern for the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber.
“The fellowship helped me develop a greater appreciation for financial risk, whether it’s a startup or a $2 billion company, you still really have to develop a strong grasp for risk factors and how to work it out if something goes wrong,” she said.
“It gave me a much better overall perspective of business practices,” she said.
Oklahoma City-based i2E is offering paid fellowships again this summer for the sixth year. The organization is seeking Oklahoma college students to place at entrepreneurial companies in Oklahoma City and Tulsa.
This year the i2E fellows program has been opened to an even broader pool of applicants, officials said. Oklahoma residents who attend college at an out-of-state campus are now also eligible to apply for the fellowship along with students at any Oklahoma college or university. The goal is to help Oklahomans develop professional networks in the state and increase the likelihood of retaining business talent.
“We’re pleased to open the i2E fellows program this year to even more students,” i2E Chief Executive Scott Meacham said. “The fellows program places students into real-world, entrepreneurial situations where the companies benefit from their expertise, and they gain experience that will help them in future jobs.”
Meacham said more than $200,000 has been paid to 36 students from campuses statewide since the program began. Many have used the experience to launch their careers with entrepreneurial companies or with their own startup.
Participants this year will be paid $6,000 for 10 weeks of full-time work. Fellows will be placed on projects designed to match their skills at i2E’s client companies or at i2E itself. Applications for the program will be accepted through the end of March and the fellowships are scheduled to begin June 2. Undergraduate and graduate students are eligible.
The fellowship program is supported by the federal Economic Development Administration, the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber, the Oklahoma Business Roundtable, the city of Oklahoma City, the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, Presbyterian Health Foundation and the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology.