Internship Helps Senior Pursue Passion, Research
Internships can bring together a student’s education and passion. This was the case for Casey Buckler, who recently interned with The Institute of Women and had the opportunity to conduct research on women in higher education leadership for the Central Ohio Leadership Census (COLC).
The COLC is an annual account of women’s participation in key leadership positions in business, government, nonprofit organizations and higher education in the central Ohio community. It is produced in partnership by The Institute on Women, Otterbein University and WELD (Women for Economic and Leadership Development).
“I have always had a passion for leadership, but (as a peer mentor to Otterbein University President Kathy Krendl’s First Year Seminar : Women in Leadership course) I learned that I was passionate about inspiring and helping other leaders grow to take positions of leadership as well,” Buckler said.
During her internship with The Institute on Women, Buckler worked with Julie Graber, CEO of the Institute and part-time faculty in Otterbein’s history and political science department, to collect data on women in leadership at 37 public colleges and universities in Ohio.
Buckler said her favorite part of the research was hearing “the light bulb go off” on the other end of the line when she called to confirm that an institution had no women or few women on the institution’s board.
“It was in these moments that I really felt like I was making a difference,” Buckler said. “Just in starting this conversation, by bringing awareness to this lack of representation of women on boards, I felt like I had a hand in starting this change.”
Graber and Buckler’s research revealed that Ohio exceeds the national average in percentage of female college chief executives (30 percent versus 23 percent).
“The good news really is when you compare higher education to public companies, higher education is doing a much better job of putting talented women to work in leadership roles,” Graber said.
Graber and Buckler presented their research at the American Council on Education’s (ACE) Ohio Women’s Network conference in November.
“I was so excited to be able to share what we found and more importantly to continue the conversation of the importance of getting more women into these positions,” Buckler said.
Buckler said her internship experience gave her the opportunity to work with professionals and mentors who share her passion for the research she helped conduct.
“I think it is important for students to learn how to work on longer term projects, learning how to set goals, overcome challenges and to communicate and collaborate with others,” she said.