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Sunday, Oct 24, 2021

Blue Bird Scholars hint at bigger corporate relationships for Mercer

(Left to right) Kimberly Lopez, Asia Cladd, Christianne Grist and Hannah Jeevanayagam  posing at their internship with Blue Bird. The four of them are just a few of the Mercer students who worked at the bus manufacturer this summer. Photo provided by Hannah Jeevanayagam.
(Left to right) Kimberly Lopez, Asia Cladd, Christianne Grist and Hannah Jeevanayagam posing at their internship with Blue Bird. The four of them are just a few of the Mercer students who worked at the bus manufacturer this summer. Photo provided by Hannah Jeevanayagam.

This past summer, eight Mercer students from the Stetson School of Business and the School of Engineering were selected to participate in the new Blue Bird Scholars program. The program is part of a larger university initiative to enhance corporate relations at Mercer, according to Kimberly Meredith, director of Mercer’s Center for Career and Professional Development.

“The Blue Bird Scholars program is a win for students, the university and the employer,” Meredith said. “The program is a perfect demonstration of purposeful actions put in place to fulfill the Mercer Mission. Everyone involved in this program experienced various ways to learn, to create, to discover, to inspire, to empower and to serve.”

The students participating in the Blue Bird program each completed a 12-week internship at the bus manufacturer and were offered $2,500 upon completion.

Mercer has high hopes for expanding its corporate partnerships in the coming years.

Mercer is a part of the Network of Academic Corporate Relations Officers which provides a framework for national standards and professional development opportunities. Mercer’s career offices are also looking to set up a corporate partners program or corporate engagement program, according to Senior Associate Vice President for University Advancement Allen London.

This program creates a simpler process for university relationships, London said. When a company wants to partner with Mercer, there will be a “centralized, one-stop-shop” they can reach.

These offices are working on a website that will fulfill this purpose. Mercer also recently established a Corporate Relations Council designed to focus on Mercer’s corporate connections.

While corporate relations at Mercer are expanding, they have long been an integral part of Mercer. One important partnership, according to London, began in the 1980s with Robins Air Force Base and resulted in the creation of Mercer’s engineering school in 1985. This has opened the door for a variety of relationships for Mercer.

“The beauty of Mercer is that we're small and nimble,” London said. “We can turn on a dime and we can make some decisions faster than sometimes larger public institutions can make.”

Meredith said that the Center for Career and Professional Development is also seeing developments in terms of corporate employers.

“The Center for Career and Professional Development is experiencing high levels of engagement with employers at this time,” Meredith said.

With the university’s recent relationships in mind, Meredith advised students to create a Handshake account to fully utilize the college-to-career resources that are available to them at Mercer.


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