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WIU graduate student Morgan Payne
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WIU Student Finds Internship Opportunity in a Familiar Setting

August 28, 2020

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MACOMB, IL – As the COVID-19 pandemic has limited the internship opportunities available to many Western Illinois University students, several have found opportunities to complete their academic requirements on campus.

Graphic communication graduate student Morgan Payne, of Macomb, had been a student worker in WIU's Department of Engineering Technology for four years. When it came time for Payne to compete her internship, she had difficulty finding an opportunity because of the coronavirus.

Engineering Technology Chair Rafael Obregon said the department agreed to have Payne work on special projects in line with her academic program. The first project was to update a series of displays and bulletin boards in Knoblauch Hall that display student and faculty projects and convey community and department news.

"I have had the project in mind for a while but not the right person to conduct it, someone with the right 'eye' and 'touch' to do it and also with a true insight of the department," said Obregon. "When Morgan and I talked and planned for the project, I was sure the results would be outstanding. All displays and bulletin board look fantastic, are current and there is now a planned maintenance for them."

Payne gave the displays a new look and developed a series of special layouts and helped Obregon review and updated the department's webpages.

"She proposed several tweaks and changes that are being implemented to also bring all the information disseminated through the web to be accurate and current," said Obregon. "I will miss having her in the office and seeing her smiley happy face almost every day, but I am sure she is ready and eager to conquer the world."

Payne said the opportunity to work in the office has given her the chance to get to know professors, staff members and new students.

"I made new friends, learned new skills, and loved being involved with the University," said Payne. "After months of seeking an internship to complete my degree, I was getting nowhere due to COVID-19. This was a remarkable experience re-designing and improving features in Knoblauch Hall, the same building I was in every day for my graphic communication classes and my student worker position. I'm very grateful for the opportunity I was given and am thankful to have finalized my degree at Western Illinois University because of it.

For more information on the WIU Department of Engineering Technology, visit

Posted By: Jodi Pospeschil (
Office of University Communications & Marketing