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Fill 'er up: Students 'top off' learning with Marathon
One-quarter of oil company's summer interns hailed from Ohio University  

Oct 6, 2008  
By Julia Marino and Jeanna Packard  

Stories in this student-led and written Outlook series highlight the distinctive summer internships and work experiences of students from across the academic spectrum.

When Marathon Oil recruiters needed interns to fill their expanding industrial technology department this summer, they struck it rich in Athens, Ohio.

Marathon, the nation's fifth-largest refiner, hired 11 of its 43 interns from Ohio University -- more students than any other school in the United States this year, said Jennifer Hall, director of development in the College of Business. Interns from the College of Business, the Russ College of Engineering and Technology, and the Scripps College of Communication performed various tasks, including business analysis, supply distribution and information management.

"(Marathon) loves our program and the caliber of students we produce and has become our largest employer, typically hiring about five interns and five permanent placements each year," Associate Professor of Management Information Systems Sean McGann said.

The relationship between Marathon and Ohio University began three years ago when Terry Pellam, an IT supervisor at Marathon and an Ohio University alumnus, was a member of Marathon's hiring team. Pellam and other Marathon representatives attended the university's fall career fair in an effort to expand the company's MIS presence, said Marathon recruiter Kathy Hull. According to Pellam, who earned his degree in management information systems in 1986, the philosophies of Marathon's IT co-op and the College of Business' MIS department "fit like a glove."

Ohio students demonstrated success working in teams as well as in time management, quality business analysis and drive for results, said Hull, who is an advanced human resources consultant for the company.

Hull also applauded the College of Business for its integration of MIS with other areas of business. In the 2007-08 academic year, more than 70 percent of Ohio University's MIS majors had a double major in other areas such as marketing or finance. 

"This gives them an advantage and skills that make them a little notch above," said Marathon's information technology services manager, Don Wehrly. "[Ohio University's] program is geared to exactly what we want from our IT business analyst skill set."

The Marathon Foundation recently reaffirmed the oil company's commitment to Ohio University by granting $5,000 to the university's MIS program and its student chapter of the Association of Information Technology Professionals, a student organization dedicated to promoting a better understanding of information systems and technology.

According to McGann, it's a win-win situation for Marathon and Ohio University.

Experiences like these put Marathon Oil "at the top of our list," of employers, he said. "They're really doing a phenomenal job at providing opportunities for our students."

Ohio University's 2008 Marathon interns were MIS majors Christy Bernard from Medina, Ohio; Brett Bivenour from Lewis Center, Ohio; Katie Brobeck from Johnstown, Ohio; Michael Flecher from North Royalton, Ohio; Samantha Hiller from Painesville, Ohio; Andy Holmes from Piqua, Ohio; Matthew Kirsch from Perry, Ohio; Alisha McGuire from Oak Hill, Ohio; and Matt Pavia from North Olmsted, Ohio; computer science major Jason Hursey from Waynesburg, Pa.; and information and telecommunication systems major Daniel Medary from Columbus, Ohio.

In their words

Students speak out about their summer internship with Marathon:

"My project this summer was storing field location data centrally so it could be accessed by anyone, anywhere (within the company). It allows managers to get a view of what was going on in the field. This internship has given me a chance to see how MIS analysts' roles look in a specific industry as opposed to a consulting role."

Brett Bivenour
Senior, MIS major

College intern, IT Information Delivery department
Marathon - Houston office

"I programmed different applications to help refineries work more efficiently and therefore make more money. Ohio didn't teach me the software I'm using... They taught me how to learn to use the software."

Jason Hursey
Junior, Computer Science major

College intern, IT Refining Business Applications department
Marathon - Findlay office

"(Marathon) is a great company to work for. We get to work on projects that really affect the company. Our work makes a difference, so we are treated more like employees and less like interns. The amount of work and responsibility allows us to contribute more than other internships."

Alisha McGuire
Senior, MIS major

College intern, Enterprise Content Management department
Marathon - Houston office

"I was able to jump right in and take initiative in doing real client work. All of my MIS classes have always helped in the working-life aspect. Being involved in the (Ohio University) Association of Information Technology Professionals is also very helpful in preparing us."

Andy Holmes

Senior, MIS major

President of OU AITP

College intern, IT Human Resources department
Marathon - Findlay office


Updated Oct. 27, 2008, to include the students' hometowns.


Related Links
College of Business: http://www.cob.ohio.edu/ 
Russ College of Engineering and Technology: http://www.ohio.edu/engineering/  
Scripps College of Communication: http://www.scrippscollege.ohio.edu/  

Published: Oct 6, 2008 12:51 PM  

Samantha Hiller gives a presentation  
MIS major Samantha Hiller delivers a presentation to an audience of Marathon Oil supervisors and College of Business faculty and staff this summer at the Marathon Oil office in Findlay, Ohio.  


The 2008 Marathon interns with COB faculty and Terry Pellam.   
College of Business Marathon interns Matt Pavia, Alicia McGuire, Samantha Hiller, Daniel Medary, Andy Holmes, Brett Bivenour, Christy Bernard, Michael Fletcher and Katie Brobeck grabbed a landmark photo with faculty members Mike Martel, Vic Matta and Tod Brokaw, and Marathon IT Supervisor Terry Pellam.   

Photographer: Julia Marino  

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