Brandywine business student turns classroom knowledge into real-world success

Penn State Brandywine's Christina Shoemaker

Penn State Brandywine student Christina Shoemaker is working part time at Communications Test Design Inc. after excelling in an internship with the company. Pictured from left to right are Jim O’Hara, vice president of marketing at CTDI; Shoemaker; and Courtney Lofgren, director of culture and communications at CTDI.

Credit: Communication Test Design, Inc.

MEDIA, Pa. — Like many students, Christina Shoemaker, a business major at Penn State Brandywine, used to wonder how her math and marketing courses would relate to the real world. Then she took a job at Communications Test Design Inc. (CTDI).

“Just about all my college classes have come into play at CTDI,” said Shoemaker. “I’m currently working on the company’s new e-commerce project, which includes search engine optimization. For that, I’m using skills I learned in my consumer behavior and social media marketing classes at Brandywine.”

According to its website, CTDI is a full-service, global engineering, repair and logistics company with more than 14,000 employees in more than 90 facilities worldwide.

Shoemaker found her job at CTDI through a series of events orchestrated by the Penn State Brandywine career services office and a pre-internship class that she took last spring.

Through her pre-internship course, Shoemaker participated in mock interviews, fine-tuned her résumé, and attended several on-campus networking events, including an advisory board panel and a career fair.

“That class was probably one of the most beneficial experiences I’ve had on campus,” said Shoemaker. “I’d never interviewed with a big company before, but career services taught me how to prepare, and that took the edge off of the process.”

It was at the advisory board panel that Shoemaker met Penn State alumnus Jerry Parsons, chairman and chief executive officer of CTDI, and first learned about the company. The next day, she spoke with a CTDI representative at the career fair. That conversation led to a series of interviews and eventually an internship.

“Christina made wise use of the resources available to her,” said Christine Allen, coordinator of career services at Penn State Brandywine. “She made several career appointments and opted to attend the fair, which was a key step toward getting hired at CTDI.”

After interning with CTDI for three months, Shoemaker was offered a part-time position as a marketing assistant. Six months after her internship offer, Shoemaker continues to love her role at CTDI and hopes to remain part of the company after she graduates.

“CTDI is like a family,” she said. “Everyone, including the executive board, is very involved in the office. Most of the employees have worked there for 20 or 30 years. One of my co-workers actually started as an intern and today she’s the marketing manager.”

Shoemaker will complete her business degree at Penn State Brandywine this December and credits the faculty and staff for helping her with her post-graduation endeavors.

“I was so nervous looking for an internship,” she said, “but career services and my professors were lifesavers. When I knew how to handle myself and what to expect, I felt more prepared.”