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Steven O'Neil'18, Business Economics Major from Centennial, Colo.

October 2017

Major: Business Economics
Hometown: Centennial, Colo.
Program Mentor: Carol Wickersham, Adjunct Instructor of Sociology and Director of the Duffy Community Partnerships and the Leadership Initiative
Duffy Site: Hendricks Holding Company
Site Supervisor: Lisa Furseth, Experienced Community Development Professional, Hendricks Family Foundation

Steven O'Neil'18, Duffy Community Partner

Share a little bit about your experience in the Duffy Community Partnership program.

My work at the Hendricks Holding Company is centered around four specific projects on the Hendricks Family Foundation side of things. The first project involves answering the question of how to engage the next generation of family members to ensure the family foundation continues its philanthropic work. The next three parts of my work will focus on the Beloit community. First, I am looking at issues surrounding entrepreneurship and how the foundation can use best practices to support local entrepreneurs. The next element of my work is focused on supporting veterans in the community. This will include research and recommendation about how to meet the needs of veterans in the community. The final part of my work is creating a dashboard of indicators about Beloit. The foundation will use this information as they continue to try and make Beloit a more prosperous community. Supporting the foundation's efforts toward creating a more prosperous community for all people in Beloit is the primary focus of my work.

How has your work through the Duffy Community Partnerships program informed your vision for the future of your education?

My work in the Duffy Program has introduced me to the world of for-profit organizations. While I spent this summer working with a non-profit organization, the Duffy program has allowed me to explore business operations within a different, for-profit organization, which has been exciting.

During my time at Hendricks Holding, I have learned about laws that govern businesses and foundations, which is very beneficial for me as I would like to work in a for-profit organization in the future. My goal is to be a lawyer working in business, and this experience has been a small introduction to some of the things I might be able to do. Hendricks Holding has exposed me to range of work and ideas that will help as I pursue my educational and career goals. 

What have you found most interesting about the Duffy program?

The most surprising thing about the work I have done with the Hendricks Holding Company is its connection to the community. The city of Beloit is much more than the college, and at times students may forget that. I have been able to make connections from the classroom to the community, and see that my education can be used to improve the conditions around me. I have experienced an aspect of Beloit that many people may never get to see, and I was surprised how much I have already learned.

Describe your experience working in the community and at your site.

My experience has been a great one. Every day I work in the office, yet do research on how to create a better community. I have been able to explore various demographic and statistical data about the Beloit Community, and in that way, I am able to see many parts of Beloit that most students will never see. Although at times it can be concerning, I know the work I am doing will support the goal of revitalizing the city. Working at Hendricks Holding has also exposed me to different perspectives of the city than I have encountered on campus.

One of the best parts of working at the Hendricks Holding Company is the opportunities I've had to meet people I would never have met otherwise. I have had the pleasure of meeting people like Diane Hendricks, Governor Scott Walker, Mike Rowe, and many other people from the Beloit community.

Overall, my time at the Hendricks Holding Company has been an amazing learning experience.

After completing your program, what are you looking forward to most?

As a senior my first goal is to continue on a course towards graduating. I am looking forward to completing my degree and being prepared for life after Beloit.