Student Engagement

MFRI’s internship opportunities offer students the chance to earn course credits, build their resumes and enhance their knowledge. Interns and student workers participate on all MFRI teams as they learn about military members, veterans and their families. We are proud to work in collaboration with Purdue University departments that are educating future leaders.

Student Spotlights

Collin Coffey

Collin CoffeyQ: How has growing up with two military parents motivated your work at MFRI?
A: Being raised in a military household and having that mindset,  I wanted to be part of MFRI because the mission of the program hits home for me. It doesn’t necessarily matter what task I do, I am just happy to be part of an organization that does great things for military and veteran families.

Q: Describe your experience being in a military family and how that background gives you insight for your work at MFRI.
A: MFRI research focuses on ways to help military families. Being able to understand the research and why MFRI is conducting it, stems from being part of a military family. My parents used the tools they learned from the military to teach me life lessons like time management, responsibility and having a clear understanding of goals and end points. I apply this directly to my position at MFRI.

Q: Describe the most meaningful part of your experience working in education and employment at MFRI.
A: Being involved with the Focus Forward Fellowship is a rewarding experience. I assist with research and implementing ways to improve connecting with fellows. Being able to offer any assistance makes me want to come to work in the mornings.

Q: How does your work at MFRI relate to your academic program and help you achieve your career goals?
A: I am an interior design major, which has a strong focus on details. Being detail-oriented in research is obviously something that is important. Just like in interior design, there are a lot of technicalities and details that can’t go overlooked. I have a strong understanding of what is needed to accurately represent the data results because of my major.

Shannon Lee

Shannon LeeQ: How has your experience as a military kid motivated your work at MFRI?
While job searching, I realized that I wanted to work where I could make a positive contribution while learning new skills. As a military kid, I was motivated to work at MFRI because I believed that my past experiences allowed me to have a deeper understanding of the work that MFRI does.

Q: Describe the most meaningful part of your experience working with Star Behavioral Health Providers (SBHP).
A: The most meaningful part is knowing the impact this program has on veterans, service members, and their families. The impact of SBHP is widespread, reaching across the U.S. I never imagined that as a college student I would be able to work in an organization that leaves an impact on people outside of my immediate community.

Q: How does your work at MFRI relate to your academic program and extracurricular interests?
A: I am a second year pre-pharmacy student involved in Boiler Gold Rush , Habitat for Humanity and Purdue University Dance Marathon. A common theme among my major and organizational involvements is working to help others. My work at MFRI relates to my academic program and extracurricular interests because my work at MFRI is purposeful and has a positive impact on the military community.

Q: How is your work at MFRI helping you achieve your career goals?
A: My work at MFRI allows me to accumulate the skills necessary to succeed in the professional world. As someone interested in entering the healthcare field, efficient communication is important. A lot of my work for MFRI and SBHP is communicating with providers and answering any questions they may have. The skills I learn from MFRI can help me become a better pharmacist or healthcare professional.

Rebecca Puetzer

Rebecca Puetzer with spouseQ: Being a military spouse, why do you find the Family Journey’s project and important initiative for MFRI?
A: Each family has a story to tell. Because of this diversity, I find the Family Journeys project to be an incredibly important initiative of MFRI. It helps capture those unique experiences and aids in our understanding of the lives of those serving and the people who love and support them.

Q: Describe your experience being in a military family and how that connection relates to what you do on the Family Journey’s project. Do you find the connection to be rewarding?
A: I knew I wanted to help people. When I became part of a military family, my area of interest focused on military families. That’s when I found the Military Family Research Institute and the Family Journeys project. Being part of a military family, I have an idea what it’s like. Since I am also connected through Family Journeys, I now have an even better perspective on military life and am able to fulfill my desire to help others.

Q: Understanding military family experiences is an important aspect of how MFRI serves military families. Working on the Family Journey’s project, describe being part of this essential process.
A: I am grateful to have an opportunity to work in a place that has the exact same goals I do – furthering society’s understanding of military life and working to improve the lives of service members and their families. Being part of this process is an incredible experience.

Q: Explain how working at MFRI has influenced your academic and career goals.
A: It has not only heightened my passion for what I wanted to do in the first place, but has sparked an entirely new passion for research. I enjoy attending my research-oriented classes now, and have never been more excited to attend graduate school. The Family Journeys project has been critical in many of my academic decisions, as well as those pertaining to my career path.