College Office Technology Students Put Their
Knowledge Into Practice
Farm Saelee knows
Microsoft Word, Excel, and a host of other computer software programs.
The 23-year old Merced College student can create and design office stationary,
type and print out letters of correspondence, and keep a database of records.
She just needed a job so that she could put her knowledge and skills into
practice. That’s when local Executive Edge Insurance Services came
into the picture.
Executive Edge is one of a handful of local businesses who accept Merced
College students as interns in their offices. The students are enrolled
in the College’s Office Technology program as administrative office
“We are a brand new insurance agency in Merced and we needed to
hire someone immediately,” said owner and broker Terrie Bolyard.
“Being a brand new agency, we didn’t have a lot of money to
hire someone. Then, someone told us about Farm. I’m glad we hired
her. She’s very dedicated.”
According to instructor Susan Kline, the interns work 120 hours during
their last semester of the program. “This on-the-job experience
is the capstone of our program,” Kline said. “We want our
students to stay near their homes and work in the office setting of their
Sheryll Mendiola is another intern who is working in a local doctor’s
office. Her duties include billing and insurance. Because she came into
the office with computer skills, she has already made improvements in
the billing process.
“I was asked to tally up the patients who hadn’t made payments
and they expected that I would write down everyone’s name and their
information,” Mendiola said. “I suggested that we create a
spreadsheet in Excel. That way we could keep accurate records and better
manage the information.”
That kind of immediate impact on the office was also demonstrated by intern
Yadira Morales. Morales was recently given an award by her employer Rascal
Creek Physical Therapy for her “hard work and dedication.”
“This is a great opportunity for us, to have students here with
the skills we need,” said Morales’s supervisor Tony Hernandez.
“We’ve used ROP students in the past, but they are only here
for a few hours. And, their knowledge and work ethic is just different
from a college student’s. A college student is more enthusiastic
about working, and they want to do a good job.”
The Office Technology program at Merced College prepares students to enter
an office environment with the professional skills necessary to be successful.
Students learn how to prepare for an interview and how to write a resume.
They learn typical office protocols, communication skills, and how to
dress professionally. According to Kline, the interns put into practice
the knowledge and skills they learn in the classroom.
“We believe that we are training the best administrative office
professionals in our region,” she said. “Our employers are
grateful for our interns and many employers hire them once they complete
Kline said she invites local businesses to contact her if they are interested
in hiring an intern. Interns often work free during the program, but many
are paid directly by the employer.
For more information on the Office Technology program, call the Merced
College Business Division at (209) 3384-6120.