When Collin Fink first learned about Nelnet, he was impressed by a unique aspect of the company: Nelnet considers itself to be a Strengths-based organization. Strengths – as in Gallup’s Clifton Strengths. As a student in the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s College of Business, which uses the leadership development program, Strengths were already a major part of Collin’s life. So, when he found an organization and a program like the Pathway Program, both of which value this program’s guiding principles, Collin knew he wanted in.

“I really wanted to be a part of the organization and the program from how they presented their culture and the program. I knew that if I got in I would learn lifelong skills and be able to make a real impact on the organization,” Collin said.

In August 2020, Collin began his career as a Pathway Program intern at Nelnet. He began his journey in the Business and Innovation track with PaymentSpring, where he was able to manage a project focused on identifying possible fraud and transactions with the company. He enjoyed the independence – and the chance to own a project that would better the team and equip them with the knowledge to improve the business.

“My mentors gave me the freedom to approach this subject however I wanted to. I was able to analyze real data and give updates on exactly how they are being impacted by this issue and give real-world solutions,” Collin said. “This project wasn’t meant to just keep me busy. It was meant to give me a chance to make meaningful change, and that is what I am grateful for.”

While the Strengths-based program and real work were major selling points to Collin both before and during the Pathway Program, mentorship was especially unique and meaningful for him. The Pathway Program prioritizes building strong connections between interns and mentors, who aim to guide and support students in each rotation.

“Being able to have new mentors for each rotation has been one of the most impactful parts of this program. These mentors are so willing to give you the exact experience each intern wants,” Collin said.

The relationships between mentors and Pathway Interns are especially unique because Nelnet associates believe in the power of mentorship and a network of support and encouragement. “They bring so much to the table as subject matter experts, but more than that they are also just willing to be there as your friend. They bring such a real and human experience to the program that brings out the culture of Nelnet in a really special way,” Collin said.

With an emphasis on Strengths and character-building, real-world work that impacts Nelnet as a whole, and mentors who really care about their interns, the Pathway Program is more than just an exciting professional opportunity – it’s a life-changing personal journey for students.

Interested in becoming a Nelnet Pathway Intern? Applications for the 2021-22 academic year are open now through February 17th. Learn more about interning at Nelnet at NelnetInc.com/Internships.