By Katheryn Rice, Nodaway News Leader
November 20, 2014
Jessi Althajmer of Solingen, Germany, wanted an internship with a US manufacturer to improve her grasp of technical English.
She had planned to work in Chicago, but a friend of her father, Theri Paraskevas, GM of EJP, recommended Nucor LMP Steel, Inc., Maryville, for the internship. EJP has sold machinery to Nucor, so Paraskevas was familiar with Maryville. The size and safety of the town appealed to the Althajmers, so he contacted Kevin Van de Ven, Nucor LMP general manager, who approved giving Althajmer the contact information.
Althajmer began her job at the Maryville plant on September 30. She will be in Maryville for 10 months. She started with basic safety training, learning Nucor standards and the different divisions in the whole plant. She has now been assigned to different projects for the plant, including customer comments where she compares specs, internal auditing and the development of a new project management system.
This is Althajmer’s second time to live in the United States. At 16, she was a foreign exchange student in Arizona. Her first experience was a total immersion in English, as she was limited to speaking German in calls with her parents. This time, thanks to Skype and the internet, she can converse in German with family and friends. She has met two German tennis players at Northwest Missouri State University.
She started taking English in fifth grade, but has found that being in the US has improved her fluency. After completing high school, she completed a three-year industrial clerk apprenticeship. During this, she worked three days a week and was in school two days. This prepared her to see how the business worked and to be an all-around facility worker.
“I love it,” Althajmer says about living in Maryville and staying with Sue Bostwick. “Overall, the people, town and work are way better than I expected.”
Her hometown is about the size of St. Joseph. She is finding Maryville friendlier and easier to get to know.
So far her experiences in Maryville have included a Northwest Bearcat Football game and tailgating experience, eating at Simply Siam, A & G Restaurant and Carson’s which she thinks of as a typical American experience. She’s signed up at the Maryville Community Center to exercise. She’s been to the Palms and Burny’s; went to Burny’s in costume for Halloween. She claims both bars are different from German bars.
Althajmer has traveled to Omaha for a wedding, Kansas City for a Chiefs football game, Weston for the shops and hiking, St. Joseph to eat at Texas Roadhouse, where she was amazed at throwing the peanut shells on the floor. For Thanksgiving, Althajmer will be meeting some German friends, who reside in Michigan, in New York City for the holiday.
Althajmer’s plans for her internship are to improve her English, travel and see as much of the country as possible and talk her parents into coming over to pick her up and let her show them some of the US.
Upon her return to Germany, Althajmer plans to work at her father’s company, Schmitz Apparate und Maschinenbau, in Solingen. She will use her grasp of technical English at trade fairs to explain aspects of the machinery that the company sells. Nucor-LMP also uses machines similar to those, so her father is interested in how they’re used and what customers think.
Jessi Althajmer of Solingen, Germany, has started a 10-month internship with Nucor-LMP, Maryville.