Ka’Lon Duncanson, an international student in the School of Leadership at The University of Southern Mississippi (USM), has been gaining real-world experience from his summer internship position with manufacturing giant Caterpillar, Inc.
Caterpillar, the world’s leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, off-highway diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines, and diesel-electric locomotives, operates over 500 locations worldwide. Duncanson is interning in the Corporate and Government Affairs Office in Washington, D.C. in the McPherson Square area.
“I grew up seeing CAT equipment on the island in The Bahamas, and CAT dealerships always had a good reputation,” noted Duncanson. “The dive boats I worked on in my teens were all powered by CAT diesel engines, and I was always impressed with the quality and durability of their products.
“When I learned about the internship, I knew it would be another unique and life-changing experience for me. It gave me a glimpse of the corporate world and how business and government relate. My favorite part so far is how much I am learning about lobbying, networking, and Caterpillar.”
Duncanson’s responsibilities at Caterpillar include helping to develop a strategic plan for advocating a bill on Capitol Hill; attending Congressional briefings; researching data; planning meetings; and attending events with policymakers and industry leaders.
Heather Annulis, Director of the School of Leadership and resident of Pass Christian, is not surprised by Duncanson’s success in the business world. “Ka’Lon continues to show impressive potential as a future business leader. He recognizes opportunities and works hard to build workplace skills.”
She continued, “He’s a great representative of Southern Miss, the College of Business and Economic Development, and the School of Leadership.”
Duncanson noted, “My courses at Southern Miss helped me understand the way business is conducted in different environments. But it’s the soft skills I learned through the School of Leadership that made it easier to give an oral presentation, write a detailed report, and communicate effectively. My time at Southern Miss will really change the trajectory of my life – it already has.”
The School of Leadership is housed within the College of Business and Economic Development at The University of Southern Mississippi and operates on the Coastal USM campus in Long Beach, Mississippi. Its undergraduate degree programs include Accounting, Applied Technology, Business Administration, Industrial Engineering Technology, Industrial Engineering Technology (Logistics), Management, and Marketing. Graduate programs include Human Capital Development, Human Capital Development (Instructional Technology and Design), Instructional Technology and Design, and Logistics, Trade and Transportation.