Taylor Baltes (Management ’20) combined her interest in data with working for a good cause. It started in the late summer when Baltes was searching for an internship for the fall semester. She stumbled upon an opening for data analytics at the Cedar Valley United Way, a nonprofit organization that distributes funds to various community needs.

Baltes has always been interested in nonprofit work, so she applied and was offered the position. And thanks to the UNI Business Scholarship for Social Engagement, Baltes didn’t have to worry much about income — she usually works two jobs during the semester.

“I do appreciate the scholarship because nonprofit internships are very eye-opening experiences for students, and they are valuable,” said Baltes, who transferred to UNI in 2018 after completing an associate’s degree at a local community college. “For a lot of students, money is a stress factor. So, to have that scholarship was really nice.”

Baltes certainly had an eye-opening experience herself. She worked on a semester-long project identifying unemployment patterns to help inform organization decision-makers. Her research specifically focused on past events in the Cedar Valley and how they correlated with unemployment rates and community needs.

Baltes looked back to 2000 and lined up data points with an unemployment graph. For example, after the 2008 recession, there was a large spike in community needs, correlating with high unemployment rates. This research will be shared with United Way decision-makers as they decide where to allocate funds during the pandemic.

“When I first heard about the project, it was a little daunting,” Baltes said. “It heightened the stakes, but my supervisor gave me the confidence that I could do it. I got to see what unemployment rates are and how they affect people in their day-to-day lives. It pulled on the heartstrings.”

Baltes is still wrapping up the project while finishing up her final two semesters. She’s in her senior year and completing a double major in supply chain management and organizational leadership. A transfer student, Baltes decided to stay at UNI one extra year and work on the second major.

“The moment I came to UNI, I was in the business core immediately,” Baltes said about her transfer experience. “I could’ve graduated in two years, but I honestly love it so much that I took a double major. That wasn’t something I was expecting to do.”

Going forward, Baltes said she’d love to work for an employer that values giving back and community needs. Her interests are in management and data analytics.

“This internship opened my eyes,” Baltes said. “Giving back and doing what I can to help the community around me is something I want to implement into my job and career path.”