As our summer comes to a close, we have one final #InterninGP that we wanted to feature. That intern is Julia Zabinski, a Greater Peoria native with an internship at Pekin Insurance. Check out our interview with her below!
A: My name is Julia Zabinski and I am from Morton, which is right outside of Peoria. Morton was a great
town to grow up in, because Peoria was just a 15 minute drive and Chicago is only about 2.5 hours away. There is a special place in my heart for the Midwest (and corn fields), and this was part of the reason I chose to pursue my undergraduate degree at University of Illinois – Urbana Champaign. In the fall, I will be a senior majoring in political science and minoring in global studies and Spanish. I chose University of Illinois, because of the pre-law path and advising that they have for students. After senior year, I will be going directly to law school and would like to practice some type of insurance law.
Q: Tell us about your current position.
A: This is my second summer as an intern at Pekin Insurance. Pekin Insurance has given me the
opportunity to see many different sides of the private insurance world, not only through job shadowing different
careers in insurance, but also through two internships in two different departments. I worked in claims last year, and
now as an personal lines underwriting intern, I am seeing the similarities and differences between the two.
Throughout the day, I make sure that the changes that agents upload to customers’ policies are good to go,
and I also help to change policies so that they are ready for Pekin’s online transformation that they are going
through. On any given week, I am also attending meetings, going to the activities that HR has planned for the
interns, or setting up departmental activities such as our ice cream day!
Q: How does this internship compare to other internships/jobs you’ve held in the past?
A: I have had many different experiences with internships over the years, and there are several reasons
that I wanted to go back to Pekin Insurance again. Part of the reason that I wanted to return was simply
because I enjoyed it so much the first time around. HR is so involved with setting up fun activities for us as well
as activities like learning how to use LinkedIn, or setting up talks about certain areas in the insurance world for
us to learn more about. There are so many opportunities for us to take advantage of. In the past, I have
interned for a member of the US House of Representatives, which really gave me an insight into the political
world. I am also very big on public representation and do a lot of work on campus to promote the right to vote.
The summer after my freshman year, I interned for an administrative board of a primary school in Lima, Peru and I
also taught an English class. It was such an incredibly immersive experience to go and live on my own in
Lima, and I use many of those skills that I learned in South America in my daily life.
Q: What is your opinion of the area?
A: Since I am from the area, I already have a positive opinion of it. There is so much to do from exploring
Laura Bradley or Detweiller Park, to eating lots of food, or going for a concert on the Riverfront. Peoria is filled
with ways to meet new people who have shared interests with you! The Riverfront Farmers market is also one
of my favorite hang out spots in Peoria.
A: I am most excited for what I will learn about Peoria. Every time I come home from Champaign Urbana, I learn
something new about Peoria that I never knew. Sometimes I will go to a new part of the city and think how crazy it is that I’ve lived 20 minutes away and never even knew this shopping complex or cute neighborhood existed. I am also looking forward to discovering more coffee shops and restaurants. Great food and coffee is never ending in Peoria and I want to keep exploring. I am also looking forward to a summer of meeting new people! An internship means networking and meeting so many new faces. I’m very excited to walk away from this summer with some new friends. We even have the opportunity to meet kids from other companies at the mixers, so you never know who you might meet!
Q: What community are you staying in and what are your thoughts on that community/your summer crib?
A: I am staying with my family in Morton. I have always loved Morton and I always will. Morton is a nice little quiet
town, and its nice to be right between Bloomington-Normal and Peoria.
Q: What are your thoughts on the intern mixer series?
A: The intern mixers are an awesome way to put yourself out there and meet some new people! Networking is
such a necessary skill and these mixers give us the opportunity to practice our networking skills. They also give
us the opportunity to explore companies that we have not seen before. There’s a long list of companies
involved so I am sure that there is something for everyone.
A: My favorite restaurant in Peoria is Jim’s Steakhouse. Since I cannot afford to eat as Jim’s as often as I would like to, I also love One World and the trio of restaurants Sugar, Cayenne, and Thyme. My two favorite coffee spots in Peoria are Thirty Thirty and Broken Tree. Thirty Thirty has a miel latte that is to die for, and Broken Tree has the best mochas around! When I have some free time, I love to go hiking and explore different parks around the area especially Detweiller or Farmdale Reservoir.