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DSM USA Through the Eyes of a Millennial

DSM USA Through the Eyes of a Millennial

July 23, 2019

For most 20-somethings, the idea of spending a couple years in the Midwest may not sound that exciting. However, my journey over the last three years in Greater Des Moines (DSM) has been nothing short of great. My first interaction with DSM USA was four years ago when I was looking for a college and a place that I would call home away from home for the foreseeable future. Being from Kansas, I found something that was similar and familiar while still being different. 

What Des Moines Has that Other Cities Don’t

What people remember most during a college search is visiting city after city, trying to find a college and a location that will fit the needs of the future college student. During my search, I visited cities ranging in different size from small town Kansas to Nashville, Tennessee. What I continuously found was that the college either over took the city or the city was larger than what I wanted.

When I heard about Drake University, I started to research both the university and Greater Des Moines (DSM), and what I learned was surprising. Consistently, Des Moines was ranked as one of the top cities for young professionals looking to start in their career, while Drake was ranked as one of the top universities in the Midwest. As someone who looks toward the future, both of these rankings made Des Moines seem promising to me.

When I came up for a visit, I was able to see just how much Greater Des Moines (DSM) had to offer. Drake’s campus was a small area located in a fairly large city, enabling students to explore and find different activities that spoke to them. What I’ve learned is that this community offers a variety of activities ranging from ice skating in the winter to music festivals in the summer, not to mention all the free activities at the Des Moines Art CenterDowntown Farmers’ Market and Pappajohn Sculpture Park. The city has continued to grow during my time here. 

Working in Des Moines

Over the last three years I have held a variety of jobs including retail, work study and internships. Each of these jobs assisted me in getting to where I am now and where I will go next. Working in retail allowed me to explore beyond the Drake community and see what the rest of the city has to offer. Working on campus grew my Drake pride because it helped me see how the university affects the surrounding communities along with giving me a desire to improve the way that people see Des Moines. My internships have given me the skills I need for the future and opened my eyes to ways I can get involved in the community.

This summer I am interning in the Marketing and Communications department at Bankers Trust. This is my first summer interning in Des Moines and I have learned so much about what the city has to offer and the pride that each suburb take in its community. As part of my internship, I’m helping Bankers Trust with customer appreciation events it’s hosting at many of its Central Iowa branches. During these events I have learned just how much history there is in this city and how much appreciation people have for the city. One of the attributes that attracted me to Bankers Trust is its history within the Des Moines community. The bank is celebrating its 102 year and a core value of the bank is community.

Seize the City

One program that I have been fortunate enough to have participated in this summer is Seize the City. The program offers interns and college students unparalleled access to executives and companies throughout Greater Des Moines (DSM). Events were held in various locations, allowing students to see how diverse the area truly is. Throughout the summer, speakers focused on topics such as mentorship, interviewing, leadership and future goals. Each executive brought a new a different prospective to the conversation. In addition to all these events, participants also took part in a volunteer opportunity with the Des Moines Art Festival. In the end the program allowed each and every participant to get out of their comfort zones and make new connections. As someone who plans to live in Des Moines after graduation, I know these connections will make all the difference to me as I start my career. 



I am frequently asked why I chose Iowa and what Des Moines has to offer. A single, but important word is always at the heart of my answer: Growth. Not only is the city growing but it also allows for personal and professional growth. I have met a diverse group of people, each with their own story and history. What I have learned is that this city is meant for anyone and everyone. Discover your Des Moines story and see what this city can do for you.

Job opportunities and career resources are abundant in Greater Des Moines (DSM). Whether you're looking to find an internshipa jobdevelop professionally or grow as a student, we have the resources to help you thrive.
Kathryn Gaito

Kathryn Gaito is a rising senior at Drake University where she is studying Public Relations with a Marketing Minor and Leadership Development Concentration. She is spending her summer interning with the Marketing and Communication department at Bankers Trust.