After being at Whitman for three years, I could easily tell you what the average school year looks like on campus. At the beginning of the year, late summer days cause Ankeny Field to be a huge social hub of activity. First years eagerly eat their Bon Appetit dinner out on the green grass by Jewett as “Let’s go Sweets!” is passionately cheered almost every five minutes by our “Sweets” Frisbee team. The warm weather slowly passes and as the year moves on, the air gets crisper and colder as leaves start to clutter the ground. Eventually, our first snow hits, and Whitman students stop studying on Ankeny Field and move all their workload to the cozy indoors of the Penrose Library. Students make their way through winter through tea time with friends, fun movie nights, and the occasional adventure to the snow in the Whitman Blues. The cold weather eventually lets up as spring blossoms and the warm sun breathes life back into campus. Before you know it, finals week is over and the seniors have graduated and are off on their way. However, despite being at Whitman for three years, I knew very little about what people did over the summer here before I started Whitman Admission Internship. Over the past month, I’ve met several Whitman students doing all sorts of unique and fascinating things here at Whitman this summer.
The most common summer activity that Whitman students tend to do during a Whitman summer is research with professors. The wonderful thing about Whitman is that our professors are ranked the eleventh most accessible professors in the nation by the Princeton Review, so close relationships with students and professors are extremely easy to foster. There’s also no graduate program here at Whitman, meaning all of Whitman’s research opportunities are all taken by our undergraduate students. Thus, students of all ages receive different and unique research opportunities. One example is sophomore physics major Shanti Borling. Shanti is currently doing research with Professor Hoffman this summer on the physics of sound and music. Everyday she works and studies in Whitman’s science building and does research and calculations with the physics professors to expand their research on the physics of sound.
While there’s opportunities for Whitman students to do research on campus, there’s also plenty of research opportunities in Walla Walla as well. Biology major Conor Scanlon is working with a local dentist to do research on calcium releases from popular amalgam, glass ionomer, and standard dental composite. Part of the reason Conor is able to do his research in Walla Walla is thanks to the amazing Whitman Internship Grant. The Whitman Internship Grant is a fantastic grant that makes it very easy for Whitman students to take unpaid internship opportunities. All students who will complete courses in the upcoming fall are welcome to apply for the W.I.G. If you apply and your internship is approved, you get a grant of $2,500 for completing your unpaid internship. This makes a lot of research opportunities in Walla Walla feasible for not only Whitman students but the businesses in town as well!
While there are an abundant of research opportunities for Whitman students over the summer, there are also a lot of other job opportunities here as well. Some students work for Whitman’s Conferences and Events program. Whitman’s Conferences and Events program provide Whitman students with experience in event planning, whether they’re helping set up a small meeting or a large concert. Conference and Events workers at Whitman spend most of their summer hosting and developing events that happen at Whitman. Another department that several Whitman students work for over the summer is our Grounds Crew. Members of the “Grounds Crew” work to keep campus looking beautiful and clean. They clean up the brush after the summer storms and keep our beautiful greenery on campus looking fine. The Grounds Crew act as a great fit for Whitman students who love to get their hands dirty and don’t mind getting a fine farmer’s tan while they work in the sun.