Whitman Internship Stories – Jackie Bonilla ’16

photo 1From the very beginning of spring semester I was already getting the dreaded question, “What are your summer plans?” Some already knew exactly how they were spending their summer. I felt so behind, and it was barely January.

Initially, I had applied to a summer congressional program. However, as I waited to hear back from this program I decided to create a plan B just in case. I contacted a law firm and I talked to an immigration lawyer who was more than happy to share his journey on becoming a lawyer as well as his latest victory in the court. After a two hour informational interview, he said he would talk to his boss about possibly interning with them and get back to me. I emailed him my resume and waited. I was so excited but little did I know I would need a plan C.

With the last days of March just around the corner, I was so concerned because I knew if I came back home without an internship, I would struggle to find a job. Time went on and the only thing I had set was my participation in the US/Mexico Border Studies Program, which was only two weeks of my summer.

I walked into the Student Engagement Center (SEC) and shared how all my initial plans had fallen through and I had absolutely no idea how I was going spend my summer productively. Given my marketing experience as one of the SEC executive office assistants they recommended a marketing internship in Milton-Freewater, Oregon with the Milton-Freewater Downtown Alliance (MFDA). I hadn’t even considered anything outside of law/policy as an option because I’ve been dead set on becoming an immigration lawyer since the 7th grade. But I’ve spent quite some time dabbling with design and communications so I thought why not?

I went on iEngage to check out the position and it sounded interesting, but I wasn’t really sure what it entailed. I cleaned up my resume and emailed it to Randy Grant. He emailed me back and asked to see some of my work and we set up an informal interview for the end of the week. After meeting Randy, I learned that MFDA has taken on a larger mission than it gives itself credit for. Their website gives the sense that MFDA’s goal is business orientated, which in part is true, but it’s not the overall goal. After my interview I realized that it was more than just creating a few fliers and posting Facebook statuses.

However, after my interview I still didn’t really know what I was going to be doing because marketing can be done in various ways. But the general theme was community building through marketing which caught my attention. After learning MFDA’s real mission is to improve the overall quality of life of its community members, working with people like Randy, who are so invested in bettering their community, as well as working remotely from campus when needed, I was sold.

July 23 collage

July 23 collage: Day 1 of Gathering Place construction.

Once I got back from my US/Mexico Border Trip, I hit the ground, FAST. For those who know me through Facebook, know I was terrified when I came to the cruel realization I might not be qualified to do any of it. It just seemed so difficult, I juggled various tasks at a time from grant writing, looking for donations, creating bilingual brochures, bilingual online forms, tracking volunteer activity, networking with important community leaders, video editing and photo documentation.

I spent my summer working specifically on the Pomegranate Project; a project to kick off MFDA’s revitalization of Milton-Freewater. MFDA was founded back in 2012, and all of its work is volunteer-based, with 1 paid full-time staff member. The Pomegranate Project was our first biggest community project. Along with the help of other organizations like the Pomegranate Center, Sherwood Trust, Milton-Freewater Unified School District, Blue Mountain Action Council and others we were able to build a Community Gathering Place from scratch in the McLoughlin High (Mac-Hi) School parking lot. Which is essentially a small park within the span of four days.

Pome Brochure

Promotional material I created to recruit volunteers.


Of course a lot of the planning was done ahead of time, but most of the work was done in the spring and summer. We had community meetings, art workshops, leadership trainings, you name it. I quickly caught myself becoming a part of the community; Milton-Freewater accepted me with open arms and allowed me to participate in such a memorable journey.

After two months, my internship came to an end, and it was so astonishing to see the immediate result of all my work. The various late nights, edits, technical difficulties and working with more than 428 volunteers within four days, the space was finally completed (click here for the video to “the space was finally completed”).

It was inspiring to see many different generations of Milton-Freewater come together and take ownership of their community. Needless to say, it was an amazing experience, I learned so much but most importantly I realized it’s okay if things don’t go as planned because in the end, things work out, one way or another, the important thing is not to give up.


SEC September ’15 Newsletter

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September ’15 Newsletter
Distributed via iEngage

The school year is just getting under way, and the SEC is hard at work facilitating career development and community service opportunities for our students.

This newsletter is archived on the SEC blog.

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Welcome Back!

 – Want to start off the school year right? Our Career Counseling page is a great place to begin.
– It’s not too early to start looking towards the future. Our Whitman Connect alumni database contains over 16,000 alumni world-wide that are eager to help out fellow Whitties on their professional journeys. Take a look!
– W’e’ve had an unprecedented number of jobs filled through iEngage this semester! Keep your eyes peeled for new opportunities in the near future!

Upcoming Events

Friday, Sept 25, 4 – 5pm ~ Whitties Helping Whitties Career Panels, (see below)
Tuesday, Sept 29, 12 – 1pm ~ Paul DiRado ’06 Career Advising, Reid G02
Thursday, Oct. 15, 11am – 3pm ~ Graduate School Fair & Panels, Reid Campus Center
Friday, Oct. 16, 12 – 1pm ~ Peace Corps Information Session, Reid G02
Thursday, Oct. 22, 6:30 – 8pm ~ Women in Leadership Panel, Maxey Hall

New Virtual Resume Workshop Video

A resume is a snapshot of your professional experiences and skills. Your
resume will evolve over time as you change or focus your career goals — which means if you can’t remember when you last updated it, it’s probably time to rework your resume! 

We in the Student Engagement Center are here to help! We just unveiled a brand new virtual resume writing workshop, which can be found here, full of the latest tips and tricks from our team of experts. Check it out and let us know what you think, and then schedule an appointment
to review your resume with us. 

For additional resources about creating a fantastic resume, check out the Resume & Cover Letter page on the SEC website.

Graduate School Fair

Save the date! The Whitman College Graduate School Fair is on Thursday, October 15th from 12 – 3pm. 

If you don’t have class from 11am – 12pm, come and talk with the experts on graduate school admission. Meet with panelists  from a variety of graduate schools and take the opportunity to ask those questions you need answers to. We are offering 4 Graduate School Panels this year:

Business Panel – Reid 110
Education Panel – Reid 207
Law School Panel – Reid 240
Pre – Med Panel - Hunter 205

Whitties Helping Whitties Career Panels

How does a Whitman math major become the CEO of “the most innovative company in Healthcare” and an innovator recognized by former President Bill Clinton? What does the path look like to go from Whitman biology major to the Director of Strategy, Planning and Management at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation?What career opportunities are available for a foreign studies major interested in the healthcare industry?

This week, you will have the opportunity to meet alumni from four career fields that are working in a variety of positions and organizations in their area of expertise.

Each panel discussions will be followed by a short reception.  We’ve crafted these events to help you get answers to the questions you have about your professional futures. Join the discussion, hear their trajectories, ask your questions and meet the alumni that are doing the work you’d like to be doing someday.

Health Care & Research Panel – Brattain Auditorium, Hall of Science
Education & Counseling Panel – Olin Hall rm 157
Marketing, Communications & Technology Panel – Olin Hall rm 221
Social Justice & Careers for the Common Good Panel – Olin Hall rm. 245

Welcome, 2015 – 2016 America Reads / Counts Interns!

The America Reads/Counts program offers federally-funded work-study internships to Whitman students who are interested in the field of education. The internship is a practical experience in local classrooms where Whitman students provide literacy and math support to K-12 students. Many non-work study students are also interested in this year-long, well-supported internship and the local need for classroom support is greater than the College’s work-study allocation. The SEC partnered with Whitman’s Development office, and a local grant was secured to pay the wages of non-work study students who also desire to work with some of our community’s students, who may be struggling. Eight new hires, funded by the Stubblefield grant, boost our 2015-2016 intern cohort to 29 Whitman students who work 6-8 hours in K-8 classrooms throughout the district.

ARAC interns fill in the gaps working directly with students where a certified teacher, para-educator, or parent volunteer is unavailable. The Whitman ARAC internship offers valuable educational support to students who need more time and more encouragement to master common core grade level expectations.

To learn more and find out about more programs and events in the SEC:
Follow us on Facebook   
Check out the SEC Calendar & the SEC Blog!   

You are receiving this newsletter because you are marked as a current student interested in receiving Newsletters in iEngage. To change your status or preferences, go to your profile in iEngage. If you have feedback for us in the SEC please email sec_info@whitman.edu

Student Engagement Center   |   sec_info@whitman.edu   |   509-527-5183   |   Reid 219

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Whitman Internship Stories – Saba Zewdie ’18

IMG_0717This summer I’ve discovered that, despite their messiness, there’s nothing like a room full of kittens to get you out of bed and off to work in the morning.

For the past few months I was lucky enough to intern during kitten season at The Pixie Project, an amazing nonprofit no-kill shelter in Portland. All of the services they provide center around their goals of “working tirelessly to connect pet owners with the resources they need to keep their pets with them” and “finding life-long matches between pet and adopter.” This first mission is accomplished through the Scott Wainner Pixie Care Clinic in the shelter which provides spay/neuter clinics to low income and homeless pet owners. They also provide veterinary care ranging from wound care to blood work for those who can’t afford treatment at other clinics. As for their adoption philosophy, I was blown away by Pixie’s dedication to their animals. Through the hard work of both the staff and the many volunteers that come in, these animals are given everything they need to find a loving family. Since the beginning of the summer I’ve seen countless dogs come in scared, dirty and sick from local shelters and owner surrenders and, after many baths, treats and love, you would have never known they were part of the shelter system.

IMG_0466 (1)During my internship I worked a variety of jobs in and out of the shelter. At the beginning of the summer I focused mainly on getting to know the ins and outs of the organization, and was trained in how to handle and socialize the many frightened cats and dogs. From there, I started to work with the trainers that come in to evaluated and work with all the new dogs that come into the shelter. I was able to first observe dogs on my own, and then collaborate with the trainers to begin to work with the animals. I learned how to recognize and address aggressive or frightened behavior, what triggers to look out for in shelter animals, and much more. The information we gathered was then used in finding in each dog a home, as The Pixie Project focuses on finding animals homes in which they can be successful.

IMG_0527 I also had the opportunity to assist Sydney, the amazing technician who runs the veterinary clinic, in her work with both Pixie animals and ones from the community. My duties ranged from assisting with kitten neuters, to administering fluids and medications, to surgery prep and more. Not only did Sydney have a great sense of humor and an endless supply of hilarious veterinary stories, but she also taught me so much about the realities of the veterinary field and answered any and all of my many medical questions.

Finally, my last project for the summer was to work with the auction procurement team for The Pixie Project’s largest fundraiser of the year. Armed with letters, pamphlets and business cards I contacted local businesses all over Portland for donations. There was definitely a learning curve, and as I’ve always been afraid of asking for favors it was an intimidating experience at first. However, to my surprise the community was much more receptive than I anticipated, especially due to the fact that Pixie is so well known in the area. It pushed my comfort zone, but now looking back at the end of the summer I’m so happy I was able to represent the organization and make connections to local businesses. It really opened my eyes to how important it is for a successful nonprofit to have a strong, positive relationship with the community.

IMG_0673I came into this internship hoping to learn more about nonprofits and their relationship to animals and the community, and I came away with so much more than that. I learned that helping people and animals go hand in hand, which I experienced countless times when I saw the gratitude on people’s faces when we treated their pets. I learned that no matter who you are or where you come from, everyone loves little, fuzzy kittens. I saw this every day when every kind of community member; young, elderly, homeless or disabled would sit in the kitten room with their faces lit up. Finally, I learned that no matter how horribly mistreated these animals have been, they always still have an amazing capacity for forgiveness. So, next time you are looking for a pet, please don’t forget to look at your local shelters because there are so many great animals out there looking for homes.


Whitman Internship Stories – Samuel Carrillo ’17

KIMG0015This summer I had the opportunity to intern with Media Arts Center San Diego also known as the Digital Gym. The Digital Gym is a non-profit organization that centers on film. The Digital Gym is an independent cinema as well as a place for local filmmakers to come and use the various resources that the center offers. Some of these resources include, equipment rentals, space rentals, and access to a film editing media lab.

The center also has an education department that provides film boot camps and workshops for children and teens. The idea is to provide exposure and resources for kids in the neighborhood to be able to express themselves through this creative and artistic outlet.  All in all, I have really enjoyed shadowing the various leaders at the Media Arts Center and my experience there has allowed me to consider new opportunities to work with film in a life after Whitman College.

At the Gym I mostly worked on the festival planning team for next year’s San Diego Latino Film Festival.  This included reaching out to filmmakers, directors, and producers in the United States as well as internationally focusing on Latin America and Spain. I had the opportunity to review films across a variety of genres that were submitted for next year’s film fest. This was probably the most interesting task I had to work on during my internship.

KIMG0014I really appreciate how the center merges artistic expression, the preservation of film as a relevant art form, and social justice to some extent. I say that because I now believe that the exhibition of films highlighting marginalized voices is a radical gesture. Especially in American mainstream media where the majority of narratives are centered on white cisgendered, hetero-normative individuals. I found my experience at the Digital Gym very healing and in some ways inspiring. Often I find myself conflicted when thinking about the type of environment that I would like to contribute my time to after college. Despite having a deep interest in cinema,  I am deeply committed to my work in social justice and radical activism. During my time at the Media Arts Center San Diego I realized that it isn’t necessary to sacrifice either of my interests but instead work on ways to merge my interests through my work in film.


Whitman Internship Stories – Galen Voorhees ’17

IMG_6890I showed up for the first day of my internship with the Special Programming department of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, in an evening gown. The day before, as I was frantically packing and preparing to leave for my summer interning in Washington D.C., I had received an email from my supervisor asking if I would be interested in helping out that weekend at one of the Kennedy Center’s black tie events, the Opera Ball.

An annual fundraiser for the Washington National Opera, this gala takes place every year hosted at a different embassy in D.C. This year, in a nod to the Washington National Opera’s upcoming production of Wagner’s The Ring Cycle, it was hosted at the German Ambassadors residence.

Not one to turn down the opportunity to go to a ball- I emailed my supervisor that I would be delighted to help out, tossed my prom dress from two years ago in my suitcase and was on my merry way. Which explains, how I found myself the following afternoon, at the German Ambassadors residence dressed to the nines at my first day of work never having set foot in the Kennedy Center itself. The night passed in a blur of meeting new colleagues, escorting performing artists through the embassy from their dressing rooms to the stage, and practicing my German joking around with the Ambassador’s security detail.

For me, that evening highlighted the extraordinary ability of the arts to bring people together. Supporters of the Opera on a local, national, and international level were there including Chief Justice John Roberts, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (sans her signature glasses), Senators, Ambassadors, performers, and arts administrators.

Coming off a first experience like that, one might think that the next 10 weeks would pale in comparison. However, when I showed up for my first real day of work that next Monday, I was quick to find out that life as a Kennedy Center intern, especially with the Special Programming Department, was never boring.

First, a little background. As the National Center for the performing Arts, The Kennedy Center’s mission involves presenting and producing both national and international works of theater, dance, and music, while supporting artists in the creation of new work and contributing to arts education, in addition to serving as the living memorial to President John F. Kennedy. Currently in its 44th season, the Kennedy Center hosts more than 2,000 performances each year including festivals, awards shows, musicals, plays, and comedy shows in addition to being the home to the National Symphony Orchestra, the Washington National Opera, and the Suzanne Farrell Ballet company. The Special Programming department specifically works to produce Kennedy Center Special Events including galas and fundraising events, honors and awards such as the Kennedy Center Honors and the Mark Twain Prize, and specific music and comedy concert presentations.

The Special Programming department itself is a small team of three people, though in my position as intern, it means I get a lot of responsibility and variety in the projects I get to work on, and also the opportunity to collaborate with different departments all across the Kennedy Center. From brainstorming and presenting themes and performers for the Spring Gala, to researching artists for upcoming shows, to cataloging tapes of previous performances for the Library of Congress, each day brought new challenges and fresh ideas.

IMG_7295My favorite aspect of my internship has to be the days on site for shows. The summer is usually the slow season for my department, however this summer, with the introduction of the new Comedy at the Kennedy Center series, Special Programming has hosted shows with performances from Jay Leno, to Kathy Griffin, and Whoopi Goldberg. Getting to be involved with everything that goes into putting on these shows, including going over performers hospitality riders (requests for the comfort of the artist ranging from normal to sometimes quite bizarre), drawing up backstage access lists and production schedules, and running around backstage on the day of making sure everything goes smoothly.

The most unusual undertaking of my internship has to be my stint as a seamstress during the Whoopi Goldberg show. 30 minutes before the performance, she got a tear up the seam of the leggings she intended to wear underneath her trademark white button down. I offered to fix them for her and spent the next 20 minutes hunting down a needle and thread, furiously stitching them up in the production room while reminding myself to thank my mom later for making me take sewing lessons as a kid. I finished with a flourish with 10 minutes to spare and upon presenting the finished product to Whoopi, she called me her hero.

From my first day on the job at the Opera Ball to my last day working on our biggest concert of the summer with Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett’s Cheek to Cheek tour, the biggest takeaway I have from this internship is to say yes to every opportunity that comes your way, and to treat each experience as a learning opportunity, you never know who you’ll meet, or if you could end up as someone’s hero-if only for a day.