Various funds from donors to the College support students engaging in internships related to peace and justice, service, and vocational exploration. More information...
Student: Robyn Buchholz ’11
Majors: Social Work and Family Studies
Program: Anoka County Government Center: Social Services, Child Protection
Project: Family Assessment Intern
My role as a family assessment intern included conducting interviews with families that had reports of physical abuse or neglect in regard to the children in the home. I then assessed the level of safety in the home and the likelihood of whether or not maltreatment was likely to occur in the future. During this process, I worked with families to help secure beneficial and appropriate resources that were useful for the families involved. I then compiled documentation including case notes and closing summary reports to present to the supervisor who ultimately gave approval for closing or opening the case.
I believe that my most meaningful contribution included reminding my coworkers of the respect and understanding that each client needs and deserves. There was one home visit where a mother was being completely left out of the conversation because of the limitations of her developmental disability. I thought it was important to acknowledge her presence and attempt to include her in the conversation even if we did not have success in fully including her in the dialogue. By speaking of my clients in a positive manner and including them in the change process, I gave them the opportunity to voice their opinion and improve their situation at home.
During my time at Anoka County’s Child Protection division, I was given the opportunity to expand my knowledge of family dynamics and dialogue. I learned to see strengths in my clients even when they did not understand them on their own, and this gave me the opportunity to help clients find empowerment. I faced challenges that tested my ability to stay strong and motivated when a situation seemed at its worst. This experience helped to build character; and as I go forth into future social service work, I know that I will be prepared to handle difficult situations.
Student: Joe Paillé ’11
Majors: Economics and History
Program: Lutheran Coalition for Public Policy in Minnesota
I spent the summer at Lutheran Coalition for Public Policy in Minnesota (LCPPM), a public policy organization based out of St. Paul. LCPPM uses ELCA social statements as a starting point to get Lutherans involved in public policy advocacy. Most of the work is focused on hunger, poverty, and environmental sustainability. I spent a lot of time updating materials for LCPPM's Hunger 101 program, a poverty simulation they take around the state. I also acted as LCPPM's representative at a lot of non-profit meetings and did some work with A Minnesota Without Poverty on a congregational microlending program.
My time at LCPPM really made me think more about the importance of human resources in an organization. I came into the internship expecting to do a lot of heavy theological and political thinking, but I actually ended up getting pretty interested in management. It was not something that I'd listed or even thought about in my learning goals, but something important I'm taking away.
Student: Sokun Bobson ’11
Majors: Asian Studies & Social Work
Program: Access to Justice Asia
Project: AJA Summer Project,”JAM” (Justice, Arts, Memory) Intern
We worked with the Khmer-Krom community in Pursat and Takeo provinces in Cambodia. Through photography, interviews and interactions, we wanted to document oral histories and tell the stories of the community. We learned about how the Khmer Rouge Tribunals have impacted this particular community through the legal process.
Being able to go into the Khmer-Krom communities in both provinces was an experience that I can never forget. I was able to use my educational background in Social Work to work with this community. I was able to connect with individuals and families through my cultural ties to Cambodia. This helped build a bridge between the Khmer-Krom community and myself.
This experience helped me understand and experience what it is like to do international work. It has taught me the difficulties and challenges that non-profits and NGO’s face in Cambodia as well as the international community. It has also shown me how I can use my skills and background in Social Work to do work in Cambodia.
Student: Mara Fink ’11
Majors: Sociology/Anthropology, Political Science
Program: Oregon Nikkei Endowment
Project: Museum Intern - I helped to develop programming for an upcoming exhibit and helped to organize two large community events
Oregon Nikkei Endowment works to preserve the history of the Japanese American community in Portland. As an intern there I helped to bring the community in through programming for an upcoming exhibit on being half-Asian called "100% Hapa." I also helped to organize a large event for hundreds of people that helped to recognize the 20th anniversary of a memorial plaza for Japanese Americans and a fundraising banquet for the organization.
I think that my greatest contribution was in creating programming for the "100% Hapa" exhibit. Through this project I was able to be creative and to establish connections with other organizations who will be interested in working with the Oregon Nikkei Endowment in the future. By helping to create interesting programming, it will also bring more of the community in for events and raise awareness about the Japanese American experience.
This experience has made me very proud of my culture and of the bravery of my Grandma and the rest of her generation who were incarcerated in internment camps. It has given me the chance to learn more about this egregious violation of rights and therefore will help me with the educational program I'm implementing this winter through an entrepreneurial grant.
Student: Philip Lomneth ’12
Majors: Religion & ARMS
Program: Friendship Place
Project: Resource Assistant, Community Council for the Homeless
At Friendship Place, I focused on creating a comprehensive employment database for the organization. I researched around 140 different groups in D.C. and tried to collect as much information as I could about what they offered, how their programs worked, and any requirements/restrictions that might bar some of our clients from entering the program. In addition, I helped reach out to people on to the streets, providing them with toiletries, water, and food and encouraging them to access some of our services.
Through my work, I created one of the most comprehensive, up-to-date, and practical employment resource guides in D.C. Though I know my project still needs much refinement, after researching many similar resource guides in D.C., I do not feel I exaggerate when I say that mine is one of the best (largely because there were so few up-to-date, comprehensive guides). Additionally, through outreach, I helped contact a variety of people who may have otherwise been passed up by the coordinator because of the hard to reach places they were.
The internship encouraged me to see the messiness behind situations; that splitting an issue into sharp dichotomies fails to recognize the many facets and complications with any social problem. I realized that simplifying problems may help a person gain a basic understanding of a problem, but with this understanding, one is more likely to make faulty decisions that harm people one tries to help. In future work, I would like to help better educate people about the complexities in any situation in order to more fully expose the truth behind social problems.