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New scholarship program supports summer internships

By Kyle Schut '13
July 25, 2012

Benjamin Olsen '13 is interning at Shelter Architecture this summer, where he's gaining hands-on design experience.

So far this summer, Benjamin Olsen '13 has taken measurements for a new home on Lake Superior, brainstormed with professional architects on an idea for a design competition, and written two proposals for new buildings at South Dakota State University. And it's only July.

Olsen is interning with Shelter Architecture, a Twin Cities-based firm founded by Kurt Gough '88, where he's gaining valuable hands-on experience to support the architecture and design major he created through St. Olaf College's Center for Integrative Studies.

He's one of 13 St. Olaf students who are pursuing a summer internship with the support of the college's Johnson Internship Scholarship Program, a new program in the Harry C. Piper Center for Vocation and Career. The scholarship program is supported by St. Olaf Regent B. Kristine Olson Johnson '73 and her family through their family foundation and provides need-based scholarships of up to $2,000 to students who are pursuing career-enhancing internships. 

Ariel Carlson '13 says she would have had to reconsider her unpaid internship at the Minnesota Zoo had it not been for the support of a Johnson Scholarship.

"We believe that interesting and challenging work experiences are a very important part of student learning. The right internship can inform academic and career decisions and make classroom learning more relevant," Johnson says. "These scholarships are intended to help make such opportunities more widely available to students who have limited financial flexibility." 

This year's recipients are pursuing a wide range of interests, from an internship in the nurse anesthesia program at a hospital in North Carolina to an arts management internship with the Mill City Summer Opera in Minneapolis.

Ariel Carlson '13, a biology major and officer of the St. Olaf Pre-Vet Club, is using an internship at the Minnesota Zoo to further explore what area of veterinary medicine she’d like to go into. She's tasked with writing behavioral reports on the zoo's animals, which the staff veterinarians then use when providing care.

"Not only am I receiving unparalleled experiences with exotic species, which already assists my veterinary school application, but I am learning just how closely this particular internship goes hand-in-hand with the jobs of zoological veterinarians at the Minnesota Zoo," Carlson says.

Lucy Casale '13 is using an internship at Marie Claire magazine to narrow down her interests in the field of journalism.

And, since her internship at the zoo is unpaid, Carlson said the support she's receiving through the Johnson Internship Scholarship Program has been especially important. "I definitely would have had to reconsider the Minnesota Zoo internship if I didn't have the aid of a Johnson Scholarship," she says.

Lucy Casale '13 also relied on the scholarship to help cover her expenses in New York this summer, where she's interning at Marie Claire magazine. Casale plans to pursue a career as a reporter for either a print publication or broadcast television station, and she says working at a major fashion magazine is "a once-in-a-lifetime chance to learn about the magazine industry."

Her responsibilities at Marie Claire include transcribing interviews, researching beauty and health-related topics, and corresponding with publicists for articles. Casale, who is majoring in English with concentrations in media studies and women's studies, is working to narrow down her interests in the field of journalism.

"This magazine internship at Marie Claire is one more piece to the puzzle," says Casale.

Contact Kari VanDerVeen at 507-786-3970 or