During the summer, Walla Walla University students are still working to further their experience and skills as they move toward the professional world. One of the ways that students do this is through internships. These internships offer students ways to connect with businesses and gain job experience. Forty-one WWU students are involved with unique projects around the U.S. this summer, bringing their skills and training into service.
Students from various disciplines, including business, communications, and health and PE, are serving at Kettering, Adventist Health, and as camp directors at various summer camps. Others are social media managers or graphic designers for various local businesses. The requirements for each internship vary drastically by degree to fit the skills that each student will need in their discipline.
The WWU Student Development Center (SDC) works to connect students to their internships and helps them with various aspects of the application process. While may students find internships they are passionate about through friends and family connections, the SDC helps students expand their searches in connection with the academic objectives of their major as well as with résumé creation, interview tips and assistance with registration.
Heidi Roberts, SDC coordinator, said regarding her favorite part of helping connect students with internships, “There is a certain joy I have when a student is at this point when they go from the classroom and take what they’ve learned and put it into practice out there and they can go out and do these really cool things.”
Joshua Beaudoin, senior business administration major, has a summer internship with Sorbatto Fresh, a blueberry packing company located in Wapato, Washington, as their warehouse quality control agent. He is responsible for the overall quality in the warehouse, efficiency on the sorting line, and ensuring the berries sent to each customer are of the correct quality. This is determined by a variety of metrics such as softness, scarring, color, and sensitivity.
“I feel privileged to have this job because, while still an internship, I am a manager and I have real responsibility,” Beaudoin said. “It creates a pressure to do well because my actions have consequences. One of my bosses is always asking why we are making decisions the way we are. It's forced me to ensure that I do everything with purpose, and that I can explain and defend my process if questioned.”
Beaudoin added that this isn't the first time he's put his academic learning into practice. “The biggest way WWU has helped me is by providing opportunities for me to gain experience as a leader, and I'm the kind of person who learns best from experience. Because of WWU, I've had the honor of managing a team as President of Enactus, during my two summers at Sorbatto (this is my second internship with them), and now as Editor-in-Chief at The Collegian this coming school year. I would not be where I am without WWU.”
Dustin Schaber, senior business and religion major, is a management intern for Sunset Lake Camp. His responsibilities include providing team training, leading out in staff meetings, management and budgeting, as well as leading out at Sabbath School and morning worships.
Schaber said, “I have ways wanted to be involved in youth ministry within our church, and this internship is further cementing my calling by God. I hope to one day be a camp director and continue making a positive impact on the lives of children for God.
“This year has been a big year for summer camps across the country and around the world. Coming out of the pandemic kids desperately need a positive outlet to connect with friends and have wholesome positive experiences. We are currently in dialog about creating a new specialty camp that would focus on leadership and discipleship."
Schaber added, "This has been a fantastic growth opportunity for me. I can’t thank the year round staff enough for making this internship happen.”
Kade Baham, senior graphic design major, is working with Advoglobal as a graphic design intern. He said, “My favorite aspect of this job is the people I have met. It is a small office of friends. They all collaborate and make incredible work. Each person plays a specific role in the office and just talking with each person, I have learned different ways to look at the world around me and apply it to my design.”
Baham said that previously he was unsure if he wanted to pursue a career in a big company or in an up-and-coming business. "But after interning just five weeks at this place, I knew that a small office is the place for me. From the friendships, to learning something new each day—why would I want to experience anything else? I want to be able to grow with the company I work for, not just be another number.”
The hands-on experience that Baham earned during his internship significanlty shaped his work as a designer through the feedback from expereinced teammembers. “You should always be willing to adapt in the world of design and learn from others around you. And there is no better way of doing that, than working in a team,” said Baham.
These three are just a hint of the unique places that WWU students are finding to share and grow their talents this summer. To learn more about the internship process, visit wallawalla.edu/SDC.
Posted Sept. 17, 2021.