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From farming to food banks and fundraising to web development, Fall Whitman Internship Grant recipients are gaining invaluable career experience in the community. A dozen Whitties earn an hourly wage furnished by the Student Engagement Center (SEC) to work between 50 and 70 hours over the course of the semester at a local business or organization.

Daniel Pailthorp '18, a politics major interning at Walla Walla County Democrats, researches affordable housing in the area and works with city and county officials to find solutions.  

"The most rewarding part of my internship is speaking to community members," he said. "A particular experience was meeting with a City Council member and listening to his perspective on the community that he has been a part of for decades. It was an important reminder of how short of a time, four years, I have been in this community."  

Economics and mathematics major Ricardo Vivanco '18, who is also pursuing a minor in computer science, interns at Walla Walla Web Weavers, a web design company. He values "making connections with members of the Walla Walla community that I otherwise wouldn't" while learning about project management and website maintenance.    

"One experience that I think I will remember after my internship ends is when my supervisor assigned me a project and I solved it in a different way than she had anticipated and [she] expressed her esteem for my approach," he said. "I hope to keep impressing my supervisors and peers in this way."  

Alissa Antilla '20, an English major, enjoys firsthand experience as a newspaper reporter, thanks to her internship at the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin.  

"I am currently working on an article about vineyard workers," she said. "I talked to people who wake up at 3 a.m. to pick grapes and don't stop until 6 p.m., a vineyard manager who organizes winemaking behind the scenes and a professor of viticulture at Walla Walla Community College."  

The Whitman Internship Grant program supports "students who have secured high-impact, unpaid internships that are directly related to their academic and/or career interests," said Assistant Director for Internship Programs Victoria Wolff. "Students are able to test theoretical concepts, apply classroom knowledge, carry out thesis research and hone skills they can apply in their future academic and career endeavors at Whitman and beyond."  

The other recipients include:

  • Miya Frank '18, sociology-environmental studies (Blue Mountain Action Council Food Bank)
  • Madeline Gyongyosi '18, English (The Kids' Place)
  • Sophie Poukish '18, sociology-environmental studies (Blue Mountain Action Council Food Bank)
  • Eric Rannestad '18, economics and art (The Nature Conservancy, working remotely with Portland office)
  • Bari Scott '18, anthropology (Walla Walla Valley Farm to School)
  • Hannah Trettenero '18, economics-environmental studies (Blue Mountain Land Trust)
  • Kaelie Rose '19, sociology (Walla Walla Police Department)
  • Isolda Vogel '19, race and ethnic studies (Studio Articolore)
  • Sierra Spader '21 (America Reads/America Counts at Blue Ridge Elementary School)  

Since 2014, more than 40 students have received Fall Whitman Internship Grants through the SEC, which provides students with professional development and training opportunities.