MC students experience "real world" through summer internships

July 8, 2009
Contact: Penny S. Gibbons, Office of Communications
865.981.8209; penny.gibbons@maryvillecollege.edu

This summer, you can find several Maryville College students in Washington State, Kentucky, Tennessee, Florida, El Salvador, India and the Dominican Republic.

No, they aren't vacationing.

Instead, they are gaining valuable experience and strengthening their résumés by participating in the Summer Lilly Internship Program (SLIP).

Funded by Lilly Endowment Inc., and a component of the College's Initiative on Vocation, Summer Lilly Internships enable Maryville students to obtain first-hand experience in quality professional, nonprofit and corporate work settings. Traditionally, 10 students are selected annually for the internships, which provide students with room and board, as well as a stipend for their summer work.

Now in its seventh year at the College, the program is designed to aid students in discerning their calling and future vocational plans.

"Now more than ever, internship experiences are of great importance to students in determining career possibilities along with aiding in a successful entrance into the workforce," stated Carrie McConkey, the College's director of placement at the Center for Calling & Career.

"Rising sophomores, juniors and seniors are chosen for this competitive program based upon their vision and expectations of how best to explore their career interests and life's calling through an intensive summer experience," she continued.

McConkey pointed out that the program allows students to explore internship possibilities that may not have been otherwise reachable.

"Now part of a ‘Class' of SLIP recipients, students are not only able to explore their own vocational interests, but also have the opportunity to share their thoughts, discoveries, and reflections with one another," she added.

The following students were selected for this year's program:

Kaycee Dortch, a rising senior and biology major, is interning with the Conservancy of Southwest Florida in Naples, Fla., as a conservation associate at their summer day camp. She is assisting with day-to-day camp activities, such as environmental educational interpretation and before-and after-camp care.

Dortch, a 2006 graduate of Ridgeview High School, is the daughter of Mark and Tamela Lewis of Middlesburg, Fla.

Rising junior Arianna Hakiman is serving at two sites this summer. She is a youth services assistant for grades one through four at Fundacion Prosperidad - the Ridvan School in San Salvador, El Salvador. She is also a Bahá'í youth service volunteer for the human resources department of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the Dominican Republic in Santo Domingo.

Hakiman, an international studies major at the College, is the daughter of Sadegh and Susan Hakiman of Murfreesboro, Tenn. She is a 2007 graduate of Blackman High School.

Political science major Cory Howard is working with Partnership for Families, Children and Adults in Chattanooga, Tenn. As a development intern, he assists with fundraising and marketing activities for the organization.

Howard, a 2006 graduate of McMinn County High School and a rising senior at the College, is the son of Lesa Yearwood and Arthur and Nancy Howard, all of Decatur, Tenn.

Carolyn Lyden, a rising senior and writing/communication and English for teacher licensure major,, is working as a broadcast intern at WUOT, an NPR affiliate, in Knoxville, Tenn. Her responsibilities include interviewing, editing sound clips and writing stories for the afternoon newscast.

A 2006 Pigeon Forge High School graduate, Lyden is the daughter of Celi McLendon of Sevierville, Tenn., and Mike Gellhaus of Federal Way, Wash.

Brandon Todd is interning at Williamson Medical Center in Franklin, Tenn. He assists with patient care, determining problems and needs and performs interventions as directed by the operating room nurse.

Todd, a biochemistry major and rising senior at the College, is a 2006 Evangelical Christian School graduate. He is the son of Donald and Sue Todd of Bartlett, Tenn.

Rising junior Pooneh Vafaee is working as a global impact fellow volunteer for Unite for Sight. Prior to participating abroad, she was trained in global problem solving in Newtown, Conn. She is now working with local optometrists and ophthalmologists at Kalinga Eye Hospital in India, providing eye care for patients living in extreme poverty.

Vafaee, a 2007 Franklin High School graduate, is the daughter of Davar and Farahnaz Vafaee of Franklin, Tenn. She is majoring in biochemistry at the College.

The University of Memphis (Tenn.) is the internship site for rising senior Lauren Walton. As a resident counselor for an international studies program, she serves approximately 10 students, addressing academic and social issues.

Majoring in political science at the College, the 2006 Powell High School graduate is the daughter of Stan and Cristie Walton of Powell, Tenn.

The Borgen Project, a nonprofit based in Seattle, Wash., is the intern site for rising senior Matt Warner. As a marketing and social networking intern, he is responsible for promoting the organization by building support through social networking sites, such as Twitter, Facebook and MySpace. He also assists with event planning and fundraising.

Warner, a 2006 Decatur High School graduate and the son of Michael and Mary Jane Warner of Decatur, Ala., is majoring in political science and sociology at the College.

Jessica White is interning in the office of the governor for the Commonwealth of Kentucky in Frankfort, Ky. She assists the executive assistant to the governor in the day-to-day operations of the office and develops new programs and initiatives.

The 2006 graduate of William Blount High School is the daughter of Lisa Muller of Maryville, Tenn., and Doug White of Auburn, Ala. She is a rising senior and history major at the College.