Summer Internship Series: Community Engagement and Service

Alena Lassen ’18

OhioGuidestone, Cleveland, Ohio

My name is Alena Lassen, and I am a senior pursuing a double major in Anthropology/Sociology and Women and Gender Studies. This summer I was given the honor of interning at OhioGuidestone. I was a clinical intern able to learn from social workers and psychologists about research and working with clients struggling with mental illness and substance abuse.

OhioGuidestone is a non-profit based in Cleveland, Ohio that offers a range of services to low-income clients who are struggling with a dual diagnosis of substance abuse and mental illness. Guidestone offers a variety of different programs and services meant to give their clients the support and guidance they require in order to live with mental illness. Through programs such as residential treatment, its charter school called Stepstone, and individual and group therapy, OhioGuidestone is known as an organization that will take on and work with any and all clients even if they have turned away by similar organizations.

I, and my fellow clinical interns, worked closely with both OhioGuidestone’s research department and charter school, as well as with a variety of social workers and psychologists conducting both group and individual therapy. I helped work on an ongoing research initiative examining the extent to which joy promotes resiliency to toxic stress in children, and also helped run a parent group at the Stepstone Academy (Guidestone’s charter school). Additionally, I was able to shadow my supervisor Yami Napoles, as she worked with individual clients, as well as other therapists as they conducted group sessions. Specifically, I was able to regularly attend an IOP group that OhioGuidestone offered. This is a support group designed to help individuals struggling with substance abuse by putting them in contact with other recovering addicts, as well as a trained therapist.

I learned an incredible amount at OhioGuidestone about what it means to engage with a variety of different clients as they are in the midst of incredibly complex struggles. By observing therapists working with both groups and individual clients, I was able to get a sense of the sorts of skills that are important for conducting therapy. Additionally I learned quite a lot about the demands that social workers and psychologists face in terms of confusing, irregular schedules and emotionally challenging jobs. My supervisor, as well as everyone else I have the privilege of working with, gave me incredible advice about ways to organize one’s time in order to be a helpful resource and confidant for future clients. Therefore my experience at OhioGuidestone definitely prepared me for my future career as a social worker.

I am so incredibly grateful for all the opportunities and learning that both Denison and OhioGuidestone offered me this summer through my internship experience. I would especially like to thank my director supervisor, Yami Napoles, as well as Rebecca Bernstein who is in charge of Guidestone’s summer internship experience, Robert Dick who ran the IOP group I shadowed, Brittany Pope from Guidestone’s research department, and everyone at Stepstone Academy for helping to enrichment my internship experience and offering me such incredible learning experiences this summer. Finally, I would like to thank Denison for its excellent advice regarding summer internships, and the donor who made it financially possible for me to consider taking this internship at all, Mr. Wallace Burke, Sherman Fairchild Foundation

Summer Internship Series: Summer in Politics

Chuck Eiben ’19

Republican Party of Cuyahoga County, Cleveland, Ohio

Over the summer I had the opportunity to intern for the Republican Party of Cuyahoga County. I have always been deeply fascinated in politics, even from a young age, and I finally got the opportunity to get a look of it from the inside this summer. My typical day at work was nothing exciting, but I would definitely say that it helped me a lot. My responsibilities included: making phone calls, stuffing envelopes, and helping to organize certain events. The event planning aspect of my internship was by far the most intriguing, as I was able to learn the importance of networking by having the opportunity to meet various high level officials in politics. For example, this summer I had the chance to meet with Vice President Mike Pence, Attorney General Mike DeWine, Secretary of State John Husted, Congressmen Jim Renacci and Jim Jordan among many others. The opportunity to meet high level officials taught me that networking can be a useful too, especially when the time comes for job searching during post graduation. Being a part of these events and having the responsibility to plan them also helped me become much more comfortable in my own skin, which made me much more of a confident person.

Overall, I think that I can honestly say that this was a truly wonderful summer experience. After completing this internship, I think that I have a much clearer vision of what I might want to do with my life after graduation. I can definitely see myself doing something in the realm of politics or public service. In fact, my boss has already invited me back to continue doing work for the party whenever I am not in school.

Summer Internship Series: Shoes and Clothes for Kids

Gena Banta-Long ’18

Shoes and Clothes for Kids, Cleveland, Ohio

My name is Gena and I’m a senior PPE major. This past summer I lived and worked in Cleveland as a Summer on the Cuyahoga intern with Shoes and Clothes for Kids. For the past 50 years, this nonprofit has been dedicated with providing free school uniforms and supplies to kids in need in the Cleveland area. It recently acquired another nonprofit that focuses on school supplies and helping out Cleveland teachers As a strong proponent of education, I was glad to have the opportunity to work with an amazing nonprofit.

Every day of my internship was different. Most days I directed and worked with volunteer groups, collaborated with others to reorganize our space to be more efficient, or participated in the organization’s special projects. I worked with volunteer groups to maximize our output as we had to a quota of uniforms to pack a day. I was able to polish my communication, organization and problem solving skills throughout my eight weeks.

My supervisor Monica was super funny, willing to work with me and helped me to succeed as an intern. I really appreciated her willingness to get to know me, hear me out when I was frustrated and worked with me to resolve the problems. She was a major part in making this internship manageable. I also had an amazing coworker, Kim, whose friendships and understanding really helped me to get through the summer.

After this summer, I realized that I won’t go into nonprofit work until later in my career. I do very greatly appreciate SOTC, especially Jean Koehler, and the Denison alumni network in supporting me throughout the summer.

Summer Internship Series: Commerce in Cleveland

A.J. Koch ’18

US Commercial Service, Cleveland, Ohio

My name is A.J. Koch and I am a junior PPE major from Shaker Heights, Ohio. This summer I was fortunate enough to have the privilege of interning at the US Commercial Service in downtown Cleveland, which is the export promotional arm of the US Department of Commerce.

A typical day in the office consisted of not only the usual intern tasks of making calls, filing and data entry in Salesforce, but real concrete projects that helped trade specialists and clients directly. The Commercial Service is a network of offices in all major cities domestically as well as in 70 different embassies abroad. The goal of the US Commercial Services is to assist small-mid level local American companies in any of their export pursuits. Each company we worked with had different needs meaning that every day was different. Some common projects that I worked on for companies were market research and international marketing plans for a variety of industries in most regions of the world. These projects were very satisfying because the trade specialists would directly present my research to the clients in their meetings. It was great to actually help these small businesses grow their sales, with some of them reaping the benefits by the end of the summer.

Amy Freedman, my supervisor was an excellent source of information, putting together a weekly intern meeting with me and the other intern to go over all the big areas of exporting, compliance, and marketing. Through these sessions, I was able to learn a lot of technical, in depth business skills that my economics and political science classes weren’t able to teach me. I really appreciated her willingness to answer questions. I was extremely grateful of the extra effort that she put in such as letting me tag along on client meetings, and inviting me to networking opportunities with the Cleveland Council on World Affairs.  Sue Whitney, the office director was also extremely helpful. After working on the administrative planning for the Discover Global Markets Conference all summer, she invited me to come help out at the DGM in September. The skills, information and connections that I made this summer were extremely invaluable, and I couldn’t have asked for a better internship experience.