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Internships have senior genuinely excited for post-grad life

Senior Class Coordinator Gretchen Van Lith, '17, is a marketing major collecting professional experience through both campus positions and off-campus internships.

She spent the summer of 2016 as a public relations intern in the Corporate Communications Department at Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories.

"Through my internship at SEL, I experienced a great deal of professional and personal development," Van Lith says. "The most challenging aspect was the wide assortment of tasks I was assigned. However, because of that, my capacity to switch gears between project types quickly and efficiently was strengthened. I am grateful for SEL stretching me in that way. They really cared about making my experience worthwhile."

Her responsibilities included interviewing and photographing SEL interns to share their human-interest stories on social media, and constructing concepts and designing artwork for potential SEL youth T-shirts.

One of her most rewarding projects was helping plan an SEL-sponsored Kid's Science Booth at Pullman's National Lentil Festival.

"Much of my summer was spent designing promotional material, preparing kid's science experiments, and coordinating volunteers for the event," Van Lith says. "Seeing that work come to life as community members participated in our activities, laughing and interacting with one another, was fulfilling. It was a really nice capstone to a great internship."

In addition to providing personal and professional growth, internships have augmented Van Lith's academic experience.

"The opportunity to interact with, and learn from, local businesspeople has been incredibly helpful on a variety of levels," Van Lith says. "My ability to connect course material with real-world application has increased greatly, as have my networking skills and adaptability. Interning at different types of businesses has not only provided me with useful knowledge; it has made me genuinely excited for what post-grad life has in store."

After graduating from Whitworth, Van Lith plans to pursue a career in which she can utilize her love of people, art, design, and business to help companies communicate meaningful messages and improve the communities in which they reside.

Van Lith has advice for students pursuing internships.

"Utilize the resources Whitworth has available," Van Lith says. "Whether you're visiting a Whitworth job and internship fair, participating in mock interviews, or just swinging by the career services office, it's amazing how eager Whitworth faculty and local companies are to help open doors for students who take the initiative."