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Our Stories: Summer 2018

Students describe their experiences

Summer 2018 may have meant a break from the classroom for Whitworth undergrads, but many students furthered their learning in amazing ways across the country and the world. Here's a glimpse of how students kept their minds and hearts engaged – whether it was through preparing for careers, conducting research or serving humanity.

Dallas Lovitt '19

Summer experience: Athletic training internship with the Seattle Sounders FC

Major: Athletic training Dallas Lovitt and Brianna Hall sit together wearing Seattle Sounders jerseys at the stadium.

This summer I interned for the Seattle Sounders. For the first couple of weeks I worked with the first team, which is part of Major League Soccer. I assisted with treatments and worked on the field during training sessions. After that I was assigned to work with the Seattle Sounders 2 team, part of the United Soccer League. With S2 I had many of the same responsibilities that I did with the first team. However, since S2 has only one athletic trainer, I was given more responsibility, including assisting the players in some of their rehab sessions. I worked home matches for the first team at CenturyLink Field and for S2 at Cheney Stadium in Tacoma.

A highlight of working with the Sounders was getting to work home matches and watch the games from the sideline. I also enjoyed getting to go behind the scenes of professional soccer.

What has surprised me the most is that the day-to-day operations of the professional athletic training room are fairly similar to the average athletic training room.

My best advice for people wanting to study athletic training is to make sure that it is something you have a passion for. There are a lot of long days and it requires dedication. It is not always a glamorous profession, but if you are passionate about helping others, it can be a very fulfilling profession.

This experience has changed my perspective on professional sports. I plan on going to graduate school next year, and because of the internship I am interested in the professional sports setting.

Photo, left to right: Dallas Lovitt and fellow intern Brianna Hall '18.

Bao Tran '19

Summer experience: Machine learning internship at Adobe

Majors: Computer science and mathematics

Bao Tran stands in front of an Adobe Careers display and smiles.

This summer I interned at Adobe in San Jose, Calif. The summer was filled with many adventures both inside and outside of work. My main job at work was testing machine learning models and implementing prototypes on the Lightroom team. It was a great learning experience since I had the freedom to experiment and also make a product at the end for people to use. There were also many company events that made work even more enjoyable. Outside of work, a group of us interns made it a mission to explore the food, culture and scenery of the Bay Area. Hikes, food markets and road trips filled our weekends. 

What surprised me the most was how genuine the people were and the dynamic of the teams in the company. It was an environment that was easy and fun to adjust to. It was also interesting to see how passionate the employees were about the products they made. For my team, many of the team members were photographers, so it was great to see the drive they had in the product they use daily. Another aspect that really surprised me was the amount of events at the company. It felt like every week was a new adventure, so there was never a dull moment. 

This experience has taught me a lot about the importance of work culture. At Adobe, I felt like the culture and community was a large focus and it kept work really enjoyable for me. I also think this summer has helped me narrow my focus in the world of computer science. With the hands-on experience, I found aspects of the job I liked and didn't like. I had an amazing experience at Adobe, so going forward, I will definitely use this experience to both fine-tune my search for future careers and what work environment I want to thrive in.

Rachel Murray '19

Summer experience: Conducting research at the University of San Francisco's Ricci Institute

Major: History

Rachel Murray crouches behind a box of files in a library and smiles.

This summer I was at the University of San Francisco's Ricci Institute for Chinese-Western Cultural History. I conducted research for my senior thesis on Matteo Ricci, a Jesuit missionary to China, and also worked on creating a promotional video for a new archival collection the institute has acquired. At Whitworth, I am a research assistant for Associate Professor of History Anthony Clark, and his past work with the institute opened this door for me.

I could not have asked for a better archival collection to draw from. I was able to handle a first edition of Ricci's book, translated into Latin by Nicolas Trigault. It's a 400-year-old book, and I was able to read it and take pictures. It was absolutely amazing.

In all honesty, I'm surprised by how much I love this research. I'm constantly learning new things about history as a discipline and what that looks like as an academic career, but also other career directions my degree can take me.

Thinking ahead, I am looking at programs for a master's in museum studies, and ideally will go into museum education afterward. Working for the National Park Service would be really amazing!

Sahale Riedel '19

Summer experience: Research assistantship with the University of Washington School of Environmental & Forest Sciences

Sahale Riedel stands on one side of the Fraser Experimental Forest sign.

Major: Biology

This summer I worked for the University of Washington's Brian Harvey Lab at the Fraser Experimental Forest in Fraser, Colo. I worked for two master's students, including Jenna Morris, a 2017 Whitworth alumna. We looked at many aspects of lodgepole pine forests, which were affected by the 2005 mountain pine beetle outbreak that killed many pine trees in the U.S. Both projects involved identifying tree size and species, as well as mortality cause in order to better predict outbreak patterns and susceptibility in the future.

I was surprised by how much field work depends of the weather and conditions. We had to stop working for lightning, winds and wildfire smoke several times. I expected this to be the case, but didn't realize how much it would affect our work throughout the whole summer.

This experience reaffirmed how much I enjoy field work. I plan on pursuing a career in biology that involves lots of work outdoors. It also helped me get a better picture of what graduate research looks like and the types of projects I could work on during master's and Ph.D. programs. All in all, this experience was a lot of fun and I am excited to pursue a career and possibly higher education in the field of ecology/botany.

Photo, left to right: Sahale Riedel and Jenna Morris '17.

Michelina Cozzetto '21

Summer experience: Volunteering at a refugee camp in Greece

Major: Undeclared

Summer of 2018 brought me to Greece to work in a refugee camp. It was brutally tough and deeply disturbing, yet a flicker inside me drew me back every day. The camp is an intricate system of broken systems with many nonprofits trying to pick up the pieces of the refugee crisis. I volunteered for a nonprofit called EuroRelief. Most of my work included finding places for refugees to live. Each day looked wildly different, and I could be setting up tents or carrying an unconscious woman to the doctor or simply sipping tea with a family. 

This summer taught me that the gravity of the refugee crisis is difficult to comprehend until you are face-to-face with it. The darkness inside the camp felt overpowering at times because of the sheer hopelessness of the situation. In spite of this darkness, there is a fierce, fighting love inside each displaced human there. I learned to cling to that love and find peace in it. No matter how much compassion or determination you hold to change a situation, sometimes the absolute most you can do is look someone in the eyes and show them you care about them. Sometimes, all you can do is let the fierce, fighting love of God inside you grab the hands of the people around you and let them join the journey. Refugees are the toughest people I have ever met. Fight on, my friends.

I realized how powerful language is. A flurry of Arabic and Farsi and Kurdish and French and every other language all blended together became the usual background noise. I quickly learned that while body language is powerful, linguistic language is infinitely more powerful. I want to learn how to teach English well and empower others in that way. Maybe I will even start studying Farsi myself! I will begin taking classes for a TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) minor this fall, and I hope to learn more tools to empower others to speak English. Living abroad while doing humanitarian work as well as teaching English would be a dream. I do not know if God will specifically ask me to go back to Greece to work in this camp, but I would be more than ecstatic if He did. I plan to work with refugees in the future, most likely in Spokane as well as abroad.

Megan Levi ’20

Summer experience: Performing Shakespeare in France

Majors: Theatre and Theology

This summer I had the blessed opportunity to tour with the Oxford Shakespeare Company in France. We performed Shakespeare’s As You Like It in the specific locations that were written about. I was cast as Phebe and was blessed to have roles as director’s assistant and show photographer as well. During my time with the company, I was trained by acting and directing professors from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) in London. I’m so grateful to Whitworth for giving me the confidence and support to go out on this limb after only one year of serious theatrical study.

I was surprised by just how little I knew. It came as a bit of a culture shock to have seasoned international actors extend every kindness to me.

This experience affected me in a few ways. First, I learned that my family is so much more important to me than I realized prior. I couldn’t have done this without them. Second, I plan on carrying with me the wise counsel of RADA professionals to better my performance to better tell truth and spread the gospel.