Students Gain Workplace Experience Through Summer Internships

September 03, 2021 | Education | Kiersten Ekkens

One source of experience that Walla Walla University students turn to to obtain skills needed for real-world workplace environments is summer internships. More than 40 WWU students participated in unique internship opportunities placed around the country.

Students from various disciplines of study, including business, communications and health and physical education, gained experience through internships at Kettering Health, Adventist Health and various summer camps. Some opportunities led students to work in social media management or graphic design roles for businesses of various sizes. While requirements for each internship can vary significantly, WWU’s Student Development Center (SDC) helps guide students to find internships that balance student passions as well as their academic and professional goals or objectives.

Heidi Roberts, SDC coordinator affirms that helping connect students with internships is a favorite task in working for WWU. “It’s really neat for me to hear about the things that students are doing out there and there is a certain joy I have when a student takes what they’ve learned in the classroom and puts it into practice.”

Joshua Beaudoin, a senior business administration student, had a summer internship working in warehouse quality control with Sorbatto Fresh, a blueberry packing company in Wapato, Washington. One of his responsibilites was to look for efficiency on the sorting line to ensure customers receive the best berries possible.

During his time at the company, Beaudoin found the high level of responsibility as the most important source of learning. “I feel privileged to have had the job because, while it was just an internship, I was a manager and had real responsibilities,” Beaudoin said. “There was pressure to do well because my actions had consequences. One of my supervisors was always asking why we were making decisions the way we did and it forced me to make sure that I did everything with purpose.”

Internships through WWU’s SDC have also guided students toward successfully figuring out the type of working environments they aspire to work in. Kade Baham, a senior graphic design student at WWU, worked at Advoglobal, a marketing agency located in Walla Walla, Washington. “I wasn’t really sure if I wanted to pursue a job at a big company or work for an up and coming one,” said Baham. “But after the fifth week of the internship, I knew that a small office was the place for me. From the close-knit friendships that are built, to learning something new each day, why would I want to experience anything else? I want to be able to grow with the company I work for and not just be another number.”

Beaudoin acknowledges there is still great knowledge that can be picked up from traditional classroom environments. “The biggest way WWU has helped me is by providing this opportunity for me to gain experience as a leader. I've had the honor of managing a team as president of Enactus at WWU, and now as editor-in-chief at The Collegian (WWU’s student newspaper). I would not be the person I am today without WWU.”

To learn more about the internship opportunities available to students at WWU, you can visit wallawalla.edu/SDC.