Sthela Gun Holly Hanitrinirina, Luther College junior, was the Research and Evaluation intern for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's Global Mission unit in Chicago, Illinois. She facilitated conversations on gender justice within the Global Mission unit, which will contribute to the 2019 ELCA Churchwide Assembly.
The daughter of Antoine Andriambonimihanta and Ravaonirina Zafimahery, Hatrinirina was raised in Antsirabe, Madagascar, and graduated from Notre Dame de Rosaise High School.
Through her internship, Hanitrinirina worked for the International Leaders Program within the ELCA to partner with international churches in creating leadership development within communities. This involved collecting data about gender justice work between the ELCA and churches. Principles and practices found within this data will become integral parts of the 2019 ELCA Churchwide Assembly.
Hanitrinirina organized 14 meetings within the International Leaders Program. She also arranged meetings with relationship and financial managers within the Global Mission unit. To prepare for meetings, her team made assessment tools to evaluate the current state of gender justice from conversations held during the research process.
Hanitrinirina also further developed interpersonal intercultural communication skills, in working with people from different cultures, as part of the International Leaders Program. This summer internship gave her international insight for audiences she will be speaking with in her career where she plans to work as a community organizer or women's rights activist.
Navigating conversation was Hanitrinirina's pinnacle point of learning in her summer internship. Engaging people in conversation about gender justice was something she found especially rewarding. "Each conversation we led was like being in a classroom. It was a place to engage and be challenged," she said. She also drew many connections in theory and practice from her Women and Gender studies classes at Luther College, especially in the idea of transforming masculinity, involving boys and men in gender justice discourse.
Approximately 10 percent of Luther students take an internship for academic credit each academic year. The Luther College Career Center assists students with their internship search through resume preparation, networking, online internship searches, career fairs, on-campus interviewing, and connecting the student to alumni through the college's Alumni Internship Program. Students also meet with a faculty adviser prior to the internship to create an internship learning plan that includes learning goals and assessment benchmarks.
An internship work supervisor assists in the process by writing an evaluation of the student at the end of the internship. Students also complete a self-reflection form to help finalize the learning experience.
A national liberal arts college with an enrollment of 2,050, Luther offers an academic curriculum that leads to the Bachelor of Arts degree in more than 60 majors and pre-professional programs. For more information about Luther visit the college's website: http://www.luther.edu.