Physics major Caleb Anderson ’17 spent January 2016 interning at Asylum Research in Santa Barbara, Calif. He learned how the company makes atomic-force microscopes and gained familiarity with the field and its equipment. He also made valuable connections with employees that could help him in his life after Luther.
Internships help Luther students apply the knowledge and skills they’ve studied in the classroom while gaining practical experience in their field of interest. Students who can show they know how to integrate their classroom learning with the work world also gain an edge when it comes to looking for work. Spending a few weeks or months in a workplace lets students polish their communication skills, try out tasks, and further explore whether a field would be a good fit for them. Dan Marlow ’88, assistant director of Luther’s Career Center, says, “Employers and graduate schools increasingly expect that students have internships and other relevant applied-learning experience on their resumes. It is vital that we support students in these endeavors.”
Not all students can cover the costs associated with an internship, such as travel and a place to live. And the number of students seeking funds to support an internship is increasing. That’s why recent gifts from James ’86 and Kathy (Winter) Thomsen ’85 and Bill ’95 and Kirsten (Stumme) Bohmer ’94 allocated to students through the Luther Career Center’s Internship Funding Program have been so important. Their gifts made it financially possible for 21 students to secure an internship through the center during January Term or the summer of 2015–16.
A common factor in these particular internships is that they involve Luther alumni. As they make the experiences possible for students, these gifts also give more alumni and friends of Luther a way to be part of Luther’s education process. Luther graduates and friends often volunteer to host internships, welcoming students into their workplaces and showing them the ropes. Others provide students a place to live during their internships.
Anderson says that without the stipend he would not have been able to complete his internship in Santa Barbara. Lucas Kane ’18 says the funding allowed him to intern with Michael Krull ’87 at Resilient Corporation, which helps companies manage digital disruptions. Kane was able to use some of the code he wrote in class on an application he worked on for the Washington, D.C., business.
Wade Johnson ’87 matched international studies major Rozlyn Paradis ’18 with Vine and Branches, a nonprofit secondhand shop and ministry in Richfield, Minn. She helped refugee families supply their households and outfitted job applicants with interview clothes. In working at Vine and Branches, Paradis says she learned how to “interact with people regardless of age, ethnicity, cultural tenets, physical or mental capabilities, or language barriers.”
Management major Evan Seegmiller ’17 interned at Evergreen Bank in Oak Brook, Ill., with three Luther graduates: Jenny Voss ’07, Jill Wachholz ’89, and Kayla Hermann ’15. During January Term 2016, he rotated through several departments to get the big-picture perspective, he says. While in the marketing department, “I helped strategize ways to bring in a new generation of customers,” he says.
In 2015–16, alumni offered 68 J-term and 27 summer internships. The total number of for-credit internships reported, including those funded by Thomsen and Bohmer and those that students obtained without financial assistance through Luther, was 207. The internship program is continuing this year, and the intent is to keep it growing.
How you can participate
To learn how you can contribute to Luther in a variety of ways—funding, volunteering, mentoring, and more:
- Visit luther.edu/giving
- Email Career Center Director Brenda Ranum at [email protected]
- Join LinkedIn’s Luther College Career Network