Students share semester in Grand Rapids experiences

Kylie Elwell, Staff Reporter

Students involved with the Semester in Grand Rapids internship experience were a part of many different organizations throughout the city. While working their internship positions, they learned from business and city leaders. 

“Semester in Grand Rapids is a cohort-based summer program where students take courses about Grand Rapids from a social justice lens and complete community-based internships,” said Director of Community Partnerships and Student Professional Development Kristin Moretto.

Three different students from Grand Valley State University shared their positions, places of internship and how the experience influenced and affected them after completing their semesters. 

Delaney McDonald interned as a classroom assistant at the Cook Arts Center. She would help out within the classroom by passing out materials, cleaning up and managing behavior of students.

“Overall, I am beyond grateful for the opportunity,” McDonald said. “My internship put me in so many situations that I don’t think I would have ever been in otherwise, so I learned a lot about myself and the community I was working in. It was a really unique experience that I grew a lot from.”

Sarah Stromski got to work with the English as a Second Language (ESL) classes. This included writing curriculum along with aiding teaching lessons and activities. She was also involved with block party planning and reaching out to local businesses to get donations and volunteers for the event. 

“It was a good summer to transition into teaching,” Stromski said. “I got to take classes outside of my major that were interesting, as well as relevant to myself. As someone who works and lives in Grand Rapids, the history classes gave me insight to how our community became what it is.”

Anthony Hanline was a learning lab intern in the Community Building & Engagement Department at Dwelling Place. He had learned access to hard and soft skills, which aided him in helping residents experience their own personal agency and contributing to their ability to engage and impact their community. 

“It was a really challenging experience that I am grateful to have had,” Hanline said. “I began to understand myself and my skills better and how I can be of use in my community. Being a Grand Rapids native, I would say that my time at Dwelling Place has made me a better citizen.”

Applications for Summer 2020 will open in the fall. Students apply and are selected to participate in the program after a short interview process.