The journey to Rediet Mulugeta's internship began on a SPRINT (Seattle Pacific Reachout International) trip to Rwanda last summer. The trip introduced Rediet to several firsts, such as pineapple that she actually liked, teaching English, and visiting people in their homes just to hear them tell their stories. Rediet didn't know very much about the 1994 Rwandan genocide that claimed 800,000 lives before the trip, but soon she was hearing about it firsthand from genocide survivors and perpetrators.
On one occasion, she heard two close friends, Pascal and Narcisse, speak in Pascal's sister's one-bedroom house.
Pascal, a Tutsi, lost more than 75 family members, including his wife and unborn child. Narcisse, a Hutu, participated in the killings, went to jail for nine years, and had experienced immense guilt and shame over the atrocity.
Narcisse was the one who killed Pascal's wife and child. He was also the first person to comfort Pascal and his new wife after she had a miscarriage. The friendship happened because Pascal went to a reconciliation workshop at a church, and then sought out Narcisse to offer forgiveness.
"I heard this story and thought, 'How is this even possible?'" Rediet says. "It was like, 'This is the kingdom of God!'"
When she came back to Seattle, she met with a friend who was having problems with her former roommate. Rediet told her about Pascal and Narcisse. The friend was stunned, and said "If Pascal can forgive Narcisse, then what's holding me back?" She went back and invited the former roommate to coffee to make things right. The trip also prompted Rediet to switch her major from nursing to global development studies.
She started volunteering with Rwanda Partners, the organization that helped lead the trip. Rwanda Partners focuses on helping Rwanda's poor through ethnic reconciliation, education, and job creation. It has 10 employees and nine interns in the Seattle offices, and 10 employees in Rwanda.
"We're so small that all of the help matters," says Allie Wallace '09, director of development. "The interns are able to take on their own campaigns, and they create an explosion of growth for us."
Currently, Rediet is the "Basket Campaign Manager Intern," and helps handle shipments, inventories, and marketing for their company, Rwanda Basket Co.
Before she ships a basket, Rediet attaches a tag with the weaver's story. She loves knowing some of the weavers, such as Egidia, whose home was refurbished with new mud by the SPRINT team. Rediet also watched several of the Hutu and Tutsi weavers create the traditional basket patterns alongside one another. "This isn't something that you see a lot in Rwanda because of what happened in the past," Rediet says. "Rwanda Basket Co. is giving opportunities to bring healing to their hearts."
Knowing this helps Rediet when she calls a church to generate interest in Rwanda Basket Co. and is rejected.
"It can be frustrating," Rediet says. "But I don't see my job as just about selling baskets. It's about bringing stories of reconciliation to everyone."
When Rediet Mulugeta was in Rwanda, she met Egidia who gave her a basket, even though they take days to make and the income provides food, health care, and schooling for Egidia's family. "Out of the little she had, she wanted to give," Rediet says. Now as the "Basket Campaign Manager Intern" for Rwanda Partners, Rediet wants to "make a difference in the lives of the people who made a difference in my life."
Watch a video about the Rwanda
Like a proud father, Josh Green posted a three-second video of his recent creation on Facebook. It was a miniature printed circuit board with a green light flashing on and off. But instead of saying, "It's a boy," or "It's a girl," Josh's caption was simply: "It's alive!"
"Sometimes I feel like Dr. Frankenstein," Josh laughs.
The board will be part of an actigraphy monitor that will record what the body is doing, such as walking up stairs, walking on a flat surface, jogging, etc. It's all a part of his senior engineering design project, which was inspired and funded by Cardiac Science in Bothell, Washington. That's where he's been an intern since last summer.
A lot of Josh's work includes building new diagnostic tests and bay stations under a microscope. "I feel like a giant," he says. "It's like you're looking at a little electrical city. All of the paths are like little highways. It's a blast."
It's this enthusiasm for building that got Josh the internship in the first place. Gabriel Felix '05 of Cardiac Science usually calls the Seattle Pacific University Engineering Department when he's looking for new interns or employees.
"We find exceptional talent from SPU," Felix says. "The students have more hands-on, real-world experience than engineering students at other institutions."
He asked Melani Plett, associate professor of electrical engineering, to recommend a student who thought outside of the box, and she immediately thought of Josh.
Josh is so glad she did. "I have the best job on the planet," he says. He gets to work on similar projects as the other engineers, while learning simultaneously from Felix, who's an expert in the field.
But that's not his favorite thing about being at Cardiac Science. The company is working on making diagnostic tests that are affordable for ordinary people. "That's the biggest motivator," Josh says. "The things that we're doing can save people's lives, and that's pretty much all of the inspiration you need."
Josh Green has found his per-
fect match as an engineering intern at Cardiac Science, where he creates new devices from scratch. "In engineering, sometimes when you go off the rails, people get scared and think, 'What's going to happen?' And I've never felt that. For me that's where all of the fun begins." Josh says.
She couldn't believe how much her fingers were shaking. Danielle Knight had played songs and cut to commercials many times before, but this time it was her trembling voice that would be on the radio, not a prerecorded show. "Even though it was 3 a.m. on a Sunday morning, I knew that someone was still listening to me," she says.
That was in June right after her freshman year at Seattle Pacific University. She started interning with Seattle's Top-40 station 106.1 KISS FM about a year earlier. Her internship focused on promoting events, but she was given the occasional super-intern task, such as organizing her boss' Vitamin Water in rainbow order.
During on-site promotions around the Seattle area, Danielle would often call in to the station and give a live report. Then one day, Bender from "Jackie and Bender Mornings," told her, "There's no reason why you couldn't go on air tomorrow." That shocked Danielle. But for Bender, it was simple. "You can't teach someone to be as personable on the air as on the street. She possessed that talent."
It didn't take long until Danielle had a regular 2 a.m. to 9 a.m. shift on Sundays. Her roommate, Ginelle Quigley '10, remembers watching Danielle come back to the room and cry, "because she was so tired and overwhelmed." Luckily, that shift only lasted a few months.
While her job has not negatively affected her studies, it has made it difficult for her to find time for friends and family. But Ginelle says she's glad to get regular time with Danielle, even if it's not evenings or weekends. Plus there are perks to having a roommate who's a part-time DJ, such as free concerts.
This past December, Ginelle came to the Jingle Bell Bash, which is KISS FM's annual winter concert. She watched Danielle stand in front of 8,000 people with a microphone and a cue card to introduce the event's surprise artist, "Boys Like Girls."
"It was surreal," Ginelle says. "It's really cool to know somebody who's still in college and is doing what they want to do."
One of the things that Danielle has loved about her job is getting to meet people, such as Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga, before they were well known. "It's amazing to watch someone become a huge sensation," she says.
Paramore and the Needle
See a video of Danielle going to the very top of the Space Needle with the band Paramore. She's the one behind the camera.