On The Way There
Internships build mental muscle
WRITTEN BY Julia Siemens | PHOTOS BY Luke Rutan
Seattle Pacific University knows the importance of real-world experience outside the classroom. That’s why we connect more than 350 students with internships each year.
We have a little advantage in this endeavor: the city of Seattle. Known to some as “Silicon Valley North,” Seattle is home to Google, Alibaba, Microsoft, and Amazon.com (to name a few), as well as several rapidly growing tech start-ups. The Emerald City is also a hub for aerospace, biotechnology, global health, and health care.
If you’d like to intern out of state, SPU’s Center for Career and Calling can help set you up. Here are
two internship stories to inspire you.
Not Your Average Internship:
ON-THE-JOB TRAINING LAUNCHES INTERN INTO ENGINEERING CAREER
Perris Anawati ’15 arrived at his summer internship without the graduate-level expertise needed to do his job.
But that didn’t stop him from making a tremendous impression.
Anawati’s supervisor, American Metal Bearing Company VP of Engineering Mike Litton, says he wasn’t looking for someone who had all the answers, but rather
a person who “would build on what they’ve learned and not give up.”
Located in Los Angeles, AMB is the Pentagon-preferred provider of propulsion bearings for Navy ships and submarines. Anawati was tasked with building new
simulation software to help ensure the performance of the bearings made for Navy submarines met standards.
That meant learning a new computer language called Python and studying the science tribology (aka the science and engineering of interacting surfaces in relative motion).
“SPU prepared me to learn really hard concepts,” Anawati says.
He ended up developing a piece of software that took seconds to run, instead of hours, and with another happy result — a job.
Anawati now works at AMB as a systems analyst, and Litton says he has confidence in his new hire. “We pretty much threw him in the fire. We don’t hold
back. That’s the real test of someone.”
Anawati is up for the challenge. “I like working at AMB. The work’s important, and it matters.”
MAKING THE MOST OF INTERNSHIP MEANS HELPING HUNDREDS OF AFRICANS
When Kate Morgan ’15 completed her internship application for PATH, she had no idea that in a matter of months she would help hundreds of Africans do the same.
As a global development studies major, Morgan had been encouraged to apply to PATH, a global health leader headquartered in Seattle. PATH focuses on solving issues related to child survival, maternal and reproductive health, infectious diseases.
“My professors at SPU have constantly believed in me and pushed me,” she says. “It’s because of the major and these professors that I had the guts to apply an internship at PATH.”
PATH offered Morgan the competitive, six-month position on a team of six interns in March 2015. With locations in 70 countries, PATH charged the group to develop a new process so that interns could be hired in-country, instead of from abroad.
Each member on Morgan’s team was assigned a different country. Her task was to create an internship process for Tanzania. She researched labor laws and with PATH staff in Africa. The process was ready and approved by PATH’s legal advisers earlier than expected, so her boss suggested she create procedures for Ethiopia, Mozambique, Zambia, and South Africa as well.
Four months into her internship, Morgan was asked to present her plan to the entire East African board of PATH on a conference call.
She arrived to the office at 7 a.m., so nervous that she had been unable to eat breakfast.
“It was scary,” she says. “It was a lot of high-up people in PATH from around the world all listening to me — a 23-year-old intern.”
At the end of the presentation, the board commended Morgan. “Everyone was so excited that this opportunity now existed,” she says. Morgan rewarded herself by buying a latte and a blueberry muffin afterward.
The true reward, however, was seeing 100 people apply for an internship in South Africa using the process Morgan had created.
“Now students who are passionate about global health in other countries can get involved with what PATH is doing,” she says.