Spring is here, with its spirit of renewal and growth playing out across the College of Arts and Sciences. On Monday, April 3 we held our first-ever “A&S Connects” event, with RSVPs from over 80 students who connected with alumni and friends of the college as potential mentors. Turnout and enthusiasm was fantastic, and we look forward to seeing more of you there next year! You can sign up now and we'll be in touch as we plan our next event.
A highlight of the many engaging and exciting events coming our way is our Grand Reunion Weekend, May 5 through 7. We want to extend a specific invitation to our College of Arts and Sciences alumni to come to campus to reconnect with classmates, reunite with friends and celebrate Seattle University's 125th anniversary. Learn more about the weekend here.
Another wonderful spring tradition is our annual Imagining the World: Study Abroad and International Photography Competition which highlights our college's participation in the global community. Through this juried contest, students, faculty, and staff capture more than a moment in their experience—they share with us a very personal window into a world. Winners and honorable mention contestants will be honored at the Annual Awards Ceremony and Artists Reception on May 4 and the exhibition will be open to the public in the Kinsey Gallery through the Spring Quarter.
The stories in this newsletter illustrate the breadth and depth of the work of our alumni and students. Strategic Communications student Areesa Somani ’17 conducted deep research into hate speech and social media and presenting her findings at the 2016 National Conference for Undergraduate Research in Asheville, North Carolina and the 2016 Seattle University Undergraduate Research Association conference. Laurie Warshal Cohen, Ed.D. ’88, from Seattle’s Holocaust Center for Humanity, and Dylan Cade ’18 provide a compelling look at how an internship can foster professional and personal growth.
I hope you have the opportunity to explore the many events around the campus this quarter. We look forward to seeing you.
David V. Powers,
Curious about what a history major can do after graduation? Just talk with history intern Dylan Cade or intern supervisor Professor Henry Kamerling.
“Students often come in thinking about history in a very narrow way,” Professor Henry Kamerling said, “but I tell students to think more broadly.”
Kamerling, history internship supervisor, places students in organizations ranging from the ACLU and Starbucks to immigrant rights activist groups, law firms, museums, and nonprofit agencies where “they use their background in ways they couldn’t anticipate when seeking an internship.”
Dylan Cade ’18 spent months working at Seattle’s Holocaust Center for Humanity. Begun 30 years ago by a group of Jewish survivors of the Holocaust, the center has a museum and educational resource center to assist teachers in curricula around genocide and bullying. In any given year, members of its speakers bureau reach as many as 20,000 students in more than 100 venues throughout the Northwest and Alaska. The Center has had four interns so far.
“One part of my job was to engage with primary sources, old documents, old pictures, and old testimonies and find a way to put those together into a format that we could use when presenting to groups,” Cade said. “We create a presentation that is clear and authentic.”
For Laurie Warshal Cohen, Ed.D. ‘88, who is in charge of special projects and development at the center, history interns have not only the high tech skills needed to create presentations but essential research and documentation skills to vet information and take oral histories. They help with outreach and teacher training. They assist with the speakers bureau, meeting with speakers and staff to examine documents, map out the survivor’s journey, and construct a timeline.
Sometimes, though, pieces are missing from the story. Cohen recalled meeting with a child of a survivor and hearing for the first time about a Swedish program that took women to Sweden after they were liberated from the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. To verify the information, a history intern delved deep into the vast archive of Holocaust documents and learned that Swedes first came to the camps in Germany to bring Swedish and Danish citizens home. Then they returned to Bergen-Belsen and took about 700 women suffering from typhus to Sweden to recuperate, saving their lives.
“Our intern found the photo of a white Swedish Red Cross bus,” Cohen said. “We were able to explain to the daughter what actually happened to her mother and used the photo as an example of the type of buses used to transport camp survivors to Sweden.”
Especially when working with those who experienced the Holocaust as young children, interns fill in gaps and validate experiences through extensive research to document what actually happened.
“What we give back to them is something vetted, checked, and professional,” Cade emphasized.
This is exactly what Kamerling expects of history interns—to take what they learn in the classroom about research and use those skills in a real-world setting. At Starbucks, for example, interns work in the legal division using their history research skills in archives and document management. An intern at Operation Nightwatch, an organization dedicated to reducing homelessness and poverty, took oral histories of men who were homeless and successfully used them in a grant application.
Kamerling also emphasizes the value that students get from learning to work in a professional environment: “There are important differences between working in a professional environment and a college environment. Internships transcend the discipline of history and offer vital experiences so students are successful once they graduate.”
Cade summed up his experience this way: “I’ve learned so much– lessons about accepting other people, lessons about how diversity truly is strength and how similarities bring comfort and that’s how we can identify with one another, lessons about how you can find something to be passionate about, and lessons about caring about what you do.”
Watch the video:
Areesa Somani grew up in Bellevue, Washington, chose Seattle University for its social justice mission and small classes, and found her passion as a Strategic Communications major. By adding a minor in Political Science and participating in a series of internships, she enhanced her experiences in policy and advocacy.
“I chose Strat Com because I wanted to learn how to use research, public speaking, and observation skills for the public good,” she said recently. “Political Science enhanced my understanding of immigrant rights, racial justice, and equal access to education, and Strat Com showed me how to use that knowledge to mobilize and engage the public.”
Last fall, Somani, a Muslim-American who has received hate speech and been bullied because of her faith, surveyed approximately 400 students on their responses to hate speech on social media for her class with Communication Professor Caitlin Carlson. After finding that students of color spoke out less frequently against hate speech than white students because of physical and psychological risks, Somani felt that her experiences as a minority at Muslim-American were confirmed. She presented her findings at the 2016 National Conference for Undergraduate Research in Asheville, North Carolina, and at the 2016 Seattle University Undergraduate Research Association conference. She is now working to publish her research, educate the public about hate speech, and empower Muslim-American communities to speak out against hate.
As the child of immigrants from Kenya and Tanzania, Somani has also taken advantage of internship opportunities to gain greater understanding of how to bring about change. She interned in Senator Maria Cantwell’s Seattle office and then, through the university’s International Development Internship Program, at Leopards Hill Jesuit Secondary School in Zambia. Her experiences landed her a coveted position as a White House Intern in the Office of Presidential Correspondence for the Obama Administration.
“I had always wanted to work for President Obama because he made me realize that I am America too,” Somani said. “I started to take pride in my story because I saw so much of my story in him.”
President Obama received about 7,000 letters a day. Her department wrote responses to constituents, chose letters to feature in the President's speeches, and picked the 10 letters that he would privately read each evening.
Somani will never forget being immersed in the White House culture, meeting President Obama on Election Day, shaking his hand, and hearing him speak at White House events, including a discussion about climate change with actor Leonardo DiCaprio. She was inspired by staff and fellow interns who were dedicated to making the world a better place.
“The best part of my internship was the staff and interns who became like family. Their patriotism and generosity truly made me a better person,” she recalled. “There were so many people writing to the President whose letters reminded me of my own struggles growing up and the enormous risks my parents took so they could build a better life here. That’s the story of America. Hope is who we are.”
Somani was also the recipient of the first Professor John R. Talevich Memorial Scholarship, which helped her fund the internship. The new scholarship is named for John Talevich, beloved communication professor and is funded through the generosity of alumni and friends.
Currently an intern with the City of Seattle municipal television channel, Somani assists with community outreach, social media, and video production. She graduates in June and plans to continue her work in advocacy.
Save the date: Thursday, May 4 for the 9th annual Imagining The World Photography Competition Awards and Celebration
More information here
April 6: Mission Day
April 8: Master of Arts in Psychology 35th Anniversary and Awards Celebration, 6:00 - 9:30 p.m., LeRoux Room, Student Center.
April 8 – June 2: Imagining the World Photo Competition Exhibit, Kinsey Gallery; reception and awards ceremony May 4. Free.
April 20: opening reception: Digital Design Exhibition, Vachon Gallery, runs April 20 – May 5. Free.
April 14 - 17: Easter break, offices closed
April 14 – May 20: Art Exhibit, Minerva Cuevas, visiting artist, Hedreen Gallery. Opening Event April 13 5-8pm. Free.
April 20: opening reception: Digital Design Exhibition, Vachon Gallery, runs April 20 – May 5. Free.
April 21 and 22: Spring Choir Concert: Earthsong, St. Joseph Church, 8:00 p.m.
April 28: Guest Artist Violin Recital: Brittany Boulding Breeden, Pigott Auditorium.
May 4: Imagining The World Photo Competition Awards / Exhibit opening, ADAL/Kinsey Gallery 5-7 p.m.
May 5 -7: Grand Reunion Weekend for all alumni.
May 5: 32nd Annual Alumni Awards, Four Seasons Hotel, 6 p.m. Celebrate this year's recipients, including Arts and Sciences alumni, Jim Dykeman, University Service and Carolyn Ronis, Community Service.
May 5: Master of Arts in Criminal Justice (MACJ) 10th Anniversary and Reunion, 5-7 p.m.
May 19: BFA Photography Show, Vachon Gallery, runs from May 19th - June 9. Free
May 10 -21: Theatre Presentation: The Big Ambition, directed by Professor Rosa Joshi, Lee Center for the Arts.
May 11: Rutgers University History Professor Leah DeVun, scholar, artist, and award-winning author, presents this year’s Seattle University Medieval Studies keynote address, “The Medieval Hermaphrodite: Gender, Race, and the Boundaries of the Human in the Middle Ages.” 4 p.m. Wyckoff Auditorium. Free.
May 29: Tee-Off-Fore-Troops – MSAL sponsored golf tournament honoring veterans.
June 2: All College Day
June 10: MFA in Arts Leadership Project Presentations, Pigott Building, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Free.
Apr. 19: Graduate Programs in Nonprofit Leadership, 5:30 p.m., Casey 517
May 17: Graduate Programs in Nonprofit Leadership, 5:30 p.m., Casey Atrium