Winternship round-up

Maggie Whitcomb ’23

Students gain real-world experience through funded internships

The winter break afforded many Wheaton students the time to gain hands-on experience in their fields of choice. These experiential learning opportunities were funded through a variety of sources that fulfill The Wheaton Edge promise to support students undertaking internships, research and volunteer work. A few students shared more about their winternships.

Maggie Whitcomb ’23

Major: Environmental studies and music

Opportunity: Intern at Food For Free, a Boston-based nonprofit that improves access to healthy food by rescuing food that would otherwise go to waste and creating new distribution channels

Filling up on good work: “I worked with Food For Free’s Just Eats program and food rescue. Through the Just Eats program, I worked alongside volunteers to pack over 400 Just Eats boxes with fresh fruits and vegetables as well as bags of rice or beans. I assisted with the delivery of these Just Eats boxes to schools, churches, shelters and food pantries. With food rescue, which was the primary part of my internship, I rode along in different trucks and vans with different drivers, helping them pick up Just Eats boxes and food donations from grocery stores, universities and the Greater Boston Food Bank.”

Wanting to waste not: “After taking ‘U.S. Environmental History’ in the fall of my sophomore year and focusing on the history of food waste in the U.S. for my final project, I’ve kept my eyes open for opportunities to get involved with food rescue. Through my research project for the class, I learned about how the significant amount of food waste in America came to be, its contribution to climate change, and the need for food redistribution.”

Getting a taste of the future: “Many of my classes for my environmental studies major focus on the intersection of the environment and other aspects of society. I’m interested in learning about not only the environment but also how people are impacted by environmental issues. … I have known for a long time that I want a career through which I can help both people and the environment, but my time with Food For Free has helped me realize that I want to do so in a way in which I can directly interact with individuals and get to know them.”

Abigail Gangl ’23
Abigail Gangl ’23

Major: Biology

Opportunity: Volunteer at M Health Fairview Lakes Medical Center

Firsthand exposure to a medical career: “I am applying to medical schools this summer and this internship was a great way for me to gain experience in a medical center and meet people from many different health professions.”

Wearing many hats: “As a volunteer in the emergency department, I was in charge of a variety of tasks. I prepared the blanket warmers, assembled blood tube bags, folded isolation gowns and restocked rooms with supplies. I also prepared rooms after patients left, which included sanitation, changing bed sheets and removing any leftover medical equipment so the space was ready for the next patient. In addition, I transported patients to their rooms or various departments.”

Easing the burden for health care workers: “One of my most memorable moments was when I was completing a simple task like assembling blood tube bags and one of the emergency room technicians saw me and thanked me for everything I was doing. Since the emergency room was always short-staffed due to COVID-19, it was harder for personnel to complete some of those tasks, so I was able to lighten the load for them.”

Brianna Perrott ’23
Brianna Perrott ’23

Major: Psychology

Opportunity: Intern at Total Achievement Program (Norton, Mass.), a therapeutic after-school program dedicated to enhancing the social skills of children ages 6 to 12 with complex emotional and behavioral needs

Extending an internship: “I have worked with kids in the past for many years and know this is something I wanted to continue. I started this particular internship at Total Achievement Program at the end of August [2021] through my Wheaton practicum course and was able to extend my time through the winternship until the middle of January.”

Helping children heal and learn: “This was the right fit for me because I enjoy the group therapy setting and assisting young children with social and emotional skills. My duties included working with the children either individually or as a group and helping staff run their programs. Each staff member ran a day during the week that went along with the group theme. I was able to run about six programs on my own.”

Building skills for long-term career goals: “My long-term goal is to be an applied behavioral analyst and to work with children. This internship taught me how to interact with kids that have been diagnosed with conditions such as PTSD or anxiety. I learned how to run programs that kids will enjoy that incorporate different learning skills for them to use.”

Eve Caplan ’24
Eve Caplan ’24

Major: History of art

Opportunity: Intern at Stephen Hopkins House, a museum and National Historic Landmark in Providence

Stewardship duties: “Professor Tripp Evans sent out the opportunity and I thought it would be exciting. Being up close with artifacts intrigued me. My duties were to first go through each room and cross-check the current list of items that were supposed to be there and what was actually there. I measured and recorded the furniture and corrected their list. We also spent our days looking through old records of the Colonial Dames of America, the national association that manages the house, to find out when they acquired each artifact and from whom it came.”

A trove of historical insight: The biggest challenge was simply overcoming the daunting feeling of going through the stacks of old records. There was so much paperwork, but it ended up being so much fun to read letters and minutes dating back to the 1920s. I just had to get into a rhythm to discern what was going to be helpful. My favorite moment was when we finally found an ivory-topped cane that we had been reading about in the records and had misidentified several times. It was found in the basement storage on the last day. That was very satisfying.”

A taste of the museum industry: “Wheaton’s history of art major requires a museum studies course and emphasizes museum work as a potential career. This internship allowed me to experience that work right off the bat. I feel as though I have a greater understanding of the effort and organization it takes to care for a historical home and artifacts. The volunteers who I worked with gave me great insight based on their various careers, from a librarian, preservationist to a finance professional.”

Robert Allen ’22
Robert Allen ’22

Major: Music

Opportunity: Intern at the District Attorney’s office in Augusta, Maine

Gaining experience in victim advocacy: “I want to be an attorney that specializes in getting justice for survivors. Getting to intern with the victim witness advocates at the District Attorney’s office was the best way for me to get some experience while still an undergraduate.”

Learning through observation: “Most of what I did was observe what victim witness advocates do and also share my thoughts about cases. I’d listen in on testimonials and on calls from victims. The emotional toll of listening to abuse was extreme at times. I overcame this by taking emotional breaks and separating myself from the testimonials at times. I loved hearing about favorable outcomes for the victims.”

Solidifying a career goal: “This internship gave me a much better sense of why I want to go into law and become a lawyer. I want to help people and this internship painted a path for me to do that.”