They’ve been here five weeks now—four graduate students from other institutions who are interning with HFS via a program sponsored by the Association of College and University Housing Officers-International (ACUHO-I). It’s a mutually beneficial relationship: The interns gain further experience in their field. HFS gains from their knowledge, energy and commitment.
Here’s what they’ve been up to. First, all four interns say they really enjoy and appreciate working with the wide range of professionals within HFS. They are also living together, sharing an apartment in Mercer Court and, when not working, exploring Seattle and environs.
Shannon Hicks was placed with Conference Services and Residential Life, which she says has allowed her to see and appreciate the importance of cross-unit collaboration. A graduate assistant for Student Leadership within the Department of Student Housing at the University of Mississippi, Shannon is supervising the HFS Residential Conference Assistants this summer and “seeing their role in the larger HFS and University community.” Looking to the future, she adds, “I am excited to apply my internship experience here towards my own professional practice as I hope to continue my work within Student Affairs and Residential Life.” Shannon is supervised by Christine Sismaet and Amanda Roy.
Meghan Ray is interning with Summer School/Residential Life. “I have loved having the opportunity to sharpen my supervision and programming skills through my work with Summer School,” she comments. A graduate student at the University of Florida, Meghan is also the Graduate Assistant for Leadership Initiatives within their center for leadership and service under Student Activities and Involvement. She says she’s excited to bring back the skills and experiences she is gaining here to her home institution and also to apply them to her further professional experiences. Meghan is being supervised by Ellie Smotherman.
Allie Polk’s internship is with Facilities where she says, “Everyone has been overwhelmingly willing to include me in conversations and help me learn what they do along the way.” In addition to being a graduate student in the Higher Education Student Affairs program at Iowa State University, Allie also serves as an Assistant Apartment Community Manager for the Iowa State West Apartments. She’s excited to return to that role this fall, “because I am learning so much about how to make work with custodial teams productive, efficient, and fun. I cannot wait to share the practices I am learning with my colleagues in the Midwest!” Bob Egnatchik is Allie’s supervisor.
Alexa Layne is interning in Residential Education/Leadership. “While the opportunity to work on projects for various aspects of the organization has been a wonderful opportunity,” says Alexa, “I think what I will also remember from this experience will be all of the people who have shared their stories with me and welcomed me in.” Back at the University of Southern California, she is pursuing M.Ed. in Postsecondary Administration and Student Affairs with a graduate assistantship in Residential Education as a Graduate Residential College Coordinator. Alexa adds she realizes every person she has met working in HFS has a different journey to getting where they are “and it has been a comforting notion to hear. I feel considerably more prepared to tackle my final year of graduate school and am sad this internship is nearly coming to an end!” Alexa’s supervisor is Shannon Bradley.
From the HFS perspective, the ACUHO-I intern program is a win-win for all concerned. Shannon Bradley, Residence Ed. Specialist for Training & Selection, emphasizes how the program gives graduate students a chance to learn from a different institution and further explore their interests in Housing and Residential Life. “We also benefit from the unique perspectives they bring to projects and summer staff teams,” she says. “And we hope they are able to learn and grow professionally during their time here.”
That seems to be the case.