Accepting Applications Now for Liberal Arts Bridge Internship Scholarships

by Linda Lenhoff , March 26, 2021 | March 26, 2021

Saint Mary's is now accepting applications for the Liberal Arts Bridge (LAB) Internship Scholarships. Read on to learn more about last year's scholarship winners.

Seven liberal arts majors gained valuable learning experience last summer and fall thanks to Saint Mary’s Liberal Arts Bridge Internship Scholarships. Funding from these scholarships gave students the support they need to develop skills for their future careers—and engage in Lasallian service—despite the global pandemic around them. Of the seven students, five worked for the League of Women voters, one served in Governor Newsom’s office, and one worked for Saint Mary’s Title IX Office as well as the Daraja Education Foundation. 

“The Liberal Arts Bridge program supports career exploration and development for School of Liberal Arts majors, including funding otherwise unpaid internships with non-profit and public sector employers for students with financial need,” said School of Liberal Arts Dean Sheila Hassell Hughes. The LAB program is funded by the Dean’s Advisory Board and other generous donors. 

Students Worked to Boost Voting in the 2020 Election 

Last summer, five Saint Mary’s students used their creativity and determination to create videos detailing the various 2020 California ballot measures, in partnership with the League of Women Voters (LWV) of Diablo Valley and supported by LAB scholarships. The 12 non-partisan videos ran four-to-eight minutes long and broke down the pros and cons of each proposition. Each video was directed, edited, and narrated by SMC students. 

Students recognized the significance of the impending election as they developed scripts that introduced each measure and produced the videos. “I loved working on this project not only because I learned how to produce and direct my own series of videos, but I also got to help make these propositions way less complicated,” said Communication major Colette Huber ’21. “Hopefully, this helped people make informed decisions in the 2020 election.”

Communication major and Digital Studies minor Ava Parashis ’21 agreed. “The importance of everything that we are doing is to inform my generation and other generations about these propositions. The wording in the propositions can be a little confusing and complicated; this way we could put it in a simpler format to make sure people really know and understand the pros and cons, and can form their own opinions.”

"Working with the League of Women Voters was an amazing experience," added Jordan Mansfield '21, a Communication and Digital Media major. "Since it was my first time voting in a bigger election and helping out the league, I was better able to educate myself and the others around me on what these propositions were about. Working with a team full of women was very empowering as well!"

The School of Liberal Arts student filmmakers included: Colette Huber ’21, Jordan Mansfield ’21, Stephanie Ramirez ’22, Ava Parashis ’21, Kisa Knight ’23. Luiza Nazakulova ’22 and Minivia Fernandes ’21 served as interns from other departments.

Assistant Professor of Communication Jason Jakaitis, who facilitated the placement and worked with the interns, congratulated the students on their projects: “We felt this opportunity embodied SMC's Lasallian mission, and we're so proud of the students who committed to the project. They conducted themselves like professionals on set and in their collaboration with the League of Women Voters, and they elevated the level of discourse about these important initiatives.”

Janet Thomas of the LWV expressed her deep appreciation for the work of the students and Jakaitis. “Due to his talented and tireless efforts, and the work of students he engaged in our project, we were able to reach over 10,000 Californians in understanding the propositions brought before the public during the election of November 2020,” she said. 

Two Internships for One Dedicated Student

Melissa Goan ’21, a Sociology and Women's and Gender Studies major, engaged in two internships with LAB’s help: “I’m currently working with the Saint Mary’s Office of Community Life as a Title IX intern,” Goan said in December of last year. “I started last May, and I’ll be with them until January.” She attributed her gained experience to the people at Saint Mary’s College who helped her secure the internship. “I’ve had unsurpassed support from the School of Liberal Arts and received a LAB scholarship to help fund my internship. I also had help from faculty on the academic side so I’m getting course credit as well.”

Goan’s second internship, with the Daraja Education Fund (DEF), was also obtained through her outreach and networking efforts. “I had connections at DEF that I formed through Saint Mary’s when I took an English class in 2019. DEF was my community engagement partner, and I worked with them throughout the semester writing biographies on their students to be sent to donors,” said Goan. DEF raises and provides funds that support Daraja Academy in Kenya to provide free secondary education to girls living in material poverty and have no other means to attend school, and who, despite their circumstances, display leadership and courage.

“I reached out to DEF and asked if they had any internship opportunities, and they brought me onboard,” said Goan. “I realized that by asking and being persistent and self-advocating, I can get really far and set myself up for opportunities.” Goan’s internship was also funded through the LAB scholarship program at Saint Mary’s. “The scholarship was really helpful in helping me to cover the costs of commuting to Daraja, which is located in San Rafael.

Goan’s internship responsibilities were expanded from the work that she had done for them previously. “I was entrusted with the responsibility of being able to create interactive activities for their signature empowerment program. It serves to cultivate the girls’ leadership skills so they can see themselves as impactful community leaders,” stated Goan. “I designed curriculum that included everything from sex education to interpersonal communication. It really challenged me to think creatively.”

Goan is a strong advocate for internships as a way to prepare for the future. “My internships set me up to be in a position to pursue my dream career. I had a range of different opportunities that challenged me to grow and position myself for success after college.” Goan graduated in December and now works as project manager at California Coalition for Victims of Child Abuse.

Head of State

History major Nicolette Kafetas ’22 obtained an internship last fall with the California Governor’s Office in the judicial appointments division. Due to the pandemic, Kafetas worked remotely, dealing with judges’ applications, sorting, and creating e-binders. 

“During the internship, I was able to learn about the inner workings of the California judicial system and how the judges are chosen,” said Kafetas. I personally collected and filed all of the potential judges’ applications," Kafetas said. The internship allowed her to gain new computer skills with Adobe, Word, and other programs and experience with professional emails, and a chance to utilize her organizational and project management skills that she learned at Saint Mary’s. “I got a scholarship and a quarter credit for my internship which was a big plus,” Kafetas added. 

The initial deadline for applying for summer 2021 LAB Internship Scholarships is April 1. Late applications will be considered as funds allow. For more information, click here. 

To make a gift to support the Liberal Arts Bridge program, click here