Eyewitness to History

Presidential Debate Between Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford
Then-U.S. President Gerald Ford (right) and challenger Gov. Jimmy Carter debate in 1976.

Gail Raiman ’73 was interviewed for and appears in the documentary “Feeling Good About America: the 1976 Presidential Election.” The documentary, produced by the Center of Politics at the University of Virginia, has been airing across the country since October.

The election of 1976 was momentous in several ways. It was the first national election after the Watergate scandal. It was the national election occurring on the occasion of the country’s bicentennial celebration. Watergate had consumed the Nixon presidency (he resigned in August  1974), resulting in Gerald R. Ford becoming president. Ford had become vice president in October 1973 by congressional confirmation in the wake of Vice President Spiro Agnew’s corruption scandal and resignation.

In the 1976 election, Ford  the Republican candidate  was pitted against the relatively unknown former one-term governor of Georgia, Jimmy Carter. Carter ran as a Washington outsider, a popular position in the post-Watergate era, and won a narrow victory.

Gail’s connection to Ford began before the 1976 election, going back to her sophomore year in 1971. She used that opportunity to intern on Capitol Hill for then-Congressman Ford, who at the time served as House minority leader. Gail worked in his Washington office’s constituent-relations group and made quite an impression. The Ford team suggested she continue to work in the office while finishing her undergraduate degree at a college or university in Washington, D.C.

Instead, Gail returned to K, completed her degree (philosophy) in June 1973 and took a summer job in Ford’s Grand Rapids district office. Several times that summer Ford personally asked Gail to consider taking a permanent job in his office. She declined in favor of her plan to earn a doctorate and teach. That fall she started graduate school, but she wasn’t there long.

“I suddenly realized that I wanted to ‘make a difference,’ ” Gail said, “though I didn’t know what that meant. At the time I didn’t imagine it meant returning to work for Congressman Ford.”

Gerald Ford Campaign ButtonGail came home from grad school to Grand Rapids. “My  immediate future was a complete mystery to me,” she said. “Four days later history intervened with the resignation of Vice President Agnew. President Nixon then named Gerald Ford as vice president-designate, and several phone calls later, I was on my way to Washington to work on Ford’s confirmation hearings for the vice presidency.”

Ford asked Gail to join his vice presidential staff and she did. Eight months later, when Nixon resigned and Ford became president, Ford asked Gail to be a member of his White House staff. She worked in the West Wing throughout his term. “My White House portfolio included media relations, communications, politics and continuous crisis management the perfect storm.”

In early 2016 Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics, inquired whether Gail would be interviewed for the documentary. His request made sense. “I’d had a front-row seat to the 1976 campaign while on the White House staff,” Gail explained. “I also worked as a member of the president’s staff at the 1976 Republican National Convention.”

That convention was memorable. It was the last Republican convention in which a candidate had not been chosen by the outset. Ford and former California Gov. Ronald Reagan were the front runners, with Reagan representing the conservative wing of the party. During maneuvering at the Convention, Mississippi swung from Reagan to Ford on the first ballot, pushing him just past the delegate threshold needed to win the nomination.

K Trustee Gail Raiman
K trustee Gail Raiman at the 2013 commencement

The documentary concludes that the election of 1976 was a needful tonic for the country. America felt good about Ford and Carter for good reason; they were the right people at the right time, helping us once again “feel good about America.”

That history comes alive, in part, through the film’s interviews, which include, among many others, Walter Mondale, Jack Ford, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Stuart K. Spencer and Gail Raiman ’73.

Gail’s inclusion in the film is not her only honor relative to her association with Ford. She also has been asked to serve as a judge for the 2016 Gerald R. Ford Journalism Prize for Distinguished Reporting on the Presidency. With this annual award, Ford wanted to recognize and encourage thoughtful, insightful and enterprising work by journalists covering the presidency and national defense.

As in past years, two $5,000 prizes will be awarded, one for distinguished achievement in reporting on the presidency, and another on national defense during the 2016 calendar year. The awards will be presented in Washington, D.C., in June at the annual meeting of the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation.

Duo Completes Prestigious Internship

Shawn Fair and Sara McKinney
Shawn Fair and Sara McKinney

Kalamazoo College senior Sara McKinney and junior Shawn Fair secured and completed Monroe-Brown internships this summer. Monroe-Brown internships are local opportunities that include at least 400 paid hours of work with a Kalamazoo area company, valuable networking, and scholarship funding upon completion.

The Monroe-Brown family (and, subsequently, The Monroe-Brown Foundation) has a long history of supporting Michigan students in higher education. McKinney’s internship focused on research into this legacy.

She compiled a family tree; cataloged birth, death, and marriage certificates; interviewed family members; read biographies and news articles; and much more. Much of the work was conducted independently.
The end goal is a book for the Monroe-Brown grandchildren. “I’ve really enjoyed the research aspect of it,” McKinney says. “The project has really helped me develop self-accountability and has helped me learn how to seek out information and contacts in the Kalamazoo community.”

McKinney is majoring in English (with an emphasis in creative writing) and earning a minor in psychology. This fall she will complete a collection of short stories for her Senior Individualized Project.

For his internship Fair worked in the marketing internship at Fabri-Kal, an industry leader in product packaging. He analyzed the branding, marketing and advertising of the company’s environmentally friendly Greenware line.

Fair used the opportunity to evaluate what he’d learned in the classroom about leadership. He observed the leadership styles of his coworkers, managers and company executives, and determined that, to be a relational leader, “You have to be trustworthy, dependable, supportive, and willing to devote time to getting to know each of your team members.”

Fair is majoring in business and earning a minor in Chinese. He is already applying the practical lessons of his internship by launching his own mobile application production company, Simple Fix, LLC.

K students like Fair and McKinney have been well represented in the Monroe-Brown Internship Program for the last several years. Since 2012, 13 students have interned with local companies including Eaton, BASIC, AVB, Parker Hannifin, LKF Marketing, Imperial Beverage, Abraxas, and Schupan & Sons, Inc.

Text and Photo by McKenna Bramble ’16, Post Baccalaureate Summer Intern, Center for Career and Professional Development

Alumna Prepared for Fulbright Teaching Assignment

Ellie Cannon
Ellie Cannon – Photo by Hein Htut Tin ’17

Next month it’s off to Spain for Ellie Cannon ’15, who feels thoroughly “K-Plan prepped.”

Ellie received an English Teaching Assistantship grant with the Fulbright Student Program. For nine months she will work at a school of commerce in Galicia, an autonomous community in northwestern Spain. She is excited, of course, and grateful, “Over the last five years I received invaluable academic and professional mentorship from college faculty, staff, and alumni,” she said. “Friends and classmates also educated and encouraged me.”

Galicia is one of Spain’s lesser known cultures. The population and local government are bilingual, operating in Spanish and the local language, Galego. Many Galicians identify with Celtic culture, which some attribute to pre-Roman era migration and to a more recent process of adopting Celtic-related tradition.

“I look forward to being a student and a teacher of culture,” said Ellie. “The K-Plan prepared me for both.”

She spent her early childhood in St. Paul, Minnesota, in a neighborhood blended with immigrant, refugee and working class families. When she was in middle school her family moved to a small rural town on the west shore of Lake Michigan, where “I learned about rural and maritime cultures, began to study Spanish, and tutored the bilingual children of dairy and migrant farm workers.”

When it came time to pick a college, K seemed a great option to more deeply develop intercultural competence. “As a first year student and later as a Teaching Assistant, [Professor of English] Bruce Mills’ seminar on autism acquainted me with the idea of neurodiversity,” said Ellie. “The Mary Jane Underwood Stryker Center for Civic Engagement facilitated additional service-learning in Kalamazoo, partnerships that included a poetry club at Kalamazoo Central High School, a bilingual nutrition club at El Sol Elementary, and research for the Kalamazoo County Sobriety Court.” Ellie majored in biology and psychology and earned a minor in Spanish. She shaped her academics–as well as an externship and her Senior Individualized Project–mindful of her burgeoning interest in medicine and public health. “I interned with Dr. Andrew Terranella ’99 at the bilingual Navajo Area Indian Health Service in Arizona,” she said. “My SIP reflected my interest in ecological health, and I collaborated with Dr. Paige Copenhaver-Parry on an investigation that eventually was published in the journal Oecologia (Copenhaver-Parry and Cannon, 2016).” Since graduation she has worked with immigrant families in the Kalamazoo Public Schools Bilingual Program under the direction of K alumnus Scott Hunsinger ’94.

“I look forward to continued intercultural exchange,” said Ellie. “It’s vital. I’ve come to understand that a healthy community is educated, equitable, and medically fit. And each of those components is inextricably linked to diversity and culture.”

A Hands-On (Doors, Literally) Poli-Sci Internship

Ian McKnight
Ian McKnight

Ian McKnight ’19 came to Kalamazoo College with aspirations of working in politics. After talking to alumnus Darrin Camilleri ’14 about careers relating to political science, Ian was offered an internship on Darrin’s campaign for State Representative this summer.

During his internship, Ian spent most of his mornings collating and analyzing voter data, making phone calls and researching competitors’ tactics. In the afternoons and evenings, Ian and his fellow colleagues knocked on thousands of doors in Metro Detroit to talk to voters and to provide them with candidate and campaign information. “I do not enjoy knocking on doors,” Ian admits. “[But] knocking on doors and making phone calls really does improve results on Election Day.”

On the evening of August 2, 2016, six weeks after beginning his internship with the Camilleri Campaign, Ian stood with a spreadsheet keeping count of the votes released by each precinct. “When the last precinct came in, I got to stare [in] disbelief [at] the razor thin margin, turn to our candidate, and say, ‘Congratulations, Mr. Camilleri.’” Ian says. “At that moment, the 173 votes that won the election for us seemed totally worth every 95-degree day, every awkward phone call, and every blister.”

“It was great to see someone so freshly out of [a political science] major make a career out of it,” Ian says.  “[This internship] has given me the roadmap that I didn’t have before. In campaign work you really work your way up, and this was a phenomenal place to start.”

Ian is a rising sophomore and plans on declaring a political science major with an American Studies concentration and a public policy and urban affairs concentration. He is also the president of the College Democrats student organization.

Text and Photo by McKenna Bramble ’16, Post Baccalaureate Summer Intern, Center for Career and Professional Development

Internship Offers Experience in Digital and Community History

Kierra Verdun ’18 (right) with her Historypin supervisor Kerri Young
Kierra Verdun ’18 (right) with her Historypin supervisor, Kerri Young, at the National World War I Museum (Kansas City, Mo.)

History major Kierra Verdun ’18 wasn’t planning on completing an internship this summer, but after speaking to her professor, Janelle Werner, the Marlene Crandell Francis Assistant Professor of History, about her post-grad plans, Kierra decided she needed some experience in digital history.

She found her opportunity to gain this experience at Historypin, an organization that promotes communities to digitally share their local history. “Historypin taps into ‘knowledge communities,’ which are communities that already have this local knowledge,” she says. “[The goal] is to put value into what they are already doing [and]… to bridge the gap between communities and the digital world.”

This summer Kierra has used primary sources from the National Archives to create an online archive on Historypin. She has also been involved in creating a World War I app that teachers and educators can use as a tool for finding and presenting digital archives in the classroom. Kierra recently attended a conference at the National World War I Museum in Kansas City, Mo., to present the app. “We did demos with the teachers and then reported back to developers with teachers’ comments and suggestions,” she says. The conference was a  collaboration between the National Archives and the National Word War I Museum.

“History should be more accessible,” says Kierra. “That’s why I like Historypin. It’s presenting histories that are not often represented.” Her internship at Historypin has made her more confident in her ability to research and contribute, and she has also learned how digital history relates to community engagement. “I better understand what ‘public history’ is, and how it relates to community engagement and social justice,” she says. “Historypin has given me the tools to know how to get at the intersection of public history and social justice.”

Kierra will study abroad in Thailand this fall. After graduating from K, she hopes to pursue a graduate degree in public history.

Text by McKenna Bramble ’16. McKenna graduated from Kalamazoo College with a B.A. degree in psychology and currently works as the post-baccalaureate summer assistant in the College’s Center for Career and Professional Development. She enjoys writing and reading poetry, hanging out with friends and eating chocolate. In the fall she plans to apply to M.F.A. degree programs for poetry. This is one of a series of profiles she is writing about K students and their summer internships.

More in a Summer: A “Quality” Internship at MDEQ

Gabrielle Herin ’’18 in her K summer internship at the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.
Gabrielle Herin ’18 in her K summer internship at the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

[By McKenna Bramble ’16]

With a major in biology and a concentration in environmental studies, Kalamazoo College student Gabrielle Herin ’18 is interested in all of us – individuals and institutions alike – reducing our environmental impact. In order to learn more about the processes behind environmental laws and policies that can help with this, Gabrielle is completing an internship this summer with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ).

Her summer internship was arranged through K’s Center for Career and Professional Development Internship Program.

Gabrielle has spent her summer collaborating with more than 20 other college interns and their supervisor, MDEQ Environmental Education Coordinator Tom Occhipinti, on seven projects, four of which she heads as project manager.

One project is publishing the first edition of the Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) “Friends Newsletter.” Gabrielle says working on the newsletter has not only provided her the opportunity to research the goals and projects of the MDNR, but has also allowed her to develop some practical and organizational skills.

“My work on the newsletter has made me see how my writing abilities have improved since being at K,” she says. “Tom even complimented my writing in the newsletter. I feel a lot more confident that in the future, if I were to be asked to write something like this, I could definitely complete it.”

Gabrielle is a rising junior at K who plans to study abroad in France in spring 2017.

She’s also looking at life after K. Because of her K internship and the exposure she’s had to the work of the MDEQ’s Water Resources Division and Environmental Education Division, she said she is interested in exploring both as possible career options.

“Interning here is prepping me for what I would do in a potential career,” she says.

McKenna Bramble ’’16
McKenna Bramble ’16


McKenna Bramble ‘16 graduated from Kalamazoo College with a B.A. degree in psychology and currently works as the post-baccalaureate summer assistant in the College’s Center for Career and Professional Development. She enjoys writing and reading poetry, hanging out with friends and eating chocolate. In the fall she plans to apply to M.F.A. degree programs for poetry. This is one of a series of profiles she is writing about K students and their summer internships.

Summer internship experiences “simply amazing” for this Kalamazoo College student

Skylar Young and Fabri-Kal Marketing Manager Emily Ewing
Skylar Young ’15 with Fabri-Kal Marketing Manager Emily Ewing in Washington, D.C.

Skylar Young ’15 is a policy intern working a summer internship in Washington, D.C. with Chris Adamo ’99, staff director for the United States Senate Committee on Agriculture, Forestry & Nutrition. Skylar’s internship was arranged through K’s Center for Career and Professional Development (CCPD). She recently sent this report to CCPD Director Joan Hawxhurst:

“I just wanted to send you and the rest of the CCPD department a thank you. Today, I had the amazing opportunity to hear Justice Elana Kagan speak to a select number of interns and then had lunch with Senator Debbie Stabenow in the Senate Dining Room.

“On the second day of my internship, the Senate Agriculture Committee held a hearing entitled “Grow it Here, Make it Here: Creating Jobs through Bio-Based Manufacturing.” The exhibition after the hearing demonstrated how bio-based products revitalize American manufacturing, and how it creates jobs for the economy.

“Chairwoman Sen. Debbie Stabenow from Michigan recognizes the integral connection between agriculture and manufacturing. Moreover, the Energy Title in the 2014 Farm Bill expanded eligible end-products to include renewable chemicals sources from biomass feedstock in the Bio-refinery Assistance Program.

“While I was perusing the exhibition to see all of the companies, I came across Fabri-Kal, a Kalamazoo-based company! I immediately went up to the spokeswoman and told her I went to Kalamazoo College.

“Here I was interning at the Senate on Capitol Hill, for not even a week, and I cannot seem to escape Kalamazoo!

“It made me feel proud to see a business from the city being represented, especially since it was representing one of the thirty innovators across the country that was leading in bio-based manufacturing. Fabri-Kal is a foodservice packaging supplier that manufactures packaging using 100% bio-based content from plant material. The company earned the USDA Certified Bio-based Product Label.”

“These experiences are simply amazing, and I would not be here without the Kalamazoo College Center for Career and Professional Development.”


A Pipeline to Talent: An Update with some Monroe-Brown Interns

Taylor Brown and Doug Phillips
Taylor Brown ’15 (left) with Doug Phillips, director of client relations at AVB

Recent Kalamazoo College graduates sometimes assume there are no opportunities in Kalamazoo for job growth, and so they move to bigger cities. This perception is often a misconception, and to help set the record straight, Joan Hawxhurst, director of the Center for Career and Professional Development, highlights an exclusive local internship opportunity.

“The Monroe-Brown Internships serve as a pipeline for thriving local businesses to access local student talent,” she said.

The program began in 2005 and is administered by the economic development organization Southwest Michigan First. Its aims are two-fold: to help companies find talented young students and to help young people pursue meaningful careers. “It’s an investment that goes both ways,” said Hawxhurst.

This year 32 students from K applied for Monroe-Brown Internships and four were selected, a robust representation for K. They are: Taylor Brown ’15 with AVB, Drew Hopper ’15 at Eaton Corporation, William Cagney ’15 at Imperial Beverage, and Stephen Oliphant ’15 at Schupan & Sons, Inc.

Hopper is a Global Product Strategy Intern at Eaton. He recently returned from studying abroad at the London School of Economics, and he finds his internship an excellent proving ground to apply and develop skills in marketing, engineering, and program management.

“Eaton stresses employee development, and everyone is open to providing outlets for personal improvement, particularly with the interns.” He has participated in presentations, meetings, research projects, and analysis-based discussions.

Brown works for Portage-based construction firm AVB. Last year she worked behind-the-scenes with the construction management company, Skanska. She finds the Monroe-Brown internship with AVB “much more hands-on,” she says. “A great deal of my work is on display, because I am responsible for writing, designing, and distributing newsletters and press-releases via print and e-mail.”

She created a slideshow presentation that plays in AVB’s foyer. And she frequently meets with the company’s Chief Operating Officer and other top executives. Like Hopper, she said she has developed confidence in presenting herself in the business world.

There are many opportunities for professional growth in Kalamazoo; just ask K’s Monroe-Brown interns.



Summertime: No Day at the Beach for these Kalamazoo College Students

K students interning in Washington, D.C.
Some of the K students interning in Washington, D.C. this summer are (l-r): Katie Clark ’16, Noah Arbit ’17, Skylar Young ’15, Kylah Simmons ’17, Natalie Cherne ’15, and Fatima Hanne ’15. Amber Whittington ’08 (far right) is Director of Operations at the United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. Amber invited the K interns to the recent Senate ice cream social.

Just as many newly minted Kalamazoo College graduates are heading into the work world, rising K sophomores, juniors, and seniors are venturing into their own workplace adventures. Steeped in a historical commitment to experiential education, the Career and Professional Development component of the K-Plan is now identified with summer “externships” and internships administered by the College’s Center for Career and Professional Development (CCPD).

During summer 2014, 50 rising K sophomores and juniors will explore new career paths as “externs” through the CCPD’s unique Discovery Extern Program that allows students to both live and work with active professionals, including K alumni, for one to four weeks.

Summer 2014 Discovery Externs spend their days alongside professionals in hospitals and health centers, law offices, schools, libraries, businesses, nature centers, and farms, and then they’ll head home together for wide-ranging “porch time” conversations.

CCPD Program Administrator Pam Sotherland has helped nurture hundreds of new connections through the program that began as a pilot in 2001.

“The value of the Discovery Externship Program lies in the opportunity for a student to live and work with an alum and through that experience forge what many participants have said will be a lifelong relationship,” said Pam.

Additionally, the CCPD’s Field Experience Program (FEP) has scores of students enrolled in internships during summer 2014. Whether students identify internships through the CCPD or on their own, all FEP interns learn about a possible career, hone transferrable skills, and build professional networks.

Ogden Wright ’16, from Jamaica, is headed to Pennsylvania to intern at the Delaware County Planning Department with alumnus Justin Dula ’99. Ogden, who plans a career in civil engineering, said he hopes “to learn, from a public sector perspective, how urban planning is organized and implemented, and to gain the knowledge and skills necessary to pursue a career in a governmental organization.”

It’s a big year for K student interns in Washington, D.C.

After working on several political campaigns, Natalie Cherne ’15, from Minnesota, hopes her summer internship in Minnesota Senator Al Franken’s Washington, D.C. office will hone her policy-writing skills.

“By applying my learning from political science classes to writing policy memoranda, taking notes at hearings, and conducting research, I will contribute to making the policies I referred to when talking with voters about issues,” she said.

Noah Arbit ’17, from West Bloomfield, Michigan is interning at the Washington, D.C.-based National Coalition Supporting Eurasian Jewry, a nongovernmental organization working to ensure the safety and nondiscrimination of Jews in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe (especially topical given unfolding events in Ukraine).

As soon as Alex Werder ’15 finishes up at his study abroad program in China, he will return to the U.S. to intern in the Washington, D.C. office of New Jersey Congressman Rush Holt.

“Rush is my congressman from New Jersey’s 12th District and I have wanted to work for him since I was old enough to know what politics was all about,” said Alex. “I could not be more thrilled to be going on this adventure this summer.”

Employers, alumni, parents, and friends of the College who would like to learn more about hosting a K intern or extern should contact the Center for Career and Professional Development at 269.337.7183 or career@kzoo.edu.

Story and photo by Joan Hawxhurst, CCPD.

Neurosurgery Internship

Brielle Bethke ’16 did an independent internship at the University of Louisville Center for Neurological Surgery. There she assisted with physical therapy, conducted data analysis, shadowed physicians and researchers, and met people with a unique outlook on life. Her work is connected to a recent CNN Health Report story about a study of the applications of electrical stimulation in spinal cord injury. Two people with whom Brielle worked are featured in the story. She worked with Dustin, a patient in the study who, at age 18, suffered a spinal cord injury in a car accident that left him paralyzed from the waist down. Dr. Susan Harkema, the head of neurological surgery at the Frazier Rehabilitation Institute, was the supervisor of Brielle’s internship. Brielle is majoring in biology and earning a minor in Spanish. She is a member of the Health Guild and will study abroad in Caceres, Spain, during her junior year.