Seal Rehab to Earthquake Relief: What Funded Interns Did Last Summer

With an audience of career planning advisors, selection committee members, and many of their peers, one might assume that a recent dinner to recognize student fellows risked stodginess or reluctant small talk. But voices were raised to the room’s high, paneled ceiling as the students chatted about the last few months to tablemates.

The dinner, organized by Career Planning, was a celebration and recognition of the 50 students who received grants from Bowdoin to do a variety of internships and projects this summer. This funded-internship program each year awards grants to students in a competitive process, allowing them to pursue internships and other opportunities without having to worry about earning money.

At one table, senior Elizabeth Miller spoke about working in Massachusetts at the National Marine Life Center, where she helped rehabilitate injured seals and sea turtles and educated visitors. “Bath time was amazing,” she recalled. You can read a blog post she wrote about her experience.

Miller explained that she came to Bowdoin obsessed with elephants and determined to go to veterinary school. A semester spent abroad working with big game in Tanzania affirmed her desire to care for animals. Her recent summer with seals – most notably a shark-bite victim named Diane – additionally revealed a particular interest in helping sea creatures that have been impacted by climate change.


Around 6 p.m. dining service staff set up the buffet line. Soft rolls and butter, broccoli, and haddock laced with citrus draw the crowd to the back of the room. (Bowdoin logs came later). Ida Cortez ’20, who had selected the vegetarian option, returned to her table and began describing her experience working for a judge in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal of Louisiana.

The fifth circuit covers New Orleans, where Cortez was born and went to high school. In between those two events, her teacher parents settled in states across the US, from the deep South to San Francisco. What remained fixed throughout every move was Cortez’s love of physics, and with crafting scientific arguments out of rules and axioms. This focus shifted, however, once she was exposed to the liberal arts.

“At Bowdoin, I realized I didn’t want to work in abstracts,” she said. “Law is similar to physics but it is based in precedent instead of theory, making room for interpretation.” After the presidential election, Cortez realized she wanted to dedicate her career to helping make change happen, not just thinking behind a closed door. She is now a math and history double major and dreams of working for the Southern Poverty Law Center, a nonprofit that fights against discrimination and bigotry with litigation, education, and advocacy.

Ida Cortez ’18 at the Fifth Circuit Court in New Orleans

The Bowdoin logs come out after Dighton Spooner, a career-planning advisor, brought everyone to focus and invited students to share with the room what they did with their grant.

Cortez was the last to stand up and talk, after Ruilin Yang ’20 spoke about the venture capital accelerator she worked at in Shanghai and Taipei, and Ben Painter ’19 shared stories from his time delivering hundreds of thousands of dollars from a Czech relief fund across earthquake-struck regions of Nepal.

Ben Painter ’19 interned for People in Need Nepal & Axium Education

Cortez lit up as she talked about Judge Fredericka Wicker and the personal guidance the judge gave her. As a side project atop normal intern duties, she researched disability education practices in Louisiana.

Career Planning’s email invitation for the event warned no one to prepare a speech, but each student’s enthusiasm came through the eloquence of their answers to what is usually an obligatory small-talk prompt: “What did you do last summer?”

2017 Career Planning Funded Internship Recipients

  • Ava Alexander ’18: Early Childhood Cognition Lab, University of Washington, Seattle WA
  • Maurice Asare ’19: Innocence Project, New York, NY 
  • Anuoluwapo Asaolu ’19: Bellevue Hospital, New York, NY
  • Sydney Avitia-Jacques ’18: Environmental Health Strategy Center / Prevent Harm, Portland, ME
  • Anna Blaustein ’19: St. Mary’s Nutrition Center, Lewiston, ME
  • Charlotte Borden ’19″ Maine Coastal Regional Reentry Center, Belfast, ME
  • Miles Brautigam ’19: Space Gallery, Portland, ME
  • William Britton ’18: Bellevue Hospital, New York, NY
  • Max Byron ’19: Planned Parenthood of New England, Portland, ME
  • Kevin Cheng ’19: Cultural Survival, Cambridge, MA
  • Ida Cortez ’20: Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal, State of Louisiana, Gretna, LA
  • Luca DeAngelis ’20: American Civil Liberties Union of Maine, Portland, ME
  • Christopher De Los Angeles Avina ’19: Northwoods Wildlife Center, Minocqua, WI
  • Camille Farradas ’19: Artnet Worldwide Corporation, New York, NY
  • Augustus Gilchrist ’20: Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies, Republic of Georgia
  • Elena Gleed ’18:HIAS Refuge Organization, Silver Spring, MD
  • Alexa Grey ’19: Maine Volunteer Lawyer’s Project, Portland, ME
  • Catherine Hanson ’19: YSC Sports Marketing, Wayne, PA
  • Carlos Holguin ’19: Child, Youth, Office of the Chief Social Worker N.Z., Wellington, New Zealand
  • Darlene Ineza ’19: Partners in Health, Rwanda
  • Jeff Joseph ’19: Harvard School of Public Health and Bowdoin Department of Mathematics, Boston, MA
  • Ryan Keefe ’18: Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Chestnut Hill, MA
  • Madeleine King ’19: Cultivating Community, Lisbon, ME
  • Samuel Kyzivat ’18: Maine Youth Orchestra, Portland, ME
  • Marshall Lanrum ’18: University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, Minneapolis, MN
  • Swapnika Mallipeddi ’19: Abhyasa Vidyalayam: Deepa Memorial Charitable Trust, Andhra Pradesh, India
  • Elizabeth Miller ’18: The National Marine Life Center, Buzzards Bay, MA
  • Surya Milner ’19: The Times Record, Brunswick, ME
  • Daniel Miro-Chinea ’19: Gulf Coast Legal Services, St. Petersburg, FL
  • Emilie Montgomery ’18: The BOMA Project, Nanjuki, Kenya
  • Francis Navarro ’19: Dentons Munoz, Guatamala City, Guatamala
  • Martinique Ogle ’18: Boston Children’s Hospital, Boston, MA
  • Oluwatobi Omola ’19: Warner Music Group, New York, NY
  • Ben Painter ’19: People in Need Nepal & Axium Education, Nepal & South Africa
  • Mathew Pascale ’18: Office of Congressman Patrick Meehan, Washington, DC
  • Amanda Perkins ’18: Center for the Study of Global Christianity, South Hamilton, MA
  • Claire Phillips ’19: Consortium for Energy Efficiency, Boston, MA
  • Dana Pierce ’19: The Department of Astronomy at Columbia University, New York, NY
  • Ellis Price ’19: Dana Warp Mill, Westbrook, ME
  • Ezra Rice ’19: Office of United States Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Washington, DC
  • Theo Richards ’19: Southwark Brewery, London, England
  • Emily Ruby ’19: Democratic National Committee, Washington, DC
  • Raquel Santizo ’19: The Representation Project, San Francisco, CA
  • Mackenzie Schaffer ’19: Soluciones Generales de Ingeniería S.L., Zaragoza, Spain
  • Jacob Stein ’19: Poin, Inc., New York, NY
  • Cordelia Stewart ’19: Pure Water for the World, Inc., Rutland, VT
  • Ben Torda ’18: Chemical and Biological Engineering Department, Colorado School of Mines, Golden, CO
  • Ruilin Yang ’20: SOSV (Chinaccelerator), Shanghai, China
  • James Young ’20: Harlem Lacrosse, Boston, MA
  • Senay Yibrah ’19: Year Up, Boston, MA

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