Art and physics aren’t academic disciplines that commonly fit together. But Alexander Ogle ‘16 has a love for both, and an internship while he was a Linfield student led him into a career that combines the two.
Ogle, a physics major who minored in art and mathematics, interned at Sea Reach Ltd. in Sheridan during his senior year, working to design, produce and install interpretive exhibits for parks, trails and aquariums. When the internship ended, Sea Reach offered Ogle a full-time job.
“I’m gaining a sense for how science, engineering, art and design can intersect and influence each other,” said Ogle, a research and development scientist.
He might not have been able to make those connections if not for the internship. Stories like Ogle’s are a big reason why the Linfield office of Career Development works hard to connect students with internships, paid and unpaid, locally and nationally.
“Taking an internship helped me refine my sense for what I like to do and what I can see myself doing in the future,” Ogle said. At the moment, he’s designing an interactive exhibit for the Oregon Coast Aquarium which incorporates elements of electrical and mechanical design. For another project, he’s writing a computer application using machine vision to simulate how fish seek shade.
For Rosa Johnson ’17, a mass communication major, a summer internship with the Port of Seattle proved similarly “life changing.” She worked with the public affairs department, splitting time between the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and the Port’s headquarters in downtown Seattle. She shot photos, wrote press releases and created web pages.
Not only did Johnson add real-world experience to her resume, she learned about being successful in the work world.
“I got a lot of experiences that took me outside of the office,” she said. “That made me realize that it's more about the people you work with.”
Eighty-two percent of Linfield graduates complete at least one internship or other field experience before graduating. That’s a big reason why nine out of 10 alumni are employed or enrolled in graduate school within a year of graduation.
Students also bring insights from the work world back to the classroom.
“It's important for students to apply their liberal arts experience in the field and then integrate what they’ve learned back in the classroom,” said Michael Hampton, the college’s director of career development.
Sometimes, those internships are paid. Often, they’re not. To help students in those cases, Linfield last year helped arrange more than $72,000 for student internships through grants, scholarships and specialized programs, among them the Kemper Scholars Program, First Federal Internship Program, the Debbie Olsen Endowed Scholarship, the AHA! Mellon Foundation grant and the Linfield College Career Development Impact Fund.