BLOOMINGTON, Ill.— While searching for internship possibilities, Evan Mok-Lamme ’17
found the perfect opportunity at Karis Community, a transitional nonprofit for individuals
recovering from serious and persistent mental illness. Mok-Lamme believed he’d be
able to work throughout the Denver-based organization, learning all aspects of running
The only problem? The 10-week internship was unpaid.
But thanks to support from members of the Illinois Wesleyan University Class of 1970,
Mok-Lamme accepted the internship, where he gained experience in areas ranging from
grant writing to using outreach assessment tools at a homeless youth drop-in center.
“I was astonished how much I was able to do in just one summer,” Mok-Lamme said. “If
I had taken an internship with another organization, I am confident I would not have
been able to work in such a variety of environments.”
A native of Grand Junction, Colo., Mok-Lamme was already familiar with Karis before
applying for an internship with the organization. He was hopeful an internship would
provide him with the opportunity to work in several different areas of the organization.
One of his most significant tasks included work on a grant proposal. Mok-Lamme’s contributions
included writing the program narratives of several Karis facilities for the proposal,
which was successfully granted.
He also planned two special events, including a grand opening for a dairy. Seventy-five
percent of the dairy’s workers are Karis youth. Mok-Lamme also received training in
motivational interviewing, trauma-informed care, de-escalation techniques and conflict
resolution for his work at the nonprofit’s 12-bed emergency teen shelter and downtown
Grand Junction drop-in center.
“My internship experience would not have been possible without the funding I received
from the Fund for Human Rights, Environmental Sustainability and Social Justice,”
said Mok-Lamme, an International Studies major.
Landon Piccatto ’17 also received a stipend for his internship closer to home. He
spent the summer working on development of a Social Justice and Diversity room at
The Ames Library. Piccatto said the room will provide a space to showcase the history
of social justice and diversity at Illinois Wesleyan. A history major, Piccatto spent his summer combing through Illinois Wesleyan’s University Archives
and digging through online newspaper sources. He produced a timeline that matched
key Illinois Wesleyan people and occurrences with national or state events relating
to social justice. In the process, he discovered some of the people who walked the
grounds of Illinois Wesleyan before him – people like Sigmund Livingston, School of
Law Class of 1883, who founded the Anti-Defamation League in 1913; Arnold Diggs, who
was an early member of the NAACP; and Phill Wilson ’77, founder of the Black AIDS
“I think people will see there is a lot of history at Illinois Wesleyan in this field,”
Piccatto said of IWU student and alumni contributions to social justice.
He said the internship provided an opportunity for hands-on archival research. In
addition to several Illinois Wesleyan faculty and staff, he also tapped the expertise
of McLean County Museum of History Archivist Bill Kemp. “All of these people taught
me to be a better researcher,” said Piccatto. “This networking was really crucial
to my success, and also helped me to better understand what I want to do in the future.”
Because of the $1,500 stipend, he chose The Ames Library internship because “it was
something I wanted to do and something I ended up really enjoying,” he said. “I didn’t
have to take a different internship just to have a resume builder.”
Throughout this academic year the Center for Human Rights and Social Justice will
offer up to $5,000 in individual stipends to qualified students who complete internships
in the appropriate thematic areas. Internships are just one example of experiential
learning opportunities for students at Illinois Wesleyan — 66 percent of recent graduates
report completing at least one internship experience during their time as students.