Largest Group of Freeman Asia Interns Set for Work Abroad

Freeman Asia interns (front row, from left): Kasie Floden, Josephina Blumberg, Lisa Cheng, Christina Fitsalos, Giana Biddle, Chase Bandolik, Christopher Collins, Nathan Newman. (second row, from left): Payton Letko, Megan Zsorey, Ojaswee Shrestha, Linh Le, Ngan Pham, Ruihan Li, Sean O’Carroll, Sara Dust. (Third row, from left): Jacob Morris, Shenyu (Cooper) Lyu, Kim Do, Katie Cevaal, Randi Wilson, Qingying Huang. (Fourth row, from left): Brock Taylor, Lindsey Peters, Shravya Bommaveddi, Annika Anderson. (Top row, from left): Laurence Henderson, Jillian Runyon, Ross Hettinger.

May 16, 2017

BLOOMINGTON, Ill.— The largest group of IWU Freeman Asia interns in the program’s three-year history will begin their assignments this month, thanks to the continued funding of a $400,000 grant from the Freeman Foundation.

Thirty-four students — double the number of Illinois Wesleyan students participating in 2015 — will intern at one of 14 sites in Asia. The Freeman Foundation grant covers airfare, housing, a living allowance, and all internship placement and visa costs for the students.

The expansion of the program this year has many highlights, according to Professor of Sociology Teddy Amoloza, who has served as director of the program from its inception. This year 11 students will travel to Japan and will work at one of seven sites, compared to two sites last year. New internship sites have been added in Hong Kong and in the Philippines. And for the first time this year, the Freeman Foundation has allowed international students to participate in the program provided the internship site is not in their home country.

“I am thrilled at the continued student interest in this program,” said Amoloza. “This is largely due to faculty support in promoting this internship and to the returnees who encourage their fellow students to check out the opportunity. Recent graduates cite their experiences in Asia as the highlight of their undergraduate career. On the other side, our partners in Asia are very pleased with our students and they continue to work with us on this program.”  

Psychology and biology double major Randi Wilson ’18 (Elmhurst, Ill.) will intern at the Food and Nutrition Research Institute in Manila, a site that continues from last year. “I will be assisting with the planning and execution of forums and seminars on technology in the Business Development Unit,” said Wilson. 

She said she could not afford to study abroad without the Freeman opportunity. The program’s summer timetable was also appealing, Wilson said. “I hope to gain a variety of different experiences this summer,” she said. “It will definitely be an eye-opening experience.”

Joining Wilson at the Food and Nutrition Research Institute ­— Shravya Bommaveddi ’18 (biology major from Bloomington, Ill.), Kathryn Halford ’19 (English-writing major from Springfield, Ill.), Shenyu (Cooper) Lyu ’19 (biology major from Dalian, China), and Ross Hettinger ’18 (English-writing major from Eureka, Ill.);

Other sites that continue from previous years and the students selected for those sites this year include:

International Rice Research Institute, Philippines — Annika Anderson ’18 (biology major from Groveland, Ill.), Giana Biddle ’18 (chemistry and biology double major from Lombard, Ill.), Kim Do ’18 (biology major from Saint Paul, Minn.), Megan Dolan ’19 (biology major from Bloomington, Ill.), Ojaswee Shrestha ’18 (environmental studies major from Bhaktapur, Nepal), Brock Taylor ’18 (biology major from Mattoon, Ill.);

Gawad Kalinga Enchanted Farm, Philippines — Katie Cevaal ’18 (environmental studies major from Glen Ellyn, Ill.), Laurence Henderson ’18 (environmental studies major from Peoria Heights, Ill.), Jacob Morris ’18 (environmental studies major from Chicago), Jillian Runyon ’19 (biology major in pre-veterinary track from Pekin, Ill.);

Human Nature, Manila — Christopher Collins ’18 (economics major from Arlington Heights, Ill.) and Nathan Newman ’19 (economics major from DeKalb, Ill.);

Technos International College, Tokyo — Payton Letko ’19 (English literature major from Toulon, Ill.);

New internship sites this year and their interns include:

Shiro Oni Studio, an arts collective in Onishi, Japan ­— Chase Bandolik ’19 (business administration, marketing concentration from Mount Prospect, Ill.) and Christina Fitsalos ’19 (business administration and voice double major from Naperville, Ill.);

Kanda University of International Studies, Chiba, Japan — Qingying Huang ’18 (psychology major from Beijing, China);

Second Harvest Japan, Tokyo — Lisa Cheng ’19 (psychology and sociology double major from Vernon Hills, Ill.) and Ngan Pham ’19 (biology major from Chicago);

Friends of Earth Japan, Tokyo — Ruihan Li ’19 (business management major from Huangshi City, China);

Mizuno Corporation, a sporting goods manufacturer in Osaka, Japan — Sara Dust ’19 (business administration, marketing concentration major from Chicago) and Sean O’Carroll ’18 (international business major from Arlington Heights, Ill.);  

World Friendship Center, a bed and breakfast with a peace mission in Hiroshima, Japan — Lindsey Peters ’19 (environmental studies and Hispanic Studies double major from Chesterfield, Mo.) and Josephina Blumberg ’19 (international studies major from Normal, Ill.)

Mission for Migrant Workers, a nonprofit in Hong Kong — Ann Crumbaugh ’19 (political science and economics double major from Le Roy, Ill. and Olivia Heffernan ’18 (political science and economics double major from Fisher, Ill.);

Make-a-Difference Travel, Philippines — Kasie Floden ’18 (psychology major from McHenry, Ill.) and Savanna Steck ’18 (English-writing major from Frankfort, Ill.);

EarthRights International, Thailand — Linh Le ’19 (interdisciplinary education studies and psychology double major from Hanoi, Vietnam) and Megan Zsorey ’19 (international studies and political science double major from Chandler, Ariz.). 

The Freeman Foundation works to strengthen the bonds of friendship between the United States and countries of east Asia. The $400,000 grant, received in 2016 and payable over two years, is the second internship grant received from the Freeman Foundation, which maintains offices in New York and Honolulu. Amoloza has worked closely with Hart Career Center staff and the International Office, and with Asian Studies and International Studies faculty to implement the IWU Freeman Asia internship program.