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Freeman Asia Program Sends Largest Group of Interns Abroad

June 1, 2018

Freeman Asia Group
Front row: Katherine Henebry, Ziyao Chen, Sydney Rowley, Shiqi Wang, Emma Asta, Lauren Yep, Nitsueh Kebere; Second row: Elizabeth Rodriguez, Teagan Potter, Jessica Keen, Emily Asselmeier, Haila Hasan, Tera Wilson, Eva Nautiyal; Third row: Micah Smith, Nathan Vartivarian, Grant Park, Michael Modaff, Tulasi Jaladi, Chaepter Negro, Emily Erdmann, Madeline Gibson, Amber Gauthier; Back row: Ted Yap, Nicholas Brune, Min Hyuk Kim, Jonathan Recchia, Christopher Hokanson; Not pictured: Nathan Addis, Nicole Borgetti, Amanda Breeden, Phillip Duda, Connor May, Monica Munoz, Veronica Torres Luna, Elisabeth William

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. — A group of 36 IWU Freeman Asia interns – the most in the program’s four-year history at Illinois Wesleyan University – will spend the summer working at 16 internship sites in four countries across Asia, thanks to the renewal of a $400,000 grant from the Freeman Foundation.

Continued funding covers airfare, housing, a living allowance and all internship placement and visa costs for each student. Professor of Sociology Teddy Amoloza, who has directed the program since its inception in 2015, has worked to continue its growth by securing four new internship sites this year.

“I am very pleased to provide this opportunity to IWU students,” Amoloza said. “Seeing students return to campus with a broader perspective of the world and a richer personal and professional experience is truly very gratifying. This is indeed a transformative experience for them. We have seen students go back to Asia to study abroad along with students who go back to Asia after graduation to work. Running this program takes a lot of work and assistance from various sectors of the campus, but we all derive a great deal of satisfaction seeing the ‘breakthrough’ in our students’ lives.”

The application for the Freeman Asia program is open to all IWU sophomore and junior students, both domestic and international, from all majors. Most internships will run from the beginning of June to the beginning of August, and for many students, participation in Freeman Asia marks their first extended professional experience abroad.

“I think travelling to the Philippines will give me a chance to become more independent and start to realize my goals of experiencing more of the cultures the world has to offer,” said biology major Jessica Keen ’20. “I know interning at the International Rice Research Institute will allow me to interact more closely with Filipino culture and even open doors to other formative experiences down the road.”

When imagining the prospect of spending a summer halfway across the world in Japan, English major Nathan Vartivarian ’20 shared, “I expect it will be tough at first, adjusting to all the unique aspects of living there, but I hope to gain a lot of knowledge about not only Japan, but life in general.”

Locations that continue from previous years and the students selected this year include:

Kanda University of International Studies - Self-Access Learning Center in Chiba, Japan — Emma Asta ’20 (psychology major from Wheaton, Ill.);

Second Harvest Japan, a food-banking organization in Tokyo, Japan — Mary Amanda Breeden ’20 (sociology and women’s and gender studies double major from Normal, Ill.) and Christopher Hokanson ’19 (chemistry major from Lisle, Ill.);

Shiro Oni Studio, an arts collective in Onishi, Japan — Nathan Addis ’20 (financial services major from Kewanee, Ill.) and Elisabeth Williams ’20 (vocal performance major from Mercer Island, Wash.);

Technos International College in Tokyo, Japan — Nathan Vartivarian ’20 (English-Writing major from Arlington Heights, Ill.);

World Friendship Center, a bed and breakfast with a peace mission in Hiroshima, Japan — Ziyao Chen ’19 (accounting major from Beijing, China);

Mission for Migrant Workers, a nonprofit in Hong Kong — Phillip Duda ’19 (music and political science double major from Barrington, Ill.) and Sydney Rowley ’20 (psychology major from Schaumburg, Ill.);

EarthRights International, a nonprofit organization in defense of human rights and the environment in Chiang Mai, Thailand — Eva Nautiyal ’20 (computer science major from Indore, India) and Tera Wilson ’20 (environmental studies major from Lombard, Ill.);

Make-A-Difference (MAD) Travel, a sustainable social tourism platform based in Angat, Bulacan, Philippines — Emily Asselmeier ’20 (environmental studies major from Wheaton, Ill.), Nicole Borgetti ’19 (business administration major from Diamond, Ill.) and Micah Smith ’20 (design, technology & entrepreneurship major from Springfield, Ill.);

Food & Nutrition Research Institute, a government institute in Metro Manila, Philippines:

  • Knowledge Diffusion — Nitsueh Kebere ’19 (biology major from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia);
  • Nutrition & Monitoring Division — Tulasi Jaladi ’20 (biology major from Bloomington, Ill.) and Grant Park ’19 (biology major from Wilmette, Ill.);
  • Technology, Transfer & Commercialization — Nicholas Brune ’19 (financial services major from Mundelein, Ill.) and Tec Yan (Ted) Yap ’20 (mathematics major from Talmage, California)

Human Nature, a natural cosmetics and personal care products producer in Quezon City, Philippines — Elizabeth Rodriguez ’19 (international business major from Chicago) and Veronica Torres Luna ’19 (political science major from Chicago);

Human Nature in Santa Rosa, Philippines — Katherine Henebry ’19 (business administration, marketing concentration and environmental studies double major from Springfield, Ill.) and Monica Munoz ’19 (financial services major from Chicago);

International Rice Research Institute - Laboratories, an institution that trains scientists and researchers in Los Baños, Philippines — Emily Erdmann ’19 (biology major from Stevens Point, Wis.), Madeline Gibson ’19 (biology and hispanic studies double major from Neoga, Ill.) and Lauren Yep ’20 (chemistry major from Glenview, Ill.);

International Rice Research Institute - Sustainable Impact Platform — Jessica Keen ’20 (biology major from Geneva, Ill.) and Chaepter Negro ’19 (anthropology major from New Berlin, Ill.)

New locations and their interns include:

Aoyama Gakuin University - Chat Room in Tokyo, Japan — Michael Modaff ’19 (computer science major from Lincoln, Ill), Shiqi Wang ’20 (interdisciplinary education studies and business administration double major from Shenzhen, China) and Min Hyuk (Daniel) Kim ’20 (international studies and economics double major from Seoul, South Korea);

So Easy, a public relations and marketing firm, with an emphasis on social media, based in Tokyo, Japan — Connor May ’19 (international business major from Lafayette, Colo.):

Mekong Migration Network, a coalition of advocacy organizations headquartered in Chiang Mai, Thailand — Amber Gauthier ’20 (economics and psychology double major from Westmont, Ill.) and Haila Hassan ’19 (psychology major from Chicago);

Circle Hostel, part of a chain of budget-friendly eco-hostels located in Baler, Aurora, Philippines — Teagan Potter ’19 (international studies major from Edwardsville, Ill.) and Jonathan Recchia ’20 (English-Writing major from Chicago).

By Rachel McCarthy ’21