Recent TWU grads step straight into the boardroom

Langley, British Columbia—While their classmates may have relocated to pursue other interests, this fall, five Trinity Western University graduates have been given a significant opportunity that will keep them in Langley. The five have returned to Trinity Western to become colleagues of the University’s president. For the next eight months, the graduates will make up TWU’s president’s intern team, a recent initiative that will take them to work on high-end projects and learn from the University’s president and senior leaders.

“They’re given a tremendous amount of responsibility,” says Doreen Demers, a TWU graduate who co-ordinates the intern program. “The university’s senior executives are developing the leadership potential of the interns—welcoming them into their boardrooms, cabinet meetings and decision-making processes, and giving the interns the chance to question why the leaders make the decisions they do.”

TWU intern Jennifer Hamel, who spent her summer in Ottawa working for MP Grant Hill, will be tied even closer to the capital city this year as she participates in the initial research and development for the anticipated TWU centre for leadership in Ottawa. The University’s recent purchase of a heritage building near Parliament Hill may serve as the centre’s residence. She will work on the initiative with Don Page, a former foreign policy analyst and speechwriter for the federal government who now serves as the executive director for the centre.

“Having an understanding of leadership from the classes I took from Dr. Page really helped me when I worked in Ottawa this summer,” said Hamel. “I look forward to having the chance to work with him on this project. This is an exciting opportunity to apply what I have learned to a new initiative in experiential post-secondary education.”

RJ Carr, who graduated with a degree in international studies, will have the opportunity to directly apply his degree, as he is scheduled to travel to Tibet in October to work on a Trinity Western initiative. The initiative involves establishing a teaching partnership between Trinity Western, a U.S. English language school, nine Tibetan universities and the Tibetan government.

The three additional interns, Krista Joy Johnson, James Klukas and Maria VanderWoerd will work on projects ranging from developing video productions and marketing strategies to conducting focus groups, campus planning and financial research for the University.

“I think the projects the University’s leaders are giving the interns demonstrates a commitment to developing the interns’ leadership skills in practical and tangible ways,” says Demers.

The president’s intern program began four years ago when two TWU graduates looking to be mentored by the University’s top leaders approached President Neil Snider with the idea. He took them up on the challenge.

“Their proposal struck a chord with my own experience,” says President Snider. “I’ve always learned through doing. I think it’s a great opportunity for these graduates, and I know it’s good for the institution and for the University’s leadership team.”

For Krista Joy Johnson, the internship program provides a safe place to gain confidence and knowledge of the professional world. “I’m impressed by their willingness to give us so much responsibility, to be open, and to invest in us,” says Johnson. “And I’m excited that they are willing to listen to our ideas and get fresh perspectives.”

Trinity Western University, located in Langley, B.C., is a privately funded Christian liberal arts university enrolling 2,850 students this year. With a broad-based, liberal arts and sciences curriculum, the University offers undergraduate degrees in 34 major areas ranging from business, education and computer science to biology and nursing, and 12 graduate degrees including counselling psychology, theology and administrative leadership.

Last Updated: 2012-08-21
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