Whittier College Helps Students Find Internships Coast to Coast

July 19, 2023

Duncan Smith stands next to Samuel Holliday at the United States Capitol Historical Society.

For Whittier students Annakaren Gonzalez and Duncan Smith, the summer months may mean a break from studies on campus, but not from furthering their college education.

Like many Whittier students, Gonzalez and Smith are staying busy with coast-to-coast internships and gaining vocational experience. Both Gonzalez and Smith credit the Center for Career and Professional Development for preparing them for their internships, in addition to alumni, professors and coursework.

Rising junior Gonzalez of Baldwin Park, California, has been interning at Professional Physical Therapy Associates in Whittier since May. The kinesiology major is interested in physical therapy because of her personal experience as an athlete. Gonzalez is currently on the women’s outdoor track and field team for Whittier, and has engaged in taekwondo and wrestling.

“In high school I learned that you can't recover from certain injuries on your own. You need help,” Gonzalez said. “Seeing how physical therapy is a method of health care and helps a person in so many ways is great.”

While she comes from an athletic background, Gonzalez was attracted to Professional Physical Therapy because of the variety of services the business offers — from geriatric and pediatric care to hand therapy. Gonzalez said she appreciates how it has expanded her worldview.

A highlight for Gonzalez has been assisting Spanish-speaking patients. By her second week, Gonzalez said, she was going over exercises with patients one on one.

Duncan Smith just finished his freshman year and has already got the ball rolling on his future with an internship at the United States Capitol Historical Society. Originally from the D.C. area, Smith is spending his summer teaching others about the history of the Capitol building and more.

A double major in political science and history, Smith said the internship is helping him hone in on his future career path. He’s gaining responsibility as the weeks go on, and soon he hopes to be giving tours of the historic building — where he’s run into elected officials such as Rep. Kevin McCarthy and Sens. Chuck Schumer and Jon Ossoff.

“I think it is a really valuable experience,” Smith said of school internships. “It is certainly beneficial to advancing your career. I would encourage everyone to do it.”

To learn more about internships, students can head to the Center for Career and Professional Development on the first floor of College Hall, email careercenter@whittier.edu, or call 562.907.4230.