By Laura Tuggle Anderson ’98
THE MORE THE MERRIER
Veterinarian and owner of Tri-State Veterinary Center in Huntington, West Virginia, Dr. Jacqueline Chevalier ’01 intended to host one, maybe two, Hollins interns this past January. How did she end up with four? The pre-vet students who interviewed for the internship—Angela Feiring ’15, Julia Habighorst ’17, Jessica Kingrea ’17, and Tina Lehmann ’17—were so outstanding, Chevalier says, “[I decided] if I could arrange it, I would have them all.”
“This internship was absolutely perfect for me,” says Feiring, who is applying to veterinary schools. To Habighorst, “This was a good chance for me to see if small animal was what I want to do [as a vet].” The four interns assisted Chevalier’s 24 staff members, helped with the animals and clients, and learned from the vets on staff.
“We were shorthanded the last week,” Chevalier says, “so the interns were able to really jump in, help prep with anesthesia for surgery, and do even more.”
“It has helped me decide that I really want to do this,” says Lehmann. “I’m working with live animals, not diagrams.” Kingrea “realized it was more difficult than I thought it would be, but that just makes me want to do it even more.”
Chevalier and her staff also benefited from the interns. “My staff was really happy to have them. Other interns we’ve had were not as helpful. We really missed them after they left!”
Not only did Chevalier host four interns in her clinic, she also opened her home to two of them, while the other two stayed with her mother-in-law next door. All four often had dinner at Chevalier’s house, along with her husband and their two children. “I just thought, the more the merrier,” says Chevalier.
“If you can’t give a lot of money to Hollins, you can give your time, which is just as valuable,” she says. She suggests to alumnae pondering hosting an intern: “Open your heart, open your mind, and remember how you felt in college. If I can do it with a five-month-old, a five-year-old, a farm with horses and chickens, and a busy vet clinic, you can too!”
Growing up in Jamaica, Brittany-Marie “Bree” Aarons ’16 had seen neighbors and relatives with autism or Down syndrome, but resources for those individuals were lacking. As she learned more, Aarons’ passion for working with people with autism or Down syndrome grew.
At the First Step ceremony last fall (when seniors take their first step on the grass of Front Quad), President Gray mentioned some outstanding alumnae, including Elizabeth “Betsy” Fentress Goodwin ’69, founder of the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS).
Aarons, chair of Student Conduct Council and a psychology major minoring in dance, perked up upon hearing the Hollins alumnae connection. “The next day I jetted to President Gray’s office,” she says, seeking a January Term internship with NDSS. After she interviewed with the Washington, D.C., office, the New York headquarters offered her an internship.
NDSS is a nonprofit organization committed to being the national advocate for the value, acceptance, and inclusion of people with Down syndrome. The organization was founded in 1979, after Goodwin and her husband, Barton, had their daughter, Carson, and discovered limited resources and support for parents of a child with Down syndrome.
“We have had many interns over the years from NYU and Columbia, and this January’s Hollins interns proved every bit as impressive,” Goodwin says. [Natalie Rambis ’16 interned in the D.C. office.] “Bree was a very positive and enthusiastic addition to NDSS.”
By the third day of her internship, Aarons was entrusted with translating the entire NDSS website into Spanish. Aarons often worked with NDSS Goodwill Ambassador Chris Burke, best known for his role as Corky on the television show Life Goes On, as well as with Betsy’s daughter, Carson.
“I was given the opportunity to do so much, and such a variety of things,” said Aarons, who was able to do some research on blood cancers and Down syndrome. She was surprised to discover that research is thin on racially or ethnically diverse groups with Down syndrome or autism. To Goodwin, Aarons’ “experience at NDSS will be an important influence on what she decides to do. I like to think she might end up in the disability world. She would be a great addition to the field.”
Aarons remains passionate about dance and is interested in teaching adaptive dance to children with Down syndrome, too. “The internship changed my perspective on what I want to do. I won’t limit myself to one career goal.”
Katherine “Kay” Kendall ’66 spent months sifting through her contacts in Washington, D.C., to obtain an internship for a Hollins student. Her diligence paid off: She secured one at Arena Stage, one of America’s major regional theatres.
Tara Adelberg ’17 came to Hollins with no intention of pursuing a career in theatre, instead wanting to become a forensic psychologist and writer. Her student employee position in the Hollins Theatre got her hooked, however, and she’s been involved in every production since her first year. With the encouragement of theatre professor Ernie Zulia, Adelberg applied and was selected for the signature internship.
“The internship exceeded my expectations,” says Adelberg, who worked as a production assistant with the professional stage management team at Arena Stage. “It was baptism by fire. I started just before tech week [the week before opening night of a play when all the technical elements are put in rehearsal for the first time, also called “torture week”], but that busy time was my favorite,” she says.
Adelberg felt welcomed and challenged at Arena Stage, and she discovered more Hollins connections in addition to Kendall. One of Arena Stage’s carpenters is Tenisha Reaves ’13, and two other alumnae from the class of 2013 also work in Washington, D.C., theatres: Holly Milch and Rebecca Pfeil.
“Being part of the Hollins family, I vowed to be not just a coworker but a confidante and friend to Tara,” says Reaves. Milch observes, “I think Hollins Theatre creates a pretty tight community, even across class years.”
“The three alumnae were really amazing,” says Adelberg. “It was like a piece of home, a piece of Hollins there.”
“The alumnae network really helps people succeed,” Reaves says. “We still talk, so the connection didn’t end just because her internship is over.” Pfeil is impressed with the effectiveness of the Hollins network: “It’s wonderful to see the alumnae connections at work after having graduated only two years ago.”
Laura Anderson is director of alumnae and donor communications.
A hallmark of Hollins’ career preparation for students is the alumnae network. You can build on the network’s success by hosting an intern at your business or that of your spouse, sharing your home with a student during January, or giving money to support internship stipends and housing. Every alumna can share the gift of her experience with students. You are not just a career contact. You are a lasting connection.