University of Vermont

Whitcomb Scholarships Awarded to Five Students Pursuing Internships

Whitcomb winners
Award winners clockwise from top left: Pax Templeton, Sammie Ibrahim, Jay Niroula, Samuel Shuster and Jamie Sharken.

Five UVM students have been awarded Anna Whitcomb Internship Scholarships, given to students who intend to participate in a career-related opportunity and need financial assistance in order to accept an unpaid internship.

The award, administered by UVM’s Career Center, is courtesy of Anna Whitcomb, a 1973 UVM alumna. Whitcomb has dedicated her life to serving others, starting with her service as a volunteer in the United States Peace Corps in the Philippines and continuing in her work as a career counselor and career coach assisting college graduates, returned Peace Corps volunteers and those who have participated in community and mission-based work.

Preference is given to undergraduates pursuing internships that promote the common good and are with mission-based/non-profit organizations. This year’s winners of the awards, up to $2,375 each, include:

  • Sameera “Sammie” Ibrahim, a geography and political science double-major from Arkansas. In the four semesters that she has been at UVM, Ibrahim has taken advantage of myriad opportunities both on and off campus. Ibrahim writes for the Cynic as an opinion columnist, is currently doing research on refugee transportation issues, has worked as an outreach and research intern with Local Motion (a Burlington non-profit that promotes people-powered transportation), and is the Amnesty International student activist coordinator for the state of Vermont. She is now setting her sights higher: her next endeavor will be working as the Middle East/Central Eurasia transparency and accountability intern with the Center for International Policy (CIP) in Washington, D.C. She will be helping CIP do research on security policy by tracking security news in the region, reading reports and analysis and finding government data.
  • Sanjaya “Jay” Niroula, a junior in the College of Nursing and Health Sciences. Originally from Nepal, Niroula came to Vermont while in High School and decided to pursue a career in nursing. As a third year nursing student, he has done clinical rotations at the maternity ward and pediatric floor, and has the opportunity to act as an interpreter with Nepali patients. Niroula is eager to continue his direct patient care experience, and has applied for a competitive externship at Fletcher Allen where he will work as an licensed nursing aid. This opportunity will provide him with direct patient care experience. Outside of class, Niroula has worked as a resident assistant for the past two years and serves as the secretary of the ALANA GEAR Club, an outdoor-focused program that works to give ALANA (African, Latino, Asian, Native American) students wilderness and leadership skills.
  • Jamie Sharken, a global studies major and women and gender studies minor, who plans to graduate in December 2014. Sharken’s internship will take place with Mujeres 2000, which is a non-government organization (NGO) in Buenos Aires, Argentina with a mission to promote community development in low-income neighborhoods. This community development is fostered through workshops, academic scholarships, micro credit loans, and educational teach-ins. This will not be Sharken’s first time in Argentina ­­– she has already spent three semesters studying abroad there, but hopes that this trip will allow her to gain knowledge about the inner workings of non-profit organizations, international development and women’s rights initiatives. At Mujeres 2000, Sharken plans to conduct participatory action research, assist with fundraising and the business side of the NGO, help with trainings and work in community organizing.
  • Samuel Shuster, a sophomore mechanical engineering major. Shuster will be interning for E.A.S.Y. LLC this summer. E.A.S.Y. (Engineering to Assist and Support You) is a Burlington-based company working to create accessible drawing tools for those who are blind or who have vision impairments. Shuster explains that tactile writing systems like braille are “read-only”, and don’t allow a person to modify them. E.A.S.Y. is creating interactive tactile graphics that users can add to, edit, and erase. (Learn more about the UVM-born company in this recent article.) During his internship, Shuster will be working with 3D printers, studying thermal and material properties of plastics and metals and getting first-hand experience creating prototypes.
  • Pax Templeton, a junior from New Mexico majoring in global studies, with minors in linguistics and Spanish. His goal is to eventually pursue a career internationally, and his internship with the Vermont Refugee Resettlement program will help launch him toward that goal. Templeton has already started his internship, where he works in project development and volunteer coordination. Part of his work will also involve collaborations with other local organizations, like Hunger Free Vermont (an education and advocacy organization addressing issues of hunger and malnutrition) and City Market (Burlington’s community-owned food cooperative). Additionally, he will also tutor ESL and assist with ESL classes, and is working on a project to develop, market and publish a cookbook of recipes contributed by refugees, the funds from which will provide refugees with better cooking resources.

 Learn more about the award on the Career Center's website.