Students Explore Careers Through Pomona College Internship Program


This summer 114 Pomona College students are participating in the Pomona College Internship Program(PCIP). Through the support of donors, PCIP provides students with generous stipends so that they can take advantage of unpaid or low-paying internships.

“The stipend allows students the opportunity to pursue an experience they might not have been able to,” says Chelsea Ahn, assistant director of experiential learning and career advising in the Career Development Office. “I have seen firsthand how PCIP has helped students at all stages of their career development journeys—from first exploring a new field and thinking about possible majors to growing connections that lead to a full-time role or solidifying the decision to pursue graduate school.”

This year’s PCIP summer recipients are working in a wide array of industries. Here is what five students are doing for their internships.

Supporting Climate Change Startups

Amanda Eric ’25, an undecided major interested in cognitive science and environmental analysis, landed an internship at Elemental Excelerator. The nonprofit funds and supports entrepreneurs looking for solutions to address climate change and uplift people and communities around the world. Though the nonprofit is based in Hawaii, Eric is completing her internship remotely on the East Coast. 

Eric is on the equity and access team and helps connect the organization's partners with resources by compiling databases of relevant diversity, equity and inclusion software and professionals, reaching out to climate-orientated community-based organizations (CBOs) in frontline communities in Hawaii, California, and other geographical locations relevant to Elemental’s partner companies.

“This experience has been very fulfilling. The people and the community are amazing,” Eric says. “We're making huge strides by the work that we're doing and putting our time and energy into it. But everyone is still seeing each other as humans at the end of the day, especially when it comes to health and personal wellbeing.”

Eric says her biggest takeaway from her internship is the understanding that she didn’t have to have all the skills and experience right away to do good work for the organization and to be a valuable member of the team.

“Every skill and experience will build on one another, so don’t worry if you may not know exactly how to do something in the moment. What you learn in the present will impact what you will experience in the future,” Eric says.

Marine Mammal Care and Research

A neuroscience major on the pre-vet track, Monty Ellwanger ’24 is interning at the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies in Gulfport, Mississippi. For twelve weeks, she is caring for sick and injured marine mammals and sea turtles. She also assists in responding to, documenting and reporting sea turtle and dolphin strandings.

The internship also has a research component, and for that, Ellwanger is conducting a literature review on dolphin behavior and migration patterns.

So far, the highlight of the internship for Ellwanger has been releasing rehabilitated sea turtles into the wild. “I got a little bit emotional because we put in so much work into these animals, and seeing your hard work pay off was so meaningful,” she says. This kind of impact is what makes her want to pursue veterinary medicine as a career.

Ellwanger says she is “eternally grateful” for the funding from PCIP because without it, she would not have been able to do this internship, which will prepare her for applying to veterinary schools.

Public Radio Broadcast Journalism

Jenna McMurtry ’24 is working at Aspen Public Radio for nine weeks as a broadcast journalist intern. She reached out to the station and created the internship herself. Because the station didn’t have the means to pay her and didn’t want her to do unpaid labor, PCIP made this internship possible.

McMurtry produces stories for radio and writes articles to accompany the segments. One of the new skills she has gained is mixing and editing audio. “I’ve had some really great mentors,” she says.

Her primary assignment so far has been covering the Aspen Ideas Festival. At the festival, McMurtry interviewed Katie Couric about a film she’s producing; she covered Hillary Clinton, Eileen Gu and others’ reactions to the overturn of Roe v. Wade; and she listened to a talk by Bill Nye as well as a session with Pomona College President Gabrielle Starr.

This internship, as well as her role as incoming editor-in-chief of The Student Life newspaper, will serve McMurtry well as she pursues her goal to work as a reporter.

“I’m learning lots of different aspects of a newsroom and how it operates in a real world application,” McMurtry says.

Public Safety through Narcotics Enforcement

Kalau Morikawa ’23, a psychological sciences major and sociology minor, is interning for eight weeks at the Narcotics Enforcement Division (NED) of the State of Hawaii’s Department of Public Safety.

Day to day, Morikawa is involved in activities such as going on ride alongs, helping with undercover work, and meeting with judges and attorneys. “I’m the guy who goes on everything, mostly one-on-one with the agents and helping them out wherever I can,” says Morikawa. “I’m trying to absorb as much knowledge as I can.”

He especially enjoys being out in the field and getting to see a different side of his home state. Morikawa has appreciated Pomona’s emphasis on writing as he has discovered how much writing is part of a law enforcement job, including drafting subpoenas and reports.

Morikawa plans to pursue law enforcement as a career, hopefully for the FBI.

Refugee Resettlement and Humanitarian Aid

Angel Daniel-Morales ’23, a sociology major and linguistics minor, is interning at a nonprofit with a cause close to his heart. The International Rescue Committee is a global humanitarian aid and relief organization that helps refugees settle in the United States, among many other efforts. The Lancaster, Pennsylvania native is in a hybrid position this summer, traveling to New York where the organization is based part-time and working remotely the rest of the time.

This opportunity especially appealed to Daniel-Morales as a child of immigrants.

“I'm drawn to doing something meaningful and having an impact. So being able to help refugees coming to the United States is kind of like giving back,” he says. “I also wanted to get introduced to nonprofit work, because that's something that I've been really interested in.”

Daniel-Morales says the internship experience has allowed him to examine what he really wants in a career.

“I'm very happy that I got this experience,” he says, since he “has never been exposed to this type of work. It's just helping me come closer to my career goals and figure out what exactly it is that I'm looking for in a job.”