Freeman scholarship cohort preparing to intern in Korea or Vietnam this summer

Jeffrey Ayres, director of Center for Global Engagement, announces 16 students from wide range of majors in this year's group

January 26, 2023

Sixteen Saint Michael’s College students will participate in eight-week international internship placements in either Seoul, South Korea or Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam for summer 2023 thanks to Freeman Foundation scholarships and additional support from the Center for Global Engagement.

Jeffrey Ayres, director of the College’s Center for Global Engagement and chair/professor of political science and international relations, announced this year’s Freeman scholars in January.

Jeffrey Ayres

Jeffrey Ayres

“Saint Michael’s remains in a select group of educational institutions that receive this funding from the Freeman Foundation,” Ayres said. “We increased the number of scholarships we are awarding this year from this past successful summer of 2022 when we sent 14 students to Seoul, and this upcoming summer we are branching out to two locations—South Korea and Vietnam—which is interesting and challenging at the same time.”

He explained that some of the students in this year’s Freeman cohort for summer internships also are studying abroad for this spring semester.

Ayres is the faculty point person overseeing the academic component of these internships, and he plans to travel to Seoul and Ho Chi Minh City during the internship period this upcoming summer to meet with students and visit internship placement sites.

“We anticipate applying for another Freeman Foundation international internship grant for next year and hope to expand our numbers even further for students receiving scholarships for these international internships,” he said.

The goal of the Freeman Foundation-supported international internship program is to increase the number of U.S. citizens with professional experience in and an understanding of Asia, its people, and its cultures. Recipients of the award are required to share their experiences with their home campuses or communities upon returning in the fall in order to fulfill the program’s goal of encouraging other students to intern in Asian countries and increase our overall understanding of Asian cultures.

The students selected for this year’s scholarships will be working with members of TEAN—The Education Abroad Network—the third party provider that will place students in industry-specific internship sites.  In addition, students will participate in a series of preparatory workshops conducted by Saint Michael’s faculty and staff, including in addition to Ayres, business and accounting professor Robert Letovsky and director of the Office of Study Abroad Peggy Imai, throughout this spring to help prepare them for their specific internships, including planned Korean language and culture workshops taught by Assistant Professor of Education Soo Joung Kim.

Following is the list of this year’s Freeman Foundation Scholarship Winners for summer internships in Asia:


free 2free 3Julia Callini ’24, an elementary education & psychology major from Wayland, MA; Mia Cooper ’24, a public health and psychology major from Gansevoort, NY; Elizabeth Crotty ’24, a biology major from Nashua, NH; Tallis Diehn ’24, an economics major from Enfield, NH; Reagan Dufresne ’24, a psychology major from Willison, VT; Braden Dwinell ’24, an anthropology, history and education studies major from Granby, MA; Rachel Gavin ’24, an environmental science and elementary education major from Burlington, MA; Gregory Hurter ’24, a public health and equity studies major from Shrewsbury, MA; Swapnil Jhajharia ’24, a psychology and statistics major from Rajasthan, India; Virginia “Gigi” Kelsey ’24, a psychology and sociology/anthropology major from West Vail, CO; Anyssa Logan ’24, a media studies and digital arts (MJD) major from Auburn, ME; Nika Mitchell ’25, an education, art & design major from Concord, NH; Max Noddings ’24, a computer science and mathematics major from Billings, MT; Andrea Isabella Paredes ’24, a business administration and MJD major from Lima, Peru; Lesley Rivera ’25, a political science, sociology and equity studies major from Santa Ana, CA; and Sophia Tedesco ’24, a business administration and political science major from Rutland, VT.

Gigi Kelsey said the Freeman Fellowship initially interested her “because I saw it as an opportunity I’d never get again. In addition, I thought it was astounding that they could help you find an internship to further your future career and that it was also located in Asia. When else would I ever get the same support to work in a foreign country with my peers?”

A member of the College Alpine ski team who also works to Psychology Professor Ari Kirshenbaum’s nicotine research lab, she said her favorite thing about Saint Michael’s is “How close the mountains are and getting to ski with my team and friends. I also love the close relationships I’ve been able to build with teachers as a result of the smaller class sizes. The professors here are unlike any I’ve experienced; they are passionate about what they teach, care about the students individually, and will help them succeed in every way they can. The people I’ve met and the community at Saint Mike’s are very welcoming and friendly.”

Bella Paredes said that for her, “The opportunity to have an internship in Asia was just something I could not miss. I am excited for the experience I will be gaining as well as intercultural exchange.”

Paredes said as an international student herself coming to Saint Michael’s from Peru, “I have cross-cultural experiences every day. Being an international student made me realize how enriching cross-cultural experiences can be, and that is why I want to expand my horizons with this opportunity.” She said her favorite thing about Saint Michael’s so far have been her MJD classes in one of her two majors.  Outside of the classroom, she is marketing representative at Diversity Coalition, social Media coordinator for the Men’s Basketball Team, writing coach at the Writing Center, student worker for MarCom.

Gregory Hurter said he has been interested in going abroad and completing an internship for a while. “There is nothing better than being able to live and work in a different country as it provides the greatest opportunity for professional and personal growth,” he said. “Also you are placed in an internship that matches exactly what you are passionate about, which makes the opportunity that much better. I imagine this experience will be challenging and that really intrigues me.”

With his possible career interest in public health, Hurter said, he hopes to learn more about the public health system in Vietnam, especially how this system functions in rural areas and the politics and economics surrounding it. “I also hope to learn as much as I can about the local customs and cultures,” he said. “In terms of the internship, I want to further develop my professional skills related to the field of public health.” Hurter said in high school he traveled to Tanzania for a service trip, and he was recently in Hungary, “but this will be the longest I will spend in another country and the furthest I will have traveled.”

On campus outside class, Hurter is an adventure sports instructor, loves to run and road bike , and is active in the Student Global Aids Campaign.

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