News Students

Grateful to be Giving Back

An internship in a familiar place

Haley Westby ’22 spent the summer working as a Family Services intern for the Ronald McDonald House (RMHC) in Fargo, N.D.

The Ronald McDonald House holds a special place in Westby’s heart. Her family stayed at the RMHC in Rochester, Minn., on and off for 16 years while her sister received medical care through the Mayo Clinic. The organization was so helpful to her family all those years that when she found out about the internship opportunity through the Swendseid Scholar Service program, she was ecstatic.

“I have always wanted to be able to serve and give back to the Ronald McDonald House Charities organization, and this opportunity served as a stepping stone in doing so,” Westby says.

Some of her primary duties as a Family Services intern include completing family check-ins, giving tours, coordinating activities around the House, and light office work. She also visits with families to make sure they feel comfortable, safe, and well taken care of.

Several months into the internship, Westby was offered a position to continue to be a part of the Ronald McDonald House team as a Family Services associate during the evenings and weekends once her hours as an intern are completed. As she makes the transition from an intern to an associate, she will continue to have similar duties.

“This has been such an amazing experience and I am looking forward to continue serving the incredible families that this organization helps,” she says.

The Swendseid Scholar Service program is an internship for PEAK (Pivotal Experience in Applied Knowledge). Concordia’s signature integrative learning opportunities give students an edge in future academic and occupational endeavors. The PEAK might be a special course, an internship, a global learning experience, or a service project.

In response to the PEAK assignment question “What legacy will you be leaving at your organization?” Westby responded, “Instead of leaving a legacy, I will get to continue a legacy!”

Westby hopes to continue to contribute to the Ronald McDonald House a passion for keeping families close.

“I have so much passion for the organization, and I love when my colleagues and the families that the organization serves can see that passion,” Westby says. “I want to make sure that every family that walks through the doors of the House knows that they will be safe and well taken care of. I also want to be an example to other staff and even family members of how important it is to be kind and caring for others.”

Kris Olson, director of the Concordia Career Center, says internships are a prime opportunity for students to explore their interests and apply classroom learning in a real-world environment.

“It is so exciting when everything comes together and a student finds satisfaction and joy in what they are doing, and even more exciting if they are offered continued employment in an area they are passionate about,” Olson says. “Haley has knocked it out of the park with her internship at Ronald McDonald House”