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Skidmore College

SEE-Beyond summer experience program encourages students to think big

February 27, 2024
by Angela Valden

When Eddie Dunhill ’24 interned as an associate producer for Never More Immersive — a theatrical, immersive experience production company based in New York City and Saratoga Springs — he put the skills he has learned as a management and business major and a media and film studies minor right to work, helping to promote the company’s NYC production of “Dreams of Dracula” and supporting the creative team during casting events, promotional shoots, pre-production meetings, and more.

“I had to combine my sense of management and organization with my passion for creativity and entertainment,” Dunhill reflects. “The opportunity was amazing for me.”

Never More Immersive internship

Eddie Dunhill ’24 interned as an associate producer for the immersive theatrical production company Never More Immersive in New York City in summer 2023. Here, co-founder of the company and lecturer in Skidmore's Media and Film Studies Program Nicole Coady leads the group.

The summer experience was made possible through Skidmore’s SEE-Beyond program, which funds opportunities that are directly tied to learning goals in a student’s major or minor. The students themselves articulate their academic rationale when applying for the grant, highlighting the value of the proposed experience for their learning.

Awards may be used to support field or laboratory research; internships with clearly defined learning goals that complement the student’s degree program; artistic workshops, apprenticeships, intensives, or productions; and more.

“SEE-Beyond awards recognize the potential of the proposed experience to utterly transform students’ relationship to their major or minor. SEE-Beyond is about growth, and students should think big,” says Associate Dean of the Faculty and Professor of Biology Corey Freeman-Gallant. “With independent funding through the program, students might volunteer to join research teams almost anywhere across the globe, work with NGOs at the cutting edge of addressing challenges in public health, the environment, social justice, and beyond, or apprentice with makers or performers.”

Apply through March 21 

The SEE-Beyond program anticipates funding 30 proposals for summer 2024. The 30 awardees across disciplines will be selected by a panel of faculty and staff, with proposals due March 21.

Creative proposals with the greatest probability of deepening a student’s engagement with their major or minor will be funded. All class years are eligible, and any fee-based opportunity can be proposed.

Unlike the Summer Experience Fund (SEF) administered by the Career Development Center, SEE-Beyond is a merit-based program. The $6,000 summer stipend is the largest provided by the College to students engaging in a summer experience and it is meant to reduce economic barriers so that students can “think big” regardless of financial need.

SEE-Beyond summer experiences also occur outside the bounds of the Faculty-Student Summer Research Program.

Dunhill was offered his summer opportunity at Never More after interning with company co-founder Nicole Coady, a lecturer in Skidmore’s Media and Film Studies Program, in spring 2023. He then applied for funding through SEE-Beyond.

“It was a perfect fit for me,” Dunhill says. “I felt confident putting together my proposal.”

Blaine Hinds ’24, who interned last summer at Children’s National Hospital in Washington, D.C., says seeking out opportunities can sometimes require determination, but the rewards are well worth the effort. He found the Career Development Center’s Handshake platform, LinkedIn, and word of mouth to all be helpful resources in making connections and identifying leads.

Then, when writing your proposal, he says, “Be sure to emphasize how the specific internship or opportunity will help further your own personal and professional growth!” 

Success beyond

David Schlenker ’13 and Johane Simelane ’13, both members of the inaugural class of SEE-Beyond grant recipients at Skidmore, say their experiences through the program enhanced their global understanding and prepared them for successful careers in the fields they are passionate about.

Schlenker was awarded a summer SEE-Beyond Award in 2012 to work as the head primary English teacher for Project Why, a program that provides supplementary education for local students from the slums in New Delhi, India. There, he created innovative and fun lesson plans to engage his students and increased the organization’s online presence.

Schlenker, a double major in history and international affairs and a minor in the Honors Forum Program at Skidmore, says the experience pushed him to think through complex challenges, analytically and on a human level.

Project Why in New Delhi, India

David Schlenker ’13 worked with students in New Delhi, India, with the help of a SEE-Beyond grant.

“My experience in India was pivotal to my understanding of systemic problems in the education sector,” he says. “While I explored the opportunities and challenges we face in our communities locally, it wasn’t until I stepped out of our American bubble that I understood that we are, and have been, facing a global crisis in access to high-quality education for all.”

Now, as director of talent at Compass Rose Public Schools, the fastest-growing charter prekindergarten through 12th-grade network in Texas, Schlenker strives to attract and retain dedicated educators who are committed to closing the opportunity gap for students and provide them with as many choices as possible.

“In my daily role, I address issues in the public education system on an individual, interpersonal, and systemic level. The global foundation of the SEE-Beyond award afforded me these tools to continue in the public education system for nearly 13 years across three different countries,” he says. 

Though I’ve known I wanted to be a teacher since I was in second grade, my SEE-Beyond experience was my first real taste of living and working in another country, which I do believe set me up to receive a Fulbright Scholarship as well as a lifetime passion where I strive to use a global lens to build local capacity for change.”
David Schlenker '13
Director of talent at Compass Rose Public Schools

Simelane ’13 was born and raised in Eswatini (formerly Swaziland) and came to Skidmore in 2009 as a Davis United World College scholar and an Opportunity Program scholar.

Growing up in a country that still struggles with high HIV rates, he says, contributed to his natural interest in public health, influencing his decision to pursue a self-determined major in public health at Skidmore. Simelane also served as a peer health educator at the College, “a role that helped me gain clarity on the value of public health and fueled my passion of ensuring that my community is educated about healthy lifestyle choices and has access to high-quality healthcare,” he says.

The SEE-Beyond grant provided a pathway for Simelane to be able to conduct a rigorous project for his self-determined major capstone. As a principal investigator, he worked with Skidmore College and the Department of Health in Swaziland to investigate the perceptions of male circumcision in relation to HIV/AIDS among Swazi youth.

My academic view shifted from mere learning about public health issues and their solutions to learning the tools needed to solve some of these public health issues, and approaches to creatively align and assemble those tools, depending on the issue and the confounding factors in the environment you are working in.”
Johane Simelane ’13
Executive director of The Bronx Veterans Medical Research Foundation

“I understood that there is no one answer for the public health issues we see around the world. While some of the public health programs that were being taught were validated and proven in one culture, that did not mean they would work as effectively in another culture.”

After graduating from Skidmore, Simelane earned his Master of Public Health degree at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health and began his career as a clinical research manager for The Bronx Veterans Medical Research Foundation, a nonprofit affiliated with the Department of Veterans Affairs in New York City. Today, he is executive director of the Foundation, helping new and seasoned investigators identify and administer projects that provide veterans with access to life-saving drugs.

“I can confidently say that the SEE-Beyond grant helped create a solid ground to launch my journey. I think I am still learning and readjusting my career focus, but the beauty is that I found a path at Skidmore.”

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