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Reinhardt Students Spend the Summer Working, Learning and Serving

Most college students think of summer as a time to relax and take in the sun, but for three Reinhart University students, this summer was filled opportunities to build their resumés, gain professional knowledge, and inspire and enrich the lives of others. Stephen Karafa, a junior interdisciplinary studies major from Waleska, Ga., worked closely with prospective Reinhardt students; Samantha Canuel, a junior English education major from Kingston, Ga., learned more about what she hopes will be her future profession; and Katie Reed, a senior education biology major from Woodstock, Ga., served as coordinator for two very special programs at a local church.

Preparing for the Future

Stephen KarafaWith higher education administration as a future career endeavor, working for Reinhardt’s Admissions Office this summer was one step closer for Stephen Karafa to reach that goal. As in intern in the office, he wore many hats including assisting staff, entering data, and executing several special projects. His role gave him the opportunity to explore his interest in the inner-workings of a university.

“I have learned how to work in a professional atmosphere while at the same time expanding my knowledge of higher education administration,” he said. “This experience has allowed me work with some of the best mentors an intern could possibly ask for. I feel as if I am better prepared to tackle the challenges and opportunities within my career goals.”

When entering as a freshman, it was the kindness he received from the admissions staff that ultimately convinced Stephen to choose Reinhardt; and now he extends that compassion to students he introduces to the University.

“I absolutely love the Admissions Office and its staff,” said Stephen. “They have been there for me the last two years in ways that I cannot even begin to explain. They brought me here to Reinhardt as a freshman because of their personalities and overwhelming kindness throughout my admissions process, and now they are serving as my mentors so that I may, one day, help assure students that Reinhardt may be the right fit for them as it was for me.”

Going Above and Beyond

She serves as the editor of Reinhardt’s online student newspaper The Hiltonian, but to Samantha Canuel, learning how to be even more successful in her role on campus was a valuable experience this summer. In late July, she attended the 2011 Management Seminar for College News Editors in Athens and Atlanta, Ga.

Samantha Canuel“My week at the conference was incredible!” said Samantha. “There were so many new things for me to learn about in the field of journalism. I really enjoyed talking with professional reporters and editors about their jobs and what advice they could give me for my future.

“The Hiltonian is a web-based newspaper, and I was worried about it,” she continued. “I assumed that we were behind normal newspapers and their publishing style. However, I found out that Reinhardt’s newspaper is on the cutting edge for journalism; we are going above and beyond what college newspapers are expected to publish.”

Her time spent at the conference gave her a new sense of what her role is as a leader on campus and how she can implement the ideas she learned.

“I look forward to continuing the concepts that are already in place in our newspaper and trying out new ones,” Samantha said. “I want to bring a different  style of leadership and a type of journalism that is more multimedia-based, rather than only news in print. I would like to make The Hiltonian the only source of news on campus, and possibly even Waleska. We’re going to spread our wings and bring news from Waleska and even Canton to the Reinhardt students, faculty and staff.”

Seeking out Leadership Opportunities

Katie ReedKatie Reed never thought that by her senior year of college she would be the vice president of Reinhardt’s Student Activities Council (SAC), let alone an intern at Heritage Baptist Fellowship Church in Canton, Ga., serving as coordinator for one of the county’s Summer Lunch Programs and Give a Kid a Chance Programs, both of which provide resources for those children less fortunate.

“When I started at Reinhardt, I was a shy person that never really tried to stand out,” Katie said. “But Reinhardt has allowed me to be myself so that I can shine and make a name for myself on campus. Now, in my senior year, I serve as a leader of SAC and as a coordinator for two of the county’s special summer programs.

“Serving my community was the best way I could think of to spend my summer,” she continued.  “The two programs I coordinated for the church were the Summer Lunch Program, which provided for those children unable to get lunches during the summer--we made and delivered all the lunches for them—and the Give a Kid a Chance Program, which takes place right before school starts to provide those children, who cannot afford it, everything they will need for the new school year, as well as everything from giving them hair cuts to providing medical examinations.”

The skills she has learned this summer, she believes, have changed her life and given her the confidence to seek out more opportunities to lead and serve others.

“I enjoy conducting a handful of passionate people who love what they are doing and pointing them in the direction in which they can do the best work,” said Katie. “There are not even words to express how much this internship has helped me and changed me for the better. I have gone from quiet and timid Katie, to a Katie who is not afraid to express her opinion and lead others while still being the shepherd to my sheep.”

Summer of a Lifetime

As school started back today, the summer break may have ended for Reinhardt students, but for these three students, they had the summer of a lifetime working towards their goals, learning new skills and serving others above themselves. Who could ask for anything more out of one summer!

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