Starkloff honors amazing interns

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The Starkloff staff gathered to bid farewell to their Spring and Summer interns on Thursday, August 9. Joined by SDI board members, their families and friends, the SDI interns had much to celebrate.  The gathering took place in the Club Room at The Crescent in Clayton. Each intern was presented with a gift card and a Certificate of Appreciation for their contributions to the Institute. Three students completed their Practicum for Washington University’s George Warren Brown School of Social Work at SDI over the Spring and Summer of 2018.


They were each lauded by their supervisor and given a superlative:

Kate Polokonis worked on the Dream Big program, with special emphasis on creating programs metrics and evaluations. Kate worked on Dream Big all through the Spring 2018 semester, before the rest of the interns and staff arrived in May. For this, Kate was awarded the “Best Ship Captain with No Crew” award. Kate also worked one-on-one with many of the students during the weeks of Career Camp. She spent 317 intern hours at Starkloff.

Genevieve Atkins worked in the Starkloff Career Academy and did research and development of curriculum, with an emphasis on varieties of information presentation follow-up and documentation of candidates. She also consulted and coached the candidates, and created a student-orientation package for them.  Genevieve received the “Open-Toed Shoes Courage” award. She contributed 360 intern hours with us.

Shamshir (Sham) Tarlanov worked in the Starkloff Career Academy, particularly on the Motivation Mondays and Professional Connectors programs. Sham received the “Most Humble Man You Will Ever Know” award. His total intern hours were 493.

Lucy Vigil is a senior at Vanderbilt University, studying Human and Organizational Development and Spanish. Lucy worked on the Dream Big program and was essential in creating fun and engaging activities for the students.  Lucy was awarded the “Best at Saving the Day with an Icebreaker” award. She spent 235 hours with us.

Annie Donnell is a senior at Belmont University and is studying Communications and English. Annie worked on the Dream Big program and was a great conversation leader. She also helped students conceptualize the transition to college as a student with a disability.  Annie was awarded the “Best at Recruiting Campers” because of her enthusiasm for the program and her connections to disability organizations in the St. Louis area.  Her total intern hours were 258.

Tyler Hammond graduated in May from the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York with a degree in Business Administration. Over the summer, he completed 350 hours of work in the Development Department working on the database and other tasks. Tyler was named “Person Most Likely to Be Mistaken for The Flash” due to the incredibly speedy manner in which he completed every task.

These six bright and dedicated individuals donated more than 2000 hours to helping youth and adults with disabilities achieve fulfilling and prosperous lives in our community.  The interns have also learned more about disability rights and become stronger advocates for themselves and others as they make their way through the world. They will, no doubt, have bright and promising futures. We hope they will never forget their experience at SDI.

For information about internships please contact Lori Becker at lbecker@starkloff.org.

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