Fall 2022 Internship Blog Series #3: Grace Tillmann ’23
Our Internship Blog Series continues with a post from Grace Tillmann ’23. This summer, Grace served at Church Anew. Scroll down to read more about her experience!
Tell us about yourself. What year are you at St. Olaf, what’s your major, and what do you enjoy doing?
My name is Grace Tillmann and I’m a junior Religion and Sociology & Anthropology major. As of right now I call Zimmerman, MN home. This is not where I grew up originally, but it’s where I’ve ended up. I have two dogs, a collection of house plants, and I enjoy doing art and listening to music.
Tell us about your internship and your experience working at Church Anew.
I originally applied for a different internship, and it was a last-second decision. I wasn’t going into it with any expectations, but it was fun. I worked remotely and did a lot of marketing, social media, and website upkeep. It’s a very marketing-oriented position but it’s within a church organization, so it’s got a nice mix of getting to read theologians and scholarly work while also learning what goes on behind actually having your own website or running a religious institution.
What were some highlights of the internship?
I got to read and edit a lot of Walter Brueggemann’s (a prominent biblical scholar) posts. So I got to read all of them when they sent them in, and just reading all that from someone as prestigious as he is, I kept thinking, “Oh my gosh! I’m working with a celebrity!” I would get a new giant post of all of his writings – it’s just so awesome! I’m getting flustered talking about it. I get to work firsthand with someone who I’ve been learning about in my courses at St. Olaf. I wasn’t expecting it, and then I was told, “Oh yeah, we have a Brueggemann column that we update every week.” And I thought, “THE Walter Brueggemann?” My supervisors said, “Yes, he’s super close friends with the church and he exclusively gives his work to us so we can post it everywhere.” I thought, “you’re kidding!”
How have you grown from your internship? Is there anything that you learned from or will use in your college career and in life later on?
Absolutely. Aside from marketing and graphic design skills which are helpful, it definitely helped me learn to work with someone else’s deadline, which is obviously very helpful for college since you don’t really get to choose when you’re turning things in. There were definitely some learning moments, especially about how I communicate with people, since College Student-Professor communications can be informal. It was a little bit of a shock going from student-professor to employee-boss; it was formal and there were different expectations. There’s a lot more checking in and talking through things. So there were definitely some growing pains there but it was super helpful.
How has your internship impacted your sense of vocation?
So, I think getting out of my comfort zone and accepting a marketing position was super nice. It was good to explore something that I wasn’t necessarily considering for a career. Also all the contacts I’ve made, all the things I’ve learned here through the church and through the people I’m working with–I have so many contacts in the religious scholarship field now. There are so many opportunities and I remember one of my first days I thought “I really like this. This is what I want to do. I want to work with people and know more about people and stay in the loop.”
The Lutheran Center Mission is: to bring together people of different faiths and worldviews, to enrich spiritual enquiry, foster love of neighbor, and deepen a sense of vocation in all. How do you see your internship experience relating to the Center’s mission?
I think a lot of students have a misconception about the Lutheran Center being only for Christian students, specifically Lutheran students. And at first I was hesitant, I was nervous because I am not a religious person. I worried about religion being an expectation or having a relationship with a religious center being weird. But I learned that getting an internship with a religious institution or the Lutheran Center doesn’t mean you have to be Christian. So that was one of the worries I had, but it’s been amazing. The Center has been so fantastic. I really like what I’m doing and get the sense that this is a field of study that I think I belong in. Getting the internship through the Lutheran Center confirmed this for me because I just recently declared my Religion major. This year I wanted to make sure that this is the one, so dipping my toes into an internship as opposed to holding off and waiting helped me make that decision. This is what I like and what I want to do.
Do you have any other comments?
Lutheran Center, you have been fantastic. Scheduling, feedback, reaching out to see if everything’s going well. My internship, my bosses have been just amazing. I’m just so happy, everything went super well.
See Grace’s full interview: