On the Town


For the seventh summer, 11 Occidental College students are busy working hard –and getting paid–as interns at arts and public service organizations around Los Angeles.

Occidental’s highly competitive Community Arts and Public Service (CAPS) internship program is a donor-funded summer internship opportunity in which interns perform complex projects on-site for 35 hours a week. This year, with the addition of three new organizations and additional funding, the number of participating students nearly doubled.

"The unique blend of sites and student learners combined with our on-campus learning program positions the CAPS program as an utterly unique opportunity," said Valerie Savior, director of Occidental’s Career Development Center.

Thirty-nine students applied for the 10-week internships, which pay a little over $3,200, funded by the Ahmanson Foundation and Occidental’s International Programs Office, which provided compensation through the Richter Trust. All class years are encouraged to apply each March through the CDC's on-campus interview process. Pre-selected individuals move forward to on-site interviews, and the participating organizations make the final selections.

In addition to their internships, CAPS students participate weekly in IMPACT, an on-campus educational component that supports professional learning objectives throughout the internship and ensures that their internship appears on their academic transcript.

CAPS interns learn about child advocacy at the Children’s Law Center, a non-profit law firm representing the interests of children; participate in the business of running an art slide registry and managing artists at the Department of Cultural Affairs Slide Registry, housed in the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery located in Barnsdall Art Park; assist in the development and volunteer departments at the Downtown Women’s Center, a nonprofit that offers support services to homeless and very low-income women; participate in fundraising and communications efforts at Visual Communications, an Asian Pacific media arts center; and work in fundraising at A Noise Within, a resident theater company performing a rotating repertory on a year-round basis.

In addition, students will work for three organizations that are new participants in 2012: Vote for Equality, which advocates for marriage equality, reducing homophobia, and building the political power of LGBT people in L.A County; the Esperanza Immigrant Rights Project, a non-profit law office that serves immigrants who cannot afford private counsel; and the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law, a nonprofit, public interest legal foundation dedicated to furthering and protecting the civil, constitutional, and human rights of immigrants, refugees, children, and the poor.

"With the addition of these organizations, CAPS now exposes Occidental students to a greater breadth of nonprofit organizations who serve distinct and diverse populations and community needs," Savior said.

Marah Bragdon ’13, a psychology and religious studies double major from Los Angeles, and Jordan Rich ’13, a critical theory & social justice major from Greenwich, N.Y.,  will intern at the Center for Human Rights & Constitutional Law. Isabel Checa ’13, a psychology major from Newbury Park, and Joyce Lee ’13, an English and comparative literary studies major from La Canada, will intern at the Downtown Women’s Center. Christine Lew ’13, a sociology major from Los Angeles, and Jill Marucut ’13, a sociology major from South Pasadena, will intern at Visual Communications. Estrella Lucero ’14, an urban and environmental policy major from Los Angeles, will intern at Vote for Equality. Larissa Saco ’14, an undecided major from South San Francisco, and Emma Kraft ’14, a psychology major from Portland, Ore., will intern at the Children’s Law Center. Aaron Spoto ’14, an art history and the visual arts major from Los Angeles, will intern in the Department of Cultural Affairs at Barnsdall Art Park, while Carmen Tellez ’14, a politics major from Los Angeles, will intern at the Esperanza Immigrant Rights Project.