AU student’s dreams come true with NY internship

Anderson University junior Michaela Levell is making her dreams come true with some help from AU. Levell has always wanted to serve God by serving people. She was also looking for a way to experience New York City. A Tri-S trip to the Big Apple provided the connection she needed to make her dream a reality.

Last spring break, Levell joined a Tri-S group traveling to New York City to work with the organization Center for Student Missions (CSM). Levell and her team served and toured with CSM throughout the week. She also learned about an internship opportunity through CSM that would allow her to put her social work major into practice while guiding school and church groups around the city.

She spent three and a half months this past summer working for CSM giving her the experience she needed to realize how much she enjoyed working and living in New York City.

Reflecting back, Levell credits her Tri-S trip leaders — Tom Tijerina and Dr. Lolly Bargerstock, social work professor at AU — with helping her get the internship. Both agreed to be a reference for her. Bargerstock, in particular, knew of Levell’s desire to work with people. “She was aware of my heart to serve others and could talk about my work ethic,” said Levell.

Levell’s title for the summer internship was city host. One of her tasks was to host high school mission groups that came to serve each week. Each day she led them through the city to their ministries sites, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, making sure they did not get lost in the city. She also acted as the liaison between the groups and the ministry site directors. As city host, she took some of the stress off of the group’s leaders. After each day of working, she took the groups to one of CSM’s restaurant partners for dinner, sharing food from a different culture each night.

Once a week, Levell led the groups on a three- to six-hour prayer tour. Stopping multiple times, getting off the subway, and going above ground, she shared different things happening throughout the city and the world: human trafficking, gentrification, food deserts, gang/youth violence, public housing, education, immigration, and homelessness. After she talked to the students about each of these issues at different stops, the groups prayed.

“This job gave me a fresh insight on so many things,” recalled Levell. “It gave me a heart for many kinds of people in all different walks of life. It changed how I approach certain issues within our culture. Rather than saying ‘homeless person,’ I now say ‘a person experiencing homelessness’ because it changes the way you view that person. I learned a lot about oppression and other major issues in our society that I am now more aware of in my daily life.”

Levell now has an even deeper love and interest for people and New York City and plans to move there after graduation.

Meg Fields is a senior from Lapel, Ind. majoring in Public Relations. Fields is an associate with Fifth Street Communications ®, writing on behalf of Anderson University Office of Communications.

Anderson University is a private, liberal arts institution in Anderson, Indiana with a mission to educate students for lives of faith and service in the church and society. Anderson University is recognized among top colleges by U.S. News and World ReportColleges of Distinction, and The Princeton Review. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, the university now offers more than 60 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in businessmusic education, and theology.

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