MEDIA RELEASE: Six Summer Interns Descend on the DOE

The Department of Education officially welcomed six summer student interns on May 28th. The students were selected for internship positions with the Department by the University of Maine’s Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center through their Maine Government Internships program.  Throughout the summer, the students will assist in the daily operations of the Maine DOE at the Augusta headquarters.

“We are delighted to welcome these precocious leaders to our Department of Education team. We are excited to have their energy and voices as a part of our work, and look forward to wonderful things from each of them, for the summer and beyond,” said Pender Makin, Maine Department of Education Commissioner.

Katherine Gunther is a senior majoring in graphic design and architecture. She studies at Roger Williams University in Bristol, Rhode Island. Katherine is excited to pursue a career in design, specifically publication. Passionate about photography, illustration, and videography, she hopes to use these skills in her future projects. Working with the Department of Education, Katherine will be creating videos and generating educational materials to explain the inner workings of our school budgets. Katherine is originally from Farmington.

Simon Handelman is a rising junior at the George Washington University in Washington D.C. where he studies political science, history, and English. He is excited to gain a deeper and more practical understanding of local government and politics. As an intern for the Commissioner’s Office in the Department of Education, Simon will work on communications between the DOE and the citizens of Maine. Here he will explore all the exciting things Maine students and teachers do. Coming from a family of educators, he welcomes the opportunity to celebrate education. When he is out of the office, Simon likes to hike the mountains of Maine, visit the Portland Museum of Art, and explore communities across the State via road trips with his friends. This summer is shaping up to be an enriching experience for Simon, and he cannot wait to see where government work will take him. Simon is originally from Freeport.

Ariel Lam is a rising senior at Bates College.  She is double majoring in Sociology and Mathematics with an Education minor.  This summer Ariel will be working on financial accounting for local school systems and researching school program funding schemes. Ariel is originally from New Jersey.

Katherine Sawyer is a rising 2L at the University of Maine School of Law. During her internship with the Department of Education, she will be assisting with school enrollment. Katherine grew up in Minot, Maine, and enjoys doing CrossFit workouts, snowboarding, and playing tennis.

Griffin Tibbitts is a student at McGill University in Montreal majoring in history and minoring in biology. He hopes to use his degree to study law in graduate school, specializing in the ethics and the legality of emerging biotechnologies. At the Department of Education he is working as a data analyst and instruction assistant, making training videos for school staff. Griffin is originally from Bath.

Emmeline Willey is an incoming junior at the University of Maine at Orono. She is a Media Studies major with Psychology and Education minors. In her free time, she enjoys pursuing projects as the current Chair of Services with Student Government, and being a fool with her Improv Comedy club. Emmeline can be found frequently playing ragtime on public pianos. She will be working to publicize events, gather information, and streamline communications within the Department of Education this summer as an intern in the Commissioner’s Office. She has been inspired since high school to pursue the improvement in quality of student life at our public schools, something she hopes to continue doing in the future through personal outreach and firsthand involvement. Emmeline is originally from Monmouth.