C of I Newsletter

2014. 06. 06

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Once Upon a Dream: Katy Lootens fulfills goal of working at Disney

When she was a student at nearby Idaho Arts Charter School, College of Idaho senior-to-be Katy Lootens discovered the Disney College Program. She immediately knew it was something she wanted to do, and, after applying a second time, her persistence paid off this spring with an internship at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.

Lootens, a music major, spent the spring semester at Disney working primarily as a merchandise intern at Epcot Future World. She worked in the Art of Disney gallery and also took Disney Marketing You classes, where she learned how to do things the “Disney way,” including auditioning, marketing, merchandising and networking. She also completed a self-marketing project, “30-Second Commercial.”

“It explains who I am, what my experience is and what my goals are,” Lootens said of the project. “Learning to brag about myself has been a challenge, but the more I practice, the easier it becomes.”

In addition to learning valuable marketing techniques and building her resume, Lootens received credit for the internship through the C of I Center for Experiential Learning. She believes her experience with the Disney College Program will help her throughout her professional career.

“We made our business cards and we are working on our resumes,” Lootens said of DCP. “[The program] is teaching us how to be professionals at Disney and preparing us for our future after college.”

At the C of I, Lootens is an outstanding musical performer who participates in many student ensembles and productions. Before she left for Florida, Lootens starred as Princess Pamina in the C of I Opera production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute.

“It was wonderful; I got to play a role I’ve always wanted to play,” Lootens said. “I love Mozart, so it was a great experience. It was definitely a challenge, but it was really fun.”

The Magic Flute
Lootens, at left, in a scene from the C of I Opera production of Mozart's The Magic Flute.

Lootens’ performance background proved to be a valuable asset at Disney.

“Even if you’re merchandizing or working at an attraction, you’re still playing a role and performing on stage, and [Disney] really emphasizes that,” Lootens said. “Uniforms are called costumes and instead of employees, we’re called cast members.”

During her internship, Lootens auditioned for a role as a park princess. And while she didn’t get the role, she did get the chance to talk to DCP alumni about life after the program.

“Most of those folks are performing the roles they want to now at Disney,” Lootens said.

Perhaps a similar fairytale ending awaits Lootens after graduation. But no matter where her career takes her, Lootens is grateful for her Disney adventure and a spring semester she will never forget.

Click here to read more about Lootens’ Disney experience in her “Once Upon a Dream” blog.

Softball, track teams compete at nationals

Sarah Johnson

C of I senior Sarah Johnson captured her first individual national title in the 5,000 meters.

An unforgettable spring sports season came to an exciting conclusion last week as The College of Idaho’s softball and track & field teams traveled south to compete for NAIA national championships.

Coach Pat McCurry and the C of I women’s track team captured two national titles and six All-America honors en route to a sixth-place finish at NAIA Outdoor Nationals in Gulf Shores, Alabama. Senior standout Hillary Holt won her third consecutive outdoor 1,500-meter title to capture her ninth individual national championship, and 11th overall. Fellow senior Sarah Johnson also capped her C of I career with a bang, racing to victory in the 5,000 meters to earn her first individual title in her final collegiate race.

Johnson pulled away from the field over the final two laps to finish in 17 minutes, 24.06 seconds and become the third individual champion in program history. Holt – who became the College’s first individual champ in 2012 – cruised to victory in 4:18.28 and added a third-place finish in the 800.

Coyote runners Sora Klopfenstein and Jasmine Hurd also earned All-America honors. Klopfenstein finished third in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, while Hurd finished fourth in the 400-meter hurdles and sixth in the 100-meter hurdles.

In all, the senior quartet of Holt, Hurd, Johnson and Klopfenstein finished their C of I careers as the most decorated teammates in school history. The group, which is profiled in the Quest magazine cover story "Purple Reign," combined to rack up 13 national titles and 36 All-America selections.

On the men’s side, senior decathlete Austin Basterrechea placed fifth to earn the fourth All-America award of his career. Basterrechea, Camden DeBruler, John Fronk, Gary Parkinson, Holt, Brittany Beame, Madison Crookham, Hannah Lentz and Sarah Neufeld also were named NAIA Scholar-Athletes.

Softball team places fifth

The C of I softball team’s wild postseason ride ended in heartbreak at the NAIA World Series in Columbus, Ga., but not before Coach Al Mendiola’s squad had earned the top finish in program history.

In the tournament opener, All-American senior pitcher Nickayla Skinner took a perfect game into the eighth inning, but the Coyotes couldn’t muster any offense against Lindsey Wilson. The Blue Raiders’ only hit of the game was a ninth-inning homer as the C of I fell, 1-0.

The loss set up an elimination game versus No. 4 Olivet Nazarene. Skinner once again was dominant, but this time the Coyotes got a two-run homer from Ashley Van Horne and an RBI single by Briana Brace in a 3-0 victory.


Skinner and Brace keyed another upset in the next round as the Coyotes knocked off No. 2 LSU-Alexandria. Skinner tossed a three-hit shutout – her 12th of the season – and Brace preserved the win by reaching over the outfield fence to rob a potential game-winning homer in the seventh inning. Julia Henrie scored the game’s only run on a wild pitch as the Coyotes claimed a 1-0 victory.

The Coyotes’ historic run ended in dramatic fashion versus William Carey, which rallied to erase a 5-2 deficit in the seventh before winning 6-5 in nine innings. Brace and Destiny Turner each went 3-for-4 for the Coyotes, with Skinner, Henrie and Katie Rowe adding two hits apiece. The Coyotes finished the season with an overall record of 35-18.

After the World Series ended, Skinner was named a second-team NAIA All-American, becoming the second C of I player to earn that honor. The senior from Mountain Home High finishes her career with a Cascade Conference record 83 wins and 913 strikeouts.

To get all the latest Coyote athletics news and notes, visit www.yoteathletics.com

Two C of I students set to intern in India

Nisshanth Kumar and Maryam Karim

The College of Idaho is a vibrant and diverse community, with students, faculty and staff who hail from more than 50 countries.

The C of I also has a strong track record of sending students overseas to gain valuable experience – a tradition that continues this summer as Maryam Karim and Nisshanth Kumar fulfill internships in India.

Karim, an aspiring medical student, will work as a volunteer at an Indian medical clinic, shadowing nurses and doctors. The sophomore psychology major is from Afghanistan originally, but she’s lived in the U.S. for eight years, attending Boise High School and attaining American citizenship. Karim – who is fluent in English, Russian, Farsi and Hindi – already has some medical experience. She is a certified phlebotomist and has performed volunteer work at St. Alphonsus Hospital in Boise.

“I’m very interested to see the different types of medicine that are practiced around the world,” said Karim, whose two-week internship begins in August. “I have some experience here in the states, but I’m sure it’s going to be very different from working at the clinics in India.”

Kumar, who graduated from the C of I in May with a double-major in political economy and religious studies, is returning to his native India presently for a three-month internship with the Center for Policy Research – the government body that creates policy and recommends it to the Indian parliament. Kumar’s professors, including Dr. Kerry Hunter (political economy), Dr. Jasper LiCalzi (political economy), Dr. Greg McElwain (philosophy & religion) and Professor Anne Spencer (religion), encouraged him to look into internships that focused on conflict resolution; a natural fit for his double bachelor’s degree. Fittingly, his internship at the CPR is through the Center for Conflict Resolution branch.

“My professors definitely pointed me in the right direction,” Kumar said. “[The C of I] was an awesome learning experience for me because I had to learn so much, so fast – otherwise, you would fall off the cliff. I’m very confident my experience has prepared me for what comes next.”

Ultimately, Kumar aspires to a career in India’s government sector, preferably in the arena of foreign policy. In addition to his internship, he is studying for his Civil Services Exam. If he passes, he will enter the Indian bureaucracy and receive full financial support to pursue his master’s degree and Ph.D.

C of I nursing hopeful interning in Jamaica

Recent College of Idaho graduate Brianna Allen ’14 always has had an interest in health care, resolving to pursue it as a career after taking an EMT course during high school. Even though no one in her family has much medical experience, Allen is fascinated by the science and physiology of the human body.

This summer, that fascination has taken Allen nearly 3,000 miles from Idaho to complete a six-week nursing and medical internship program at Percy Junor Hospital in Manchester, Jamaica. Allen, who majored in health science, began the internship June 1 and will remain on the island through mid-July.

“Jamaica has been a place I wanted to travel since I was young, and I love tropical climates,” Allen said. “I have never experienced another country's culture. I wanted something that would put me out of my comfort zone a bit.”

The program – which Allen secured through volunteer organization Projects Abroad – is a combination four-week nursing, two-week medical internship, which Allen found just as attractive as the tropical locale. While Allen plans on attending nursing school through a joint C of I-Idaho State University program upon her return to the United States, she wanted to experience more than one side of the hospital setting during the internship, and the two week medical rotation helped seal her interest.

Because the program is focused on students who have not yet attended nursing or medical school, many of Allen’s responsibilities will involve introductory medical skills such as taking vital signs, dressing wounds and working directly with patients.

“It was important to me to get some hands-on experience before nursing school,” Allen said. “I also wanted to explore and do something a little different because I’ve never been out of the country before. This is a big leap of faith, but I’m really excited for it.”

Allen will work Monday through Friday at the hospital, but she will have the weekends to explore Jamaica and experience the island culture. As a history minor, Allen is looking forward to learning more about the country’s past during her long stay.

Allen credits her time at the C of I for preparing her for this internship opportunity – particularly her learning experience within the PEAK Curriculum.

“I think the fact that PEAK requires students to take classes in four very different areas of study has helped prepare me for this internship the most,” Allen said. “Even though I was a health science major, I was required to take cultural anthropology and sociology. The information I learned in cultural anthropology has taught me to be more understanding of new cultures. I have also developed problem solving skills and important medical knowledge through the science curriculum that will help me stand out as an informed and dedicated volunteer.”


Summer 2014

College Events Calendar

Every Friday

Orma J. Smith Museum of Natural History hosts public open house, 1-5 p.m., Boone Hall basement. Click for more info.

June 7

Orma J. Smith Museum volunteer workday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Boone Hall basement. Lunch seminar featuring 'Oligocene Flora of the Salmon City Formation' by Howard Emry.

June 12

C of I Alumni, Family and Friends Picnic, 6 p.m., Municipal Park (Boise). Click for more info.

June 18

GOLD Alive After 5 Happy Hour, 4:30 p.m., The Reef (Downtown Boise).

June 20

Pocatello Alumni and Friends Event, 5:30 p.m. The Bridge (815 S 1st Street). Click to register!

June 21

Idaho Falls Alumni and Friends Event, 5:30 p.m. The Sandpiper (750 Lindsay Boulevard). Click to register!.)


Football Turf

The new turf has been installed at Simplot Stadium, and it looks fantastic! Click here to read more about the turf – which will be the home field of both the Coyote football team and the C of I soccer teams – on the website of manufacturer AstroTurf. The new field and recent radio broadcast partnership with KTIK also received extensive coverage in the local media, including KTVB News Channel 7, KIVI 6 On Your Side, KBOI 2 News and the Idaho Press-Tribune.

C of I alumnus Igor Samardzic ’13 has started a YouCaring.com fundraising project to help people affected by the recent Balkan floods. The project, titled “Noah’s Ark,” will provide sustainable aid to families affected by the floods in the form of chickens and chicken coops that will yield nutritious eggs and fertilizer for crops. Click here to learn more about the project!

Scotland and Ireland 2014

Check out new photo galleries on the C of I Flickr page, including albums from the study abroad experience in Scotland and Ireland, Commencement 2014, the Coyote softball team's NAIA National Tournament Opening Round championship and more!

Check out the latest from the College of Idaho Student Experience Blogs as recently graduated senior Rahul Sharma reflects upon his C of I experience in his farewell post. To read more from our always funny and talented student bloggers, visit www.collegeofidaho.edu/blog/student-experience.

The College of Idaho, KTIK AM 1350 and Jon Carson Productions are teaming up to provide live radio broadcasts of the Coyote football team’s return to the gridiron this fall! All 11 regular-season C of I football games will be broadcast live on KTIK and streamed online. Click here to read more about the agreement, or watch the video above for footage from the media event announcing the partnership.

C of I business professor Dr. Scott Johnson talks about why unanimous and hasty decisions often lead to trouble in his latest "The College of Idaho on Business" column for the Idaho Statesman.

Mike Safford Jr.

Congratulations to C of I sports information director Mike Safford Jr., who has been named the Cascade Collegiate Conference Mike Booth Sports Information Director of the Year for a second consecutive year! Safford, now a four-time winner of the award, was instrumental to a banner year for Coyote athletics, which included Cascade Conference championships in men’s basketball, women’s cross country, women’s track & field and volleyball along with the softball team’s historic run to the NAIA World Series. Way to go, Mike!