News Release


Opportunities abound with the Chicago Semester program. For Joanna VanderWoude ’07 of Schererville, Indiana, it has meant an internship with the YWCA Metropolitan Chicago. She had no idea her Chicago Semester contacts would lead to a conversation with Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley and a seat at the city’s 2016 Olympic bid dinner at McCormick Place on March 6.

“Kendra Kreykes, my roommate at Chicago Semester, received two extra tickets to the dinner and invited me to attend,” VanderWoude said.

During the event, VanderWoude rubbed shoulders with several city dignitaries, including Chicago Alderman Billy Ocasio of the 26th Ward, Senator Dick Durbin’s chief of staff Pat Souders, and Amy Dickinson, an advice columnist with the Chicago Tribune.

 “We talked about many things, including their occupations, reasons they enjoy living in Chicago, and the plans for the Chicago Olympics.”

Then, VanderWoude had the opportunity to meet Mayor Daley.

“A few days before the event, I faxed a request to his office to declare April as the YWCA’s Sexual Assault Awareness Month. At the dinner, he assured me he would take care of it. His assistant called me the next day to say the declaration would be sent to my office within a week.”

VanderWoude says her Chicago Semester internship and experiences like the Olympic dinner are invaluable.

“I am gaining confidence in writing press releases with the YWCA, interviewing clients, and learning how to plan for events. It’s exciting to take the skills I learned in Trinity’s classrooms and hone them in real-life situations.”

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