WMU News

WMU and Komen Foundation offer unique internship

Oct. 1, 2000

KALAMAZOO -- A Western Michigan University history professor has teamed up with the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation to create a unique internship for honors students interested in women's health and history.

Linda J. Borish, a WMU associate professor of history, conceived of the idea after meeting Toni Freed, president of Southwest Michigan affiliate of the foundation.

"After Toni and I met at a fund-raising tennis tournament sponsored by Komen, we realized that we had a number of things in common, in terms of our mutual interest in American sports and women's health history," says Borish, who specializes in women's sport history. "The foundation has been established in our area for about five years, and many of the historical records weren't in any organized format. I saw an opportunity for one of our students to assist the foundation while learning a great deal about health history, archiving materials and how a nonprofit organization like this operates."

Borish figured an internship like this would require a self-motivated, responsible student who could take the initiative to help the all-volunteer Southwest Michigan affiliate of the Komen Foundation organize their materials. From her own experience teaching in WMU's Lee Honors College, Borish knew an honors student would fit the bill.

Tanya Pulver, a senior majoring in biomedical sciences and Spanish, became the first intern position beginning earlier this year. The Lee Honors College student continued her work with the foundation throughout the spring and summer, focusing on organizing and preserving documents and photographs of the organization's history, as well as helping with public outreach. She also got involved with planning and publicizing a number of Komen events, including the BMW Drive for the Cure, the recent Golf for the Cure and the Sept. 30 Race for the Cure. As part of her learning experience, Pulver also traveled with Freed and her colleagues to the national Komen Foundation meeting in Dallas earlier this year.

"This internship provides a variety of meaningful experiences," says Borish, who has also become involved as a volunteer with the foundation since meeting Freed. "Our interns often attend board meetings and obtain an in-depth understanding about how nonprofit organizations operate, including a local affiliate's relationship with its national parent organization. It's a great opportunity, both for the student and for the Komen Foundation."

Beginning this fall, WMU senior Kara Stark took over the internship reigns. A Lee Honors College student majoring in biomedical sciences, Stark has hit the ground running, organizing records, documenting new Komen events like the Sing for the Cure, and working to organize the recent Tee-Off Against Breast Cancer and Race for the Cure in Battle Creek.

Media contact: Jessica English, 616 387-8400, jessica.english@wmich.edu

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