Stars Align for Unique Internship Opportunity

Author: Krista Ruehmer

Published Date: 12/15/2020

Categories: F1RST Magazine Pioneers Persevere Spanish Students

Horwitz-DeRemer Planetarium

It’s as though the stars aligned—literally—when Kally Dey '20 sought an internship to fulfill her capstone course for the Spanish major.

Lisa Swaney, director of the Horwitz-DeRemer Planetarium in Waukesha needed help creating programming that better shaped the planetarium as a full community resource, specifically as she began planning for Hispanic Heritage Month last fall. When she approached Carroll University Spanish professor Jessica Boll seeking potential student work, the connection clicked. 

Dey’s primary role as a Spanish intern let her exercise her Spanish skills while engaging bilingual students in the community, developing and executing marketing strategies and facilitating community outreach within Waukesha’s Latinx community, in particular for the planetarium’s first all-Spanish show for the public last October. 

“My work at the planetarium truly enhanced our community outreach and the experience of dual-language students who visit the planetarium,” Dey said. “It also enhanced my ability to engage with people from backgrounds very different from my own, not to mention expanding my Spanish vocabulary and fluency while speaking in front of larger crowds.”

As a future physician hoping to support public health initiatives in diverse communities, Dey said her internship experience prepared her in humanities and communication. 

Swaney called the experience created with Dey’s work amazing for both her and the students who visit the planetarium and hopes to continue offering internships after Dey’s initial service to the organization. 

“Our planetarium goal for future interns is to teach them the system and astronomy, and have them do live star talks in Spanish for different Spanish-speaking groups that visit,” Swaney said.

The planetarium is housed in the Retzer Nature Center. A projector in the center which can recreate the day or night sky by projecting images of the galaxy at any date, time or latitude on the dome-shaped ceiling. The planetarium serves as a resource for students, teachers and the community, providing the most current trends in astronomy and space exploration and playing a major role in the School District of Waukesha’s earth and space curriculum.

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