The opportunity to thrive

Many Linfield College alumni find success early in their careers or during internships because of the support they received in and out of the classroom.

Heather McNutt-Kaestner ’19 at a Cellar Ridge worksite during her internship.

Personal relationships with faculty, staff and coaches. One-on-one help from career development professionals. Pair these benefits with the desire to thrive, and you’ll find numerous success stories from Linfield College alumni and students. The preparation they receive for their careers and lives is not accidental. It’s a testament to their hard work and the desire of many, including Linfield donors, who want to see them flourish. Meet a few Wildcats who are prospering from a Linfield education in the “real world.”


Ehren Cahill ’17

I had a great opportunity to intern for Nordstrom where I got to spend the summer gaining management skills, applying my course material from economics, and networking with corporate leaders within the company. I had only worked for small local businesses before so I spent a lot of time in the Career Development Office at Linfield practicing for my interview. On the job, I found that my coursework both inside and outside of my major made it easy to thrive as a team member, and coming back to school in the fall with this experience helped me excel in my courses. I will always be proud to be a Wildcat!

Heather McNutt-Kaestner ’19

Linfield has played a pivotal role in all of the internships I have acquired. I was able to land a great internship as a freshman with Cellar Ridge Construction as their marketing & promotions intern because my boss, Michael Hampton (director of career development), heard they were looking for applicants and invited me to apply. In fact, he was so insistent that he convinced me to immediately call to tell him I was interested! Linfield’s Career Development Office is absolutely fantastic to work with — I have worked on many practice interviews, resumes and cover letters with their help.

I landed my Make-A-Wish development and communications internship entirely through Linfield connections. I went on a Linfield-funded trip to a career expo in Portland and asked Emily Eisert ’17, to introduce me to the Make-A-Wish recruiter. The recruiter also happened to be a Linfield alumna and informed me that Make-A-Wish loves having Linfield interns because they always go above and beyond. It turns out she was hiring only for the fall (when I will be going abroad), but I received an email a couple of days after we met asking for an interview. They ended up adding a position for me so that I could join the Make-A-Wish team this summer!

Hayden Mace ’12

Linfield taught me the importance of character, communication and teamwork — all of which helped me in my career at Amazon and in my career transition into collegiate football coaching at Eastern Washington University. Coach (Joseph) Smith ’93 often referenced Linfield football as the most important “class” that you’ll take, in terms of getting ready for life after college and developing into a man of character and action. The lessons learned on and off the field at Linfield have helped to shape the person that I am today, and I’m proud and grateful to be a Wildcat alumnus.

Meg Burgess-Hull ’13

When I got the job as a client services case manager, I had no previous experience in the social services field. I was able to demonstrate to the organization that I had a transferable skillset that I was fortunate enough to learn while attending Linfield College. At Linfield, I was provided with opportunities to challenge my way of thinking, view my community, and figure out my own value systems. I was taught the importance of listening, problem solving, being detailed oriented and thinking before speaking; all skills that I use in my current position as the human resources coordinator at Linfield College. Finding a career that matches with my values is extremely important to me and being a Wildcat helped shape those values and who I am today.

Bobby Tarnapoll ’18

The career development office helped me market myself in in a professional way to land an internship with the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes professional baseball team. Once I started working, my marketing courses enabled me to flourish and take on a lot of responsibilities. Since Linfield set me up for success, I was able to separate myself during the internship and use that experience to get hired as an intern at the Portland Trail Blazers and Hillsboro Hops. Linfield, paired with my ambition, has given me a great platform to achieve my career goals.

Tavon Willis ’16

My experience starting a business has been one of the most rewarding experiences in my life. Linfield College has afforded me the opportunity to develop the disciplines to meet the demands that are required to run a competitive operation. Linfield College’s competitive, diversified liberal arts curriculum open me up to a variety of fields and people that peaked my interest. The Linfield College experience gave me the opportunity to associate and learn from some of the brightest minds in fields such as health, business and religion. In return this diversified learning experience has allowed me to bring a perspective unlike others to the market.


This story is part of Linfield College’s 2nd annual giving day: Linfield Gives. Visit linfield.edu/gives to learn more.