Meet Our Fall 2014 Interns

With all the hustle and bustle of life at the Creative Youth Center, we can always use extras hands helping us out.  This fall we welcome four wonderful interns to our staff.  Check out their bios below and get to know the new faces of the CYC!

Shukri Bana

Hi, I’m Shukri, one of the new program interns at the CYC!

I love lists, so let me introduce myself in the only way I know how: through the most spectacular, exhilarating, and almost too exciting list I’ve ever made.

1.     I am a sophomore at Grand Valley State University.

2.     I wish I were a second year at Hogwarts (if you’re curious, I’m a Hufflepuff).

3.     I am studying Women and Gender Studies and English at GVSU.

4.     I work in the café at Fredrick Meijer Gardens. I make a mean chicken salad sandwich!

5.     At any given moment, my eyebrows are probably saying more than my mouth.

6.     I’m 100% Somali—my parents were born in Somalia, I was born in New York, and we moved to Michigan when I was

7. Someday I’m going to own the first sambusa truck in Grand Rapids (maybe the world?). Let me know if you have any genius sambusa suggestions!

8. I think being able to laugh is the most important thing in the world—I am a serial giggler and often find myself distracted because I’m trying to figure out why I’m laughing.

9. Classrooms are my favorite spaces. I think nothing is more empowering or exciting than sharing knowledge.

10.  At any given time, my bookbag probably weighs more than a large child.

11.  I have a boundless love for cheetah print scarves.

12. I am so excited and lucky to be working with the CYC. I look forward to the never-ending laughter, inspiration, learning, and fabulous times ahead of us!

Nathan Holtrey

Hello, hello, hello – My name’s Nathan Holtrey and I am one of the program interns here at the Creative Youth Center. I study writing at Grand Valley State University and I also work at the Frederick Meijer Center for Writing and Michigan Authors, aka “The Writing Center.” In my free time over the last couple years I’ve worked with different Grand Rapids groups focused on the writing and creativity of elementary school children. I am excited to spend this school year with the Creative Youth Center, having fun, helping with homework, sparking creativity, and spreading the love for writing.

Emily Gunderson

Hello! I’m Emily and I am currently a writing major in my junior year at Grand Valley State University. Originally, I am from Marine City, Michigan, an itty bitty town on the St. Clair River on the east side of the state. Like the students involved in our programs, I, too, expressed a passion for writing at a young age. I remember writing poems about snowy trees for my third grade teacher, Mrs. Mauk, who encouraged me to send them in to Scholastic Magazine. Of course they were never published, but I thought I was pretty cool. I am also currently an editor for the Grand Valley Journal of History, which is a very unique course at GVSU. With seven other students I get to read undergraduate written articles and decide whether to publish them in our Journal. As the publishing intern here at the CYC, I am eager to work with students and staff to highlight the power and beauty of writing. I am absolutely delighted to be a part of an organization that encourages creativity in young students. I can’t wait to see what we come up with!

Neal Spann

Hi, I’m Neal! I am a senior at Grand Valley State University majoring in Public & Non-Profit Administration with an emphasis in Finance & Budgeting. I have been involved with various non-profits in Chicago and Michigan for the last 7 years. I am inspired by helping children reach their full potential through arts and am excited to be the nonprofit management intern this semester.

We look forward to a new year of adventure with bright students and enthusiastic staff. We will be welcoming new interns in the winter semester as well. If you’re interested in an internship with us, stay tuned, we will be posting more information soon!

At the CYC, kids become published authors, leading to a strong sense of identity and an enthusiasm for learning.

Our programs are free for all students attending Grand Rapids Public Schools.


Phone: 616-458-5505

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