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Meet Our Winter 2015 Interns

This semester, we have three interns joining us from Grand Valley State University. Hannah Swanson, nonprofit management intern, as well as Emily Gunderson and Aleia Wright as our publishing interns. Hannah will be focusing on fundraising, event planning, and community outreach, while Emily and Aleia will be coordinating our new Book of Explosions. Read more about them below!

Hannah Swanson


Hi, I’m Hannah!

I am a Junior at Grand Valley State University, majoring in Liberal Studies (emphasis: Creative Community Development and Social Justice) and minoring in environmental studies. My heart goes out to people vs. people and people vs. environmental issues and because of that, my passions lie in bringing opportunity, justice, happiness, development, compassion involvement, sustainability and much more into communities creatively. I LOVE laughing and I believe it is the best medicine for any person. Music is a major passion of mine, I think it is incredible how moving it can be and it also serves as a major bond between my older brothers and I. I believe in random acts of dancing and singing. I have an obsession for the company, Patagonia, and if I could live in a kayak for the rest of my life I would. I find human relationships fascinating–how various concepts and ideas don’t resonate with everyone, which I think there is beauty in. We are all different people, but it is so powerful when a group of us can have similar passions that can push us toward amazing goals.

A few of my major values include curiosity, imagination, open-mindedness, respect, compassion, humbleness, love, development, laughter, inspiration and involvement. I was lucky enough to stumble upon the CYC booth at an organization/non-profit fair at GVSU last fall. I was drawn to the passion that everyone at the CYC holds because, like me, they believe that kids are geniuses, but they just need a little push to voice how genius they really are. I began volunteering in the fall semester and fell in love with everything the CYC does/is doing and those kiddos are just adorable.There is a wonderful quote that Patagonia put in one of their advertisements, one in which I have lived by ever since; “Adventure, we found, was not about the gymnastic moves or the mental steel, but the head-on collision between what we wanted, and what we got.” My current (and very new) internship at the CYC is one of my new adventures, and I am so excited to embark on this journey with everyone there!

Emily Gunderson


Hello Adventurers!

I had a blast getting to know all the wonderful people involved in the CYC’s programs this fall. I am super duper excited to stay on as the publishing intern and welcome Aleia to the team. We will be working together to get the kids’ writing ready for publication in this year’s Book of Explosions.

You probably know a little bit about me from my bio in the fall, but here are some fun facts to help you know me even better:

I have been at Grand Valley for two and a half years and have since fallen in love with Grand Rapids. Unlike many West Michiganders, I actually do not mind the heavy snowfall. Since it’s winter, the more snow the better, I say!

I am a server at a fancy-pants seafood restaurant in downtown Grand Rapids – Charley’s Crab. There are some wonderful people there who always keep me laughing while I work.

I come from the teeny-tiny town of Marine City on the east side of the state. I am the oldest “kid” in my family and have lots of crazy little cousins. Because I grew up around young family, I have a knack for hanging out with kids and learning from the silly, clever things they say.

Aleia Wright


Hello! My name is Aleia. I am in my final semester as a writing major/English minor at Grand Valley State University. I am also the President of GVSU’s Quidditch team, former Vice President and founder of Grand Valley’s Harry Potter Alliance Human Rights group, an avid young adult and fiction reader, and an enthusiastic cat owner. I’ve worked as an editor on GVSU’s InWriting newsletter as well as many of my friend’s creative and academic writing over the course of my high school and college career. My ultimate goal is to become an editor/publisher for young adult novels, so I am extremely excited to be working with the CYC as their editing and publishing intern.

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