WWU Students Find Rewarding Employment at Animal Shelter

March 05, 2015 | Rachel Wood

Walla Walla University (WWU) provides a variety of state-funded student employment opportunities both on campus and in the community. Students perform work related to their major fields of study, and the state reimburses the employer for a portion of the labor costs. The Walla Walla Valley animal shelter, Blue Mountain Humane Society (BMHS), is a work-study participant that currently employs three WWU students.

Madison Bortfeld, a freshman business/pre-law student, works at BMHS as an office assistant. She helps with finances, information systems and event planning. Bortfeld says the experience will be helpful for her future career. “Seeing animals coming in abused or injured makes me even more motivated to study law so that one day I may be able to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves and stand up for individual rights, whether it be for animals or humans,” she says.

Alecksana Mallory, a freshman social work major, says, “I chose the work-study program at BMHS because I have always loved animals. Being paid to do what I love is amazing.” She says she is developing people skills, is learning to maintain a good work ethic and is developing veterinary skills as well.

“I love animals,” says Miranda Towler, freshman nursing major, “so working at BMHS was a natural choice, and it also helps pay for my tuition.” She is learning office skills, people skills, business skills and event planning. “This experience has taught me to work well with other people and to have a good work ethic," she adds.

Sara Archer, BMHS executive director and WWU alumnus, appreciates having WWU students as part of the team. “I particularly appreciate that our current students have a set of values and experience that we share, providing a level of understanding and trust that can take some time to achieve with others,” she says. “We hope that the work setting and responsibilities will give the students experience that will serve them throughout their careers.”

As Archer mentors the work-study students, she hopes they will be inspired by the experience. “I hope they will be inspired to not settle for a ‘job’ but to seek a mission instead — one that engages their passions and abilities and that provides fulfillment for their hearts and minds, all while making a difference in the world in a way only they can achieve.”