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The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

    Rainn Wilson hires CLU student for internship

    Batter for the Soul: Alli Westerhoff interns with SoulPancake to help answer lifeโ€™s biggest spiritual and philosophical questions using social media.
    Photo by Zachary Harper- Staff Photographer

    CLU junior Allison Westerhoff, a communication major emphasizing in public relations and advertising, is currently working as a social media intern at a small, up-and-coming company known as SoulPancake.

    SoulPancake is a multi-media outlet that encourages people to ask questions they would otherwise be too embarrassed to ask. It was founded four years ago by Rainn Wilson of NBCโ€™s โ€œThe Officeโ€, with the help of his friends Joshua Homnick and Devon Gundry. By November 2010, the site had 50 thousand active members and an average of one million page views per month, according to SoulPancake.

    โ€œI thought it was interesting that both of the institutions she was working for- SoulPancake and Cal Lutheran- have similar missions, in that they are both asking big questions,โ€ said Jean Sandlin, assistant communication professor.

    Sandlin said Westerhoffโ€™s self-motivation and passion for what she does not only helped her land the internship, but also helps her enjoy her tasks as a social media intern.

    โ€œEven though everybody says life is short, my philosophy is actually that life is long and you should be doing something that you love,โ€ said Sandlin. โ€œIf youโ€™re doing something that you love, it doesnโ€™t feel like work and youโ€™ll be happy.โ€

    Wilson recruits interns through partnerships with local universities, as well as through his Twitter account. Westerhoff first heard about the opportunity through Twitter. Her strong presence on the site, as well as her personality and willingness to learn, made her stand out from other candidates.

    โ€œShe was eager to learn and try and grow,โ€ said Correy Stoner, sales and marketing manager at SoulPancake. โ€œShe was hired as a social media intern and sheโ€™s doing a lot more than just social media.โ€

    Westerhoff helps manage the companyโ€™s Twitter account, reaches out to the press, handles PR and recently helped launch the companyโ€™s creative agency. Her ability to work in different areas of the company has reflected positively at SoulPancake.

    โ€œWeโ€™ve had a lot of success in the couple weeks that sheโ€™s been on board,โ€ said Stoner. โ€œOur growth in our Twitter followers and then just engagement in our community in general has grown.โ€

    Westerhoff works at her internship an average of 20 hours per week and is not paid for her work, but that does not discourage her from enjoying her time there.

    โ€œThe environment is so great,โ€ said Westerhoff. โ€œItโ€™s a really fun and meaningful experience.โ€

    Being able to work at a company that seeks answers to the same big questions she likes to ask is something she enjoys, but she said getting to meet Wilson after being his fan for several years exceeded her expectations.

    โ€œItโ€™s kind of cool because every now and then Rainn stops by and being able to meet him on my first day was a really cool thing,โ€ she said. โ€œIt has hands down been the coolest thing ever.โ€


    Mayra Ruiz
    Staff Writer
    Published Feb. 13, 2013

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