Name: Emily Bass

Hometown: Verona, Wis.

Title: : International program assistant

Business: International Samaritan

Coming out of high school, Emily planned on someday becoming a Spanish teacher.

“Then I took the Introduction to Nonprofit Organizations class at Lakeland, and my whole world changed,” she recalls. “I learned to mix Spanish and nonprofit together, and I found my dream job.”

International Samaritan, a nonprofit organization based in Ann Arbor, Mich., aims to build better communities for people living in and around developing countries’ city garbage dumps. It does this through working with local governments and improving basic infrastructure by building homes, medical facilities, daycare facilities and community centers, among other things.

Emily’s job is important and satisfying. The 2011 Lakeland graduate organizes community service trips abroad for American high school and college students and church groups that want to help. Once the volunteers arrive at their destination, Emily uses her fluency in Spanish to translate. This is critical because she is often the primary liaison between native construction crews or local government reps, for example, and the American volunteers who are there to work. In her first six months on the job, Emily has helped lead groups to Guatemala and Nicaragua.

“I love it,” she says of her job. “I’m really happy I got it.”

Emily graduated from Lakeland with her double major in 3.5 years. She says she was anxious to finish school and “see the world,” which is exactly what she’s doing, but now, she says, “I really miss Lakeland.”

“Lakeland was definitely very good for me,” she says. “I am a quiet, shy person by nature, but the one-on-one relationships with the teachers helped me open up and establish strong relationships with them. I could contact them at any time, and in fact, when I was going for this job, I called one of the professors and got some great advice that helped me get the position.

“At Lakeland, I had a name. It was family. I was comfortable being myself, and I learned to open up more than I would have at a bigger school.”