Intern Spotlight: Sean Robertson

As Theologia: The George Fox Summer Theology Institute is underway this week, we wanted to share a spotlight on one of our summer interns, Sean Robertson, a San Diego native who’s lived in Newberg for several years with his wife and two children. He’s currently a Graduate Student and Doctoral Candidate in Clinical Psychology at George Fox University and is interning for the Salem Leadership Foundation in Salem. We’ve asked Sean a couple of questions to learn more about him and how his internship is going so far!

Q: How did you first learn of The Leadership Center?
A: Trisha and I met while I was interning with GFU’S Spiritual and Intercultural department. She was serving as interim associate pastor while I was running an outreach program for middle school aged children. When we realized what one another did, we quickly made arrangements for me to work with her friend DJ Vincent at the Salem Leadership Foundation.

Q: Is this your first internship? If not, where else have you interned and how does it compare?
A: It is not. I was in the military for five years, and a research assistant for the Portland Psychotherapy Clinic my sophomore year. My junior year I was an activity director for Youth Outreach Services, then worked in tandem with GFU’s Spiritual Life department and an afterschool program for middleschoolers in my senior year. The real difference I see in this internship over others is the holistic development of the interns. Professional, personal, and spiritual development are all emphasized equally. This has made for an excellent spiritual recharge and reframing for my professional goals and personal life.

Q: What has been one highlight of your internship so far?
A: SLF is an organization that helps unite the city of Salem under the mission of shalom. Regularly, then, urban developers and theologians are welcomed to Salem to provide feedback and guidance. I was fortunate to meet one of those mentors in a day of touring the city and hearing a few of the amazing stories occurring in Salem. The highlight was the words spoken by the vulnerable, forgiving victims of Salem. They had transformed their wounds of suffering into wombs of love for all. It was beautiful to see the redemption.

Q: What has been one difficulty?
A: I’ve had a hard time connecting all the moving pieces. Does this meeting with the superintendent fit with this other meeting with refugees? What does Salem Health have to do with an outreach program for divested teens? There are so many moving, complex parts to neighbors serving neighborhoods.

Q: What is your dream job after graduation?
A: I hope to one day serve vulnerable populations, such as at-risk youth or people experiencing homelessness, in a mental health capacity.

Q: How did going through orientation and theo-praxis help?
A: Putting my professional development into the context of theological practices was magnificent. It helped provide sustainable purpose and motivation to work everyday. It also spilled over into other areas of life. I found myself being more patient and joyful.

Q: How has being mentored impacted you?
A: Like any good mentorship, I feel pushed to do more good work, as well as feel encouraged in my present activities. It has affirmed me as a man of God, and motivated me to do more.

Q: What has God been teaching you during this internship?
A: He loves me. He has a special affinity for the last, the lost, and the least. He exalts the marginalized. The incarnation of God in Jesus of Nazareth shows the depth to which God will go to show that love.

Q: What will your Legacy Project be?
A: I’ve been working on a school chaplaincy pilot program. The idea is to get chaplains into the public schools to be able to respond in times of crisis, such as the recent influx of teen suicides.

Please be praying for Sean and his family as he continues to serve where God leads.