Baltic-American
Freedom Foundation

 News Blog

2017 Enrichment Trip to Salt Lake City

The Spring 2017 BAFF and HAESF PIP fellows were invited to Salt Lake City for a milestone week of their internship programs. This career and culture-centric reunion rewards our interns, who are residing in cities at all corners of the United States, with a stimulating boost to their J-1 enrichment experience, by exchanging ideas with successful professionals, by forging enduring relationships with peers, and by observing a new and unfamiliar regional culture.

The first evening was one without precedent for our Enrichment trip repertoire, as we were warmly and graciously welcomed into the home of former BAFF Director, Randal Quarles, and his wife Hope Eccles. With a chance to marvel at the architectural magnificence of this sophisticated abode, the guests conversed with new-found acquaintances, met with CIEE staff, and shook hands with the evening’s honored guests, which included the Honorary Consul to Hungary, George Simon, and the Honorary Consul to Latvia, Jeffrey K. Scott, as well as members of the Deseret Management Corporation, Keith McMullin, CEO, and Emery Smith. With a fire-illuminated patio overlooking the Wasatch Mountain Range, a piano interlude performed by our intern Patricia Rukstelyte, and this mesmerizing venue, this was an evening that our Fellows will never forget.

Randal Quarles, Ilze Doskina (CIEE)

Fricis Pirtnieks, Austra Marta Jirgensone

Honorary Consul to Latvia, Jeffrey K. Scott, addresses the guests

CIEE staff members: Maggie Ivanova, Ilze Doskina, Denise Desrochers, Kelly Francis

    On Tuesday morning, the group of 27 people piled onto the Light Rail Traxx, Salt Lake City’s convenient public tram system, and arrived to the University of Utah campus for a tour of the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute, a division of the David Eccles School of Business. We were greeted by Troy D’Ambrosio, Executive Director, Assistant Dean, and Presidential Chair to the Institute. Mr. D’Ambrosio has co-founded several multi-million dollar startup companies, served as deputy chief of staff to the Mayor of Salt Lake City, and also served as Director of Mutual Fund Operations for Wasatch Advisors. A truly laudable individual to head this facility, whose mission is to create a breeding ground for new ideas and startup experimentation by University students. Through funding provided by alumnus and successful mining entrepreneur, Pierre Lassonde, this 160,000-square-foot dormitory and student center is an entrepreneurial microcosm for student visionaries to bring products to life, exchange ideas with other collaborators, and perhaps even come to terms with a failed idea. Our interns toured the many service areas of this laboratory, including its conference rooms, the 3-D printing lab, the carpentry shop, and the arts area. Some interns were so enthralled by the dynamic vibe of this space, that they stayed after the tour for a latte and a round on the billiard tables.

Troy D’Ambrosio speaks to the group in front of Lassonde Studios

Inside Lassonde Studios

 

Interns visit 3-D printing lab

After an afternoon of leisure time, in which many interns opted to saunter atop Salt Lake City’s breathtaking Municipal Library, we regrouped to take on the local escape room, Getout Games. The group was divided into three groups for a team-building, work-in-the-dark, crack-the-code challenge, with a reflective debrief and reflection of each person’s operative and cognitive habits. Our group topped off the fulfilling day at Squatters Brewery for a hearty Mexican dinner and local craft brew.

Winning team at Getout Games

Eliza Carr leads a debrief of the teams’ experiences in the escape rooms.

On Wednesday, the group dedicated the first half of the morning towards a volunteering experience with Welfare Square of the Church of Latter-Day Saints. Our group was greeted at our hotel by the Manager of Welfare Square Bishops’ Storehouse, Joel Moriyama, and was transported to the Church’s food production facility. This organization comprises a 178-foot grain elevator, a food storehouse, a cannery, a milk-processing operation, a thrift store, and an employment center. After a quick orientation on food safety, our group was equipped with hairnets, gloves and aprons, and took to the production floors. Whether slicing bread loaves, capping raspberry jam bottles, or organizing food shelves, the entire group got a first-hand glimpse of a mass food production facility, and the volunteer mechanism that is required to ensure successful operations. Joel Moriyama welcomed us to a generous lunch prepared by Welfare Square, with an informative presentation about the history of Welfare Square and the scope of its global assistance programs. We are truly grateful to the generous hospitality that our group received during those few hours at Welfare Square.

Joel Moriyama introduces interns to the Managers of Welfare Square’s cannery.

Bence Gecsa Cserna (HAESF), Maggie Ivanova (CIEE), Jakebs Dambergs (BAFF), Richard Berta (HAESF)

Joel Moriyama provides a presentation about Welfare Square

Deseret Digital Media, Salt Lake City’s own news and radio station, offered us a tour of their company. And what better place to kick-off this tour than the newsroom, where the interns got some laughs posing as the meteorologist in front of the green screen. Continuing our tour, we were introduced to several journalists, meteorologists, and radio show hosts, and our group learned some facts about a journalist’s schedule, how breaking news is discovered, and how songs are selected for the radio. Dinner was taken in the quirky, speakeasy-style Bourbon House, and the after-party proceeded to Keys on Main, for a musical soiree of dueling pianos.

Luanne Monson gives interns a tour of the newsroom at KSL studios.

Richard Berta and Denise Desrochers in front of the green screen.

Journalist Jed Boal talks to the interns about his profession.

Radio show host, Rusty Keys, demonstrates his sound-board know-how.

Thank you KSL news!

 

 

The fourth and final day of the Salt Lake City Enrichment Trip began with an interactive presentation provided by Laura Lyons, Director of Exchange Foundations. Her presentation, Dimensions of Culture, highlights the clines of cultural programming in line with research conducted by Professor Geert Hofstede, a Dutch social psychologist. The presentation incited reflection on the overall variances in the predispositions of different cultures, according to Professor Hofstede’s defined dimensions. Ms. Lyons summarized these dimensions, which include Power Distance, Uncertainty Avoidance, Individualism, and Masculinity (referring to the nature of dominant values). The interns grew attuned their own country’s position on these paradigm scales in relation to that of their internship host country, the US. They then participated in an interactive discussion pinpointing the values that they believed typically lied on the highest and lowest points of the American scale, based on their experience in the US.

Laura Lyons begins her interactive presentation, Cultural Dimensions

Interns brainstorm a hierarchy of American values.

After a guided tour of Temple Square, the interns were bused over to Park City for a stroll down its shopping street. Dinner was at the Goldener Hirsch Inn in the company of the BAFF Board of Directors, for an evening of intellectual conversation and accounts of internship experiences. A truly memorable Enrichment trip, and we thank both the BAFF and HAESF interns for being superlative ambassadors for their foundations and their countries.

BAFF Board Chairman, Kim Davis, welcomes the interns and Board members

Peter Ragauss (BAFF Board), Sidhards Jānis Libers, Ambassador Jackie Wolcott (BAFF Board)