Get to Know Our Summer Interns

Written by Plant With Purpose on June 10, 2014 in General

Today we’re welcoming Plant With Purpose’s summer interns. They’re a dynamic group, passionate about leaving their mark on the world. And we’re thrilled to share summer with them. Stay tuned as you will be hearing their voices throughout the next couple of months.


Rome was the place I called home last fall. As much as I loved it, I frequently felt trapped by all the concrete and massive buildings that crowded out any potential grass or big trees. There was a park close to my apartment that quickly became my safe haven, and when the chaos of the city set in, the stretch of green hills and trees was the only thing that could calm the fast-paced lifestyle and reground my thoughts. Having taken for granted the ocean view that is always before me at Point Loma Nazarene University, it wasn’t until a never-ending expanse of city surrounded me that I realized that so much of my well being depended on my ability to be still and appreciate nature and the One who created it.

Soon after this realization and my return from Rome, I found Plant With Purpose, and my passions began to stir and come together. I had no idea there was an organization dedicated to sustaining and replenishing the environment so that others could be rejuvenated by creation and alleviated from the harsh cycle of poverty. My heart quickly set on trying to intern here, and I am still amazed and so grateful that I have the opportunity to join the team where faith is the foundation for internationally transforming the environment and the lives of the poor.

As the marketing and outreach intern, I am excited to challenge myself in writing and utilize my communications major to speak out the passions of social justice that God has pressed on my heart. With one year left until I complete my undergraduate degree, I am so appreciative of the opportunity to learn more about the ins-and-outs of an international nonprofit and stretch my creativity to promote the mission of Plant With Purpose.

When I am not working or in the Plant With Purpose office, I am usually found soaking up the sunshine, dreaming about South Africa, belly laughing with my favorite people, asking lots of questions, writing until my pen runs out of ink, fiddling around on the guitar, and finding a new definition of an adventure.




I’m Mark Chesney and I’ll be the monitoring and evaluation intern this summer at Plant With Purpose. I’ve spent the last eight months developing quantitative and analytical tools at UCSD’s School of International Relations and Pacific Studies. The opportunity to apply this skill set is one I’m very much looking forward to…it’ll be an especially nice change of gears from constantly working on assignments in graduate school!

I was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii where I grew up with a deep appreciation of both the big city life and the natural surrounding environment. I graduated from Seattle University studying electrical engineering, then lived in Silicon Valley for seven years doing data analysis and software testing. I enjoy playing music—especially the drums! I also like going for bike rides. I enjoy learning different languages—I spent one month in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala, improving my Spanish. If you’ve never been there, it’s one of the most beautiful, lesser-known cities I’ve been to.

Interning at Plant With Purpose is an excellent opportunity for me to not just apply my professional skills, but I am coming in with an open mind to have my perspectives shaped this summer. By partnering together with rural villages in other places, I know the work we will be doing together toward economic justice, environmental restoration, and fostering hope will be transforming not just for the lives of the poor, but for my life as well. Well, here’s to hoping!




Hi! My name is Ignacia Simonetti from Chile (you can call me Ina) and I’ll be the grant-writing intern for the summer. I am a journalist and about to finish my first year at UCSD. I am a grad student at the School of Pacific and International Affairs, concentrating in International Development and Non Profit with special focus on Latin America.

After college graduation, I completed my professional internship at CNN in Atlanta, and worked later as an international reporter for a local TV station in Chile. Prior to graduate school I worked for the Center of Public Policy at Universidad Catolica de Chile, and as director of an educational nonprofit organization that works in high-risk social neighborhoods.

I grew up in Santiago as part of a family of five surrounded by the Andes Mountain and close enough to the sea for some occasional getaways. With my husband, we are proud parents of a five-months old Boston terrier, which we named ‘Lomito’ after a famous Chilean sandwich.

Some fun facts about me: I was a TV anchor for a year; growing up I had all kinds of pets (including a peacock, and a lamb); I practiced classical ballet for 13 years and I am also an Italian citizen.

To end, one of my favorites quotes from Maya Angelou, which basically sums up my philosophy of life, “Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.”



My name is Brittany Raab. I have a deep passion for leadership, writing, and bringing out the potential I see in others. As the oldest of four, (with one recently adopted sister!) I have deeply enjoyed being in a leadership position for the majority of my life, and decided to pursue this interest of mine in college.

I am a senior at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego and am earning my Bachelor of Arts degree in managerial and organizational communication. Although I love it here, home for me resides in the evergreen suburbs of Sammamish, Washington. We’re full of Starbucks coffee cups, North Face parkas, and thanks to the 2014 Super Bowl XLVII, the happiest Seahawks fans anyone could ever see!

In the fall of my junior year, I studied abroad with Semester at Sea to further my international passion. As the wind tangled my hair in knots, I stared off the coast of England and prepared to sail around the world. Our ship’s itinerary was set to dock in 15 different countries on 4 different continents along the way. The journey that began in Europe expanded to Africa, South America, Central America, and North America and provided a historical, political, and cultural overview of each country in addition to firsthand experience in developing worlds—and it rocked my world! I plan to apply this knowledge toward my vision of one-day opening a mentorship facility for teens in at-risk areas around the world.

This summer, I want to be a part of a cause that is making a tangible difference in the lives of those who need it the most—and Plant with Purpose does exactly that. I love the way this organization restores hope in sustainable ways as it rebuilds the environment that farmers around the world depend on. How amazing is it to say that I am interning at a place that makes a difference every time the team goes to work? I couldn’t be more excited to add my face to this team of passionate go-getters ready to make a difference!



Hi Plant With Purpose! My name is Bri Johnston and I’m your new graphic design intern for the summer. Salut! I’m fresh off the commencement slab from Point Loma Nazarene University and I’m very much looking forward to serving on the internship team this summer.

As a new graduate, the world automatically starts posing all sorts of questions to you like, “What do you plan on doing with your career? What are your life goals? How are you taking care of your debt?” Really heavy questions for a newbie. But since being brought on as an intern with Plant With Purpose and being presented its values, the questions have changed slightly… “What am I thankful for today? What new people have I met and how have I treated them? How can they be lifted up? What are my resources and how can they be shared?”

I’m so excited to be interning for an organization that has articulated those questions and refined them down to their most simple and relevant. How can a world full of people who need the basic life-sustaining elements be reached? By lifting them up to a place of dignity and hope. How do we do that? By teaching them about planting trees and family gardens. What do trees have anything to do with it? Trees are what keep us all in community with God’s given resources and abundance…and this is how people are fed. This is how people are brought up. This is just one of the powerful ways that God brings life. And I’m so stoked that this is what Plant With Purpose stands for.

I can’t wait to learn more and be part of the process, even though I’ll be bringing just the aesthetics of design to the table, I’m so looking forward to seeing what can sprout from that and how my love for design can grow by designing for the awesome concepts this organization is all about.

Random side-facts: I was born in Germany. I’m a certified open-water scuba diver. I’m a twin. My family lives in Georgia but I’m not from the south. And I cry every time I hear the National Anthem. Cheers!




Bonjour! My name is Rachel and I am thrilled to introduce myself as the monitoring and evaluation intern for Plant With Purpose this summer.

As a native Michigander, most people are quite surprised to hear that I have taken an internship in a state on the other side of the country. Not to mention, I just recently returned from a semester abroad in southern France, so I can count the number of weeks I’ve been home this year on one hand. In fact, in the past year I will have essentially travelled from one side of the world to the other. However, I have come to realize in the past few months just how fleeting life truly is and how important it is to make the most of every phase therein. With the goal being to determine a vision for my life, I do not want to miss out on any opportunity presented.

As a student of biomedical engineering with a minor in international studies at the University of Michigan, I am interested in health, technology, and the art of understanding others. Yet, I feel a draw not to the typical engineering routes of industry or consulting but rather to the humanitarian sector. After hearing the Gospel for the first time my freshman year of college and learning of the love our God has for all people, my desires began to shift from a pursuit of prosperity to a longing to live a life of love in God’s name. My career is one way in which I hope to do so.

This summer I decided to find an internship that aligned more closely with my passions and was thrilled to discover Plant With Purpose. I felt that this internship perfectly combined my interest in sustainability, my faith, and my previous experience with research and data evaluation. I look forward to learning about the operations of organizations such as Plant With Purpose–the ‘nitty gritty’ of societal improvement and the real day-to-day responsibilities of the employees. I’m hopeful that this will help me to determine if this is where I could fit in God’s great scheme and thus to focus my plans for after graduation.

In my free time, you can find me: singing and playing the ukulele, documenting the world around me through photo and video, finding ways to creatively cook vegetables, thinking deeply about life, and searching for ways to better love others and God.

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