• Valpo Surf Project

Meet the New Interns: Varun Konanki & Makensie Brown

With the hard goodbye of two of our beloved interns also comes the excitement of the arrival of two new individuals. This July we welcomed Varun Konanki and Makensie Brown to the VSP team: we are looking forward to the work that they will do over the next year.

After graduating from Trinity College as a neuroscience major, varsity wrestler, and writing associate, Varun was looking for a change. Fortunately, he found the Valpo Surf Project (VSP), a non-profit organization that provided an internship he could only dream of. He is excited for the opportunity to mentor kids, improve his Spanish, practice surfing, and to learn the plethora of skills that come with being a VSP intern.


Hometown: Newton, Massachusetts; Planned time with VSP: July 2015 - July 2016

VSP: Why did you decide to volunteer with the VSP?

VK: I decided to volunteer with the VSP because it was a perfect gap year opportunity for me before medical school. I enjoy working with kids, and the internship gave me the opportunity to immerse myself in a Spanish-speaking country. Overall, it seems like a once in a lifetime opportunity, so I had to give it a shot


VSP: What skills do you bring to the team?

VK: I bring a positive attitude, strong work ethic, eye for detail, and a willingness to learn new things.

VSP: What are you looking forward to regarding your time with the Valpo Surf Project?

VK: I am looking forward to surfing a lot, but am most excited about developing relationships with the children that we work with.


VSP: What is a goal you have for your time with the VSP?

VK: One of my goals is to strengthen my Spanish speaking skills so I can be conversational in Spanish by the end of my time as a VSP intern.



Makensie studied Spanish and graphic design at Buena Vista University in Iowa. While studying she also spent time in Spain, Morocco, Nepal, and Haiti, among other diverse cultures. Upon graduation, she moved to Guatemala to work for Habitat for Humanity. Makensie is excited to document the Valpo Surf Project’s daily efforts to use English learning, surfing, and environmental appreciation as mentoring tools for the youth of Valparaíso through film and photography. We sat down with Makensie to learn more about her plans for her next 12 months with the VSP.



Hometown: Huxley, Iowa; Planned time with VSP: July 2015 - July 2016

VSP: Why did you decide to volunteer with the VSP?

MB: I decided to volunteer with the VSP because I have always desired to use my interests and abilities to support those who may not be as fortunate to have the resources that I do. My time in Guatemala showed me the importance as well as the fulfillment of doing what you love in a way that can benefit others and only encouraged me to continue doing so elsewhere - when I found VSP I knew it was the perfect fit.


VSP: What skills do you bring to the team?

MB: I am a graphic designer as well as a photographer. I hope to use these skills as a way to strengthen the online presence that the VSP has already established.


VSP: What are you looking forward to regarding your time with the Valpo Surf Project?

MB: I am looking forward to forming relationships with not only the VSP team, but with the children and families that are the focus of the work that we do. I hope to not only serve as a english and surf instructor but to also be a reliable mentor and a strong part of the VSP team.

VSP: What is a goal you have for your time with the VSP?

MB: One of my goals is to gain more of an understanding about the Chilean society and culture and use it as a tool to make an even deeper connection with the students.


We want to give Varun and Makensie a big welcome to the team! We know that their presence will greatly benefit the organization, and we hope that this experience will help fuel their personal growth as well.

¡Bienvenidos, chiquillos!

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contact@valposurfproject.org

232 Main Street

Thomaston, ME 04861

United States

Capitán Yavar 235

Playa Ancha

Valparaíso, Chile

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