BENTON TOWNSHIP — When Navya Radhakrishnan agreed to an internship at Whirlpool Corp., she never imagined using a hammer and nails.

However, the 28-year-old who spent her summer in the appliance maker’s finance leadership program did just that on a Friday afternoon, where she helped build a wall for a Harbor Habitat for Humanity house in Benton Township.

“This was a new experience for me, but I’m glad I did it,” she said. “I always look out for chances to volunteer and do something for people who are less privileged.”

Laura Goos, senior manager for global talent acquisition at Whirlpool, said about 60 interns have been involved with Habitat builds this summer. The dozen on hand Friday would mark the last group for the summer.

When it’s come to the newer generations of interns, Goos said their dedication for community service has increased in the time that she’s been at Whirlpool.

“The fact that we’ve had this longstanding relationship with Habitat, actually makes us attractive as an employer,” Goos said. “We started offering Habitat builds every summer and it’s become popular among interns and employees.”

Jessica-Rae McFall, family services manager at Harbor Habitat for Humanity, said they intend to build six houses at the Sand Creek Development in Benton Township.

There will be two four-bedroom and four three-bedrooms in the soon-to-be Habitat community. There are two families chosen so far, but McFall said they are still looking for more to fill Sand Creek.

Volunteers and homeowners began working on site at Sand Creek back in May. With more than 700 volunteers helping throughout the summer, McFall said Habitat for Humanity is still looking for more “helping hands.”

“We feel so blessed to have them come out,” McFall said of the dozens of Whirlpool interns who have taken part in builds this summer. “We’re very grateful for the time, effort and energy they put in to build these homes.”

While Whirlpool interns have been through different sites, the group that met Friday at Sand Creek was the last one for the summer.

The end of this week also marked the end for many interns’ time at Whirlpool.

Among those with time left in August included 21-year-old Alana Byington.

With three weeks left at her internship, Byington said this was a great way to get out of the normal office setting.

The build wasn’t new to her, however, as she was a part of a Habitat Volunteering Day event with the previous company she worked for.

“I think it means a lot to help the community and to impact the lives of people who actually live in Benton Harbor,” Byington said.

Contact:, 932-0358, Twitter: @TonyWittkowski