Student interns to spend summer at the nation’s capital
By Jamila Nelson – Contributing Writer
Six UALR students have been selected to participate in internships June 2 – August 8 with The Washington Center, an independent nonprofit organization that provides internships to students around the world.
Abigail Marshall, Mackenzie Bolt, KenDrell Collins, Mehr Shah, Hayley Chronister, and Jeannie Kuang-Nguyen will be traveling to Washington D.C. to work and learn in a professional setting to gain real-world experience and also earn six hours of academic credit. Campus liaison and Psychology professor Dr. Elisabeth Sherwin has been working with the program for six years, and she describes the internship as a “life-changing experience.”
According to The Washington Center’s website, William M. Burke founded the institution in 1975. His goal was to mold students into strong leaders and make that opportunity available to young people everywhere. Since then, over 50,000 students have participated in the programs and it is the largest internship program in the world.
“I’m excited about actually seeing firsthand what it is that I will be doing for a good chunk of my life and if in fact I still want to do it by the end of the summer,” said Collins, a junior majoring in Economics. “I am most looking forward to meeting new people, friends, and likeminded people who are entering the field for the first time, too. On top of that, what better place to spend the summer than the nation’s capitol?”
The Washington Center offers internships in every career field from arts and humanities to health and science during the spring, summer, and fall semesters, which is also listed on the website. Dr. Sherwin explained that tuition includes the program fee and housing, which totals to about $10,200 for the summer program, but the state of Arkansas provides a $6,000 stipend for each student that the university endorses. The student then enrolls in the required number of hours to be a full time student, and UALR applies it to their remaining balance with the center—a move she describes as “unique to UALR.” “Other schools don’t—they’ll take their tuition for the school, and you’ll have to cover that balance,” she said.
Bolt found out about The Washington Center when Dr. Sherwin spoke to first-year Donaghey Scholars at UALR. Her acceptance letter was sent via email in late December. She said she was “super excited to see congratulations in the subject line.”
To be eligible for The Washington Center program, the web site states applicants must be at least 18 years old, maintain a 2.75 GPA, receive academic credit from their college or university for their participation and have approval from the campus liaison.
“Students have opportunities to experience things that they wouldn’t otherwise through this program,” said Dr. Sherwin. “Beyond the internship, where they are making connections and seeing how things work—it influences the way they think about their career or that area of study.”