Brother-Sister team complete Washington Center internships

A brother and sister team at UALR recently returned from summer internships completed through The Washington Center, based in Washington, D.C.

Juniors John and Sarah House — both biology majors interested in attending medical school upon graduation — chose internships in the healthcare field.

John and Sarah HouseFollowing a jam-packed summer working for two separate nonprofits, the siblings were among 450 students who participated in commencement exercises celebrating the completion of their internships with the center on Aug. 9.

Before the celebration was over, Sarah was singled out for the Washington Center’s Leadership Pillar Award.

She spent 10 weeks at the humanitarian agency SeraphimGLOBAL, where she took the lead organizing a fundraiser for a group affiliated with her agency that provides new shoes to abused children.

“We were able to buy about 25 pairs of shoes with the money we raised, thanks to the generosity of the students at The Washington Center,” she said. “It doesn’t sound like much, but to those children, a new pair of shoes means everything.”

Meanwhile, her brother, John House, worked at the International Pan American Health Organization researching health-related literature in Latin America, which will be published soon as part of a larger study on health issues in Latin American countries.

“It was brutal–I probably reviewed over 3,000 pieces of literature using an online public health database,” he said. “I conducted a systematic review and ended up with about 1,400 articles with quantifiable data and organized it according to trends.”

The literature pointed to disparities among most Latin American countries, which lag behind other countries in addressing a broad range of health-related issues, from infectious diseases to infant mortality.

“Their infant mortality is probably seven times higher than the U.S.,” he said. “They are playing catch up; it’s a big problem … I learned a lot. It really opened my eyes and showed me what we have in the U.S.”

Both brother and sister earned six hours of academic credit during their summer internships which ended Aug. 8. They and several others from UALR received financial support to help defray the cost of living in Washington during the internships.

Founded in 1975, more than 50,000 students have been selected for The Washington Center, the largest internship program in the world. Internships in every career field, from arts and humanities to health and science, are offered during the spring, summer, and fall semesters each year.

UALR students who are interested in a Washington Center experience are encouraged to visit, says Dr. Elisabeth Sherwin, campus liaison for the program.

“All students must be approved to attend, there are internal selection criteria, and the process is competitive,” said Sherwin.

After reviewing the website, Sherwin advises students to contact her at for more information.

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