Two Bluffton University students are accumulating a precious resource in Washington D.C. this semester: social capital. Sophomore Jason Summers is an operations assistant intern at Wacif (Washington Area Community Investment Fund). Sophomore Daniel Gregg is working in human resources with a non-profit called Horton’s Kids.
The two students joined 12 others at Washington Community Scholars Center this semester, a program of Eastern Mennonite University in which students spend a semester learning, living, and working in their prospective fields in the nation’s capital.
“I’ve learned that having strong relationships with other businesses and individuals greatly increases the impact you can have,” says Summers, a double-major in business administration and accounting. “When we are out in the city, it never fails that I will find a business or organization that we have had a part in helping succeed, whether through the lending of capital or giving them technical assistance.”
Gregg interns at Horton’s Kids, which hosts a community center in Anacostia that helps to provide residents with clothes, food and other community needs in addition to tutoring and mentoring of children. He works with employee files, grants and organizational contacts which has shown him the importance of being “able to adapt and be creative” in the business world.
His office is located across from Dirksen Senate Office Building, where he commonly eats lunch.
“I see senators and representatives every day … not that big of a deal, but I feel kind of important when I see Bernie Sanders grabbing a bagel,” Gregg jokes.
Both students have found encouragement this semester – that working in business administration does not have to be a heartless, cubicle-bound affair.
“I am very excited about operations management,” says Gregg, who is also taking an American Sign Language class at Gallaudet University. “I’ve been handed a lot of random projects from cleaning up a worksheet with passwords, contacting local businesses and universities, creating a map and redoing the employee handbook. The assignments have shown me I will need to be able to adapt and be creative in whatever position I work.”
Summers says the internship experience has laid important groundwork; he has recently been conditionally accepted to internships this summer at Owens-Illinois, a Fortune 500 company specializing in container glass products, and in the fall with Marathon Petroleum Company.
Summers hopes his career leads to a position “where I can have a positive impact on the company as well as the community,” he says. “I have always had a desire to start my own business, and working here at Wacif has reminded me of that desire. The team at Wacif has been nothing but helpful and excellent teachers.”