Washington Community Scholars’ Center participants for summer 2018 include: (back row, from left) Austin Hart, Riley Wesp, Brianna Zook, Joshua Ehlers, Tariq Caldwell, Whitney Ricker and Stephen Sheppard, and (front row, from left) Rances Rodriguez (kneeling), Myneshia Walker, Jazmine Carter, Shanon Gallagher, Jack Leyda and Julian Bussells (kneeling).

Thirteen living and working in D.C. for WCSC summer term

A semester at the Washington Community Scholars’ Center (WCSC) in Washington D.C. brings students into the thriving life of the nation’s capital. Thirteen students with WCSC this summer recently took an excursion with Professor Ryan Good to explore housing and employment as part of their interdisciplinary seminar on urban studies. The group visited the Building Museum to learn from an exhibit on eviction and the National Portrait Gallery to take in “The Sweat of Their Faces,” an exhibit on American labor history (with a swing by the new portraits of Michelle and Barack Obama).

Capitals frenzy is on full display for Washington Community Scholars’ Center students out on an excursion. (Courtesy photo)

And on the way, they caught a bit of the excitement around the Stanley Cup playoffs and the hometown hopes for the Washington Capitals.

A semester in the capital, whether in summer, spring or fall, always offers “amazing opportunities,” says Professor Kimberly Schmidt, program director.“This program combines on-the-job experience in the field as well as a rich cultural and urban experience, and the fun of exploring the city on your own with friends.”

At the heart of the WCSC program are professional internships in a variety of settings where students make positive contributions to the community and gain vocational direction. But students also get to experience city life, explore Washington’s cultural and historic attractions, learn about urban issues such as gentrification, and manage a house budget and relationships in the communal living environment of the Nelson Good House.

Visiting Fort Bunker Hill with Professor Kimberly Schmidt (facing, in pink).

The program has been in Washington D.C. since 1976. Some internship sites have partnered with EMU since that time. Read more about WCSC history.

Many WCSC participants have been asked to return after their internships for part-time or full-time work. Here are a few examples:

WCSC draws students from Eastern Mennonite University and Bluffton University but has cooperative agreements with EMU’s Mennonite-affiliated “sister schools” and welcomes applications from Goshen, Bethel and Fresno-Pacific students.

The summer term ends Aug. 3.

Summer 2018 participants

Julian Bussells, a digital media major and journalism minor from Linden, Virginia, is at Washington Digital Media, which offers a range of video services for corporate and nonprofit clients.

Professor Ryan Good (second from right) with students at Judiciary Square.

Tariq Caldwell, a business administration major with a human resources management minor from Mechanicsville, Virginia, is interning with MANNA. He is working in construction project management for the nonprofit affordable housing developer.

Jazmine Carter, a business administration major with a human resources minor from Fairfax, Virginia, is interning as an assistant in the YMCA of Metropolitan Washington human resources headquarters, helping to prepare presentations and briefings.

Joshua Ehlers, an accounting and business administration major from Bluffton University and Defiance, Ohio, is working at Bread for the City, a nonprofit that provides financial literacy and education for low-income D.C. residents.

Shanon Gallagher, a psychology and sociology major from Bluffton University and Marengo, Ohio, is interning at Carroll Manor, which provides mental health support in a nursing and rehabilitation home for the elderly.

Austin Hart, a business administration major from Manheim, Pennsylvania, is working at Washington Area Community Investment Fund (WACIF), a community investment fund. With a specific interest in marketing, Austin is working with the communications and marketing director.  Read more about student experiences at WACIF.

Students take an urban studies seminar as part of their coursework.

Jack Leyda, a business administration and accounting major from Atlanta, Georgia, is assisting the CFO at Carlos Rosario International School, a public charter school for adults.

Whitney Ricker, a geographic science major from James Madison University, is participating in a program through the Center for Sustainable Climate Solutions, an EMU affiliate. She is interning at Mennonite Central Committee.

Rances Rodriguez, a digital media and photography major from Harrisonburg, Virginia, is with Sitar Arts Center, teaching digital media, design and photography to low-income students in a diverse neighborhood.

Stephen Sheppard, a digital media major and business administration minor from Sterling, Virginia, is at the Latin American Youth Center, creating and teaching design and photography projects in support of a youth summer arts and peacebuilding program.

Also at the YMCA  of Metropolitan Washington is Myneshia Walker, a sociology major and coaching minor from Freeman, Virginia. She is working in summer recreation programs with youth at various sites around the city.

Riley Wesp, a computer science major and business administration minor from Virginia Beach, Virginia, is interning at Tech Impact, which provides IT support for area nonprofit clients.

Brianna Zook, a major in kinesiology and exercise science with coaching and business administration majors, is interning at Pivot Physical Therapy. She is from Harrisonburg, Virginia.

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