Students at EMU's Washington Community Scholars' Center this semester include (from left) Grant Amoateng, Sam Krizek, Caitlin Campbell, Miguelina Montiel del la Cruz, Akiyaa Hagen-Depusoir, Sarah Balzer, WCSC Co-Director Professor Ryan Good, Tajah Miller, Clarkson Wolfe. Kneeling: Mia Swartley, Brenda Miramontes, Alyssa Gore and Bruce Cypress. (Photo by Jamie Reich)

WCSC students enter professional internships in Washington D.C.

Twelve students from Eastern Mennonite, Bethel College and Bluffton University are gaining professional, community and cultural experiences in EMU’s Washington Community Scholars’ Center (WCSC) this semester.

The program, in Washington D.C. since 1976, provides students with professional internships in fields from youth work to immigration services to health care. It is also a “community-building endeavor,” with students living together in the Nelson Good House in the Brookland neighborhood of Northeast Washington D.C. They explore Washington’s cultural and historic attractions, and learn about urban issues such as gentrification.

“WCSC has long-term connections and a history of successful placements with many area organizations,” said co-director Kimberly Schmidt. “We are one of the few liberal arts universities with dedicated buildings and a local staff, which shows a real commitment to offering this kind of resume-building and urban cultural experience to students in all academic programs.”

WCSC also has cooperative agreements with Mennonite-affiliated “sister schools” and welcomes applications from Goshen College and Fresno Pacific University students.

This semester, nine EMU, one Bluffton and two Bethel students are enrolled. They and their placements include:

Caitlin Campbell, an accounting major from Chester Gap, Virginia, is interning at the Latin American Youth Center, which provides an array of programming for low-income youth, supporting their transition to adulthood 

Brenda Miramontes, a social work major from Harrisonburg, Virginia, is interning at Ayuda, which offers legal, social and language services to immigrants in Washington D.C., Maryland and Virginia.

Alyssa Gore, a business administration and accounting major from Virginia Beach, Virginia, is interning with the finance department at the YMCA of Metropolitan Washington.

Mia Swartley, a social work major from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, is interning at Catholic Charities Immigration Legal Services, which focuses on the provision of direct legal immigration services to foreign-born individuals and their families.

Clarkson Wolfe, a liberal arts major and psychology minor from Staunton, Virginia, is interning at Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition International, which works to end torture around the world and empower survivors in the DC area. 

Sarah Balzer, a Bethel social work major from Inman, Kansas, is interning at Faith in Action’s Congregation Action Network, a network of congregations in the region that provide support and solidarity to neighbors, friends, and family who fear being detained, deported or profiled.

Akiyaa Hagen-Depusoir, a Bethel social work, history and political science major from McPherson, Kansas, is interning at Horton’s Kids, which provides a holistic, research-based continuum of academic, youth development, and basic needs supports designed to empower children

Tajah Miller, a social work major from Waynesboro, Virginia, is interning at Christ House, providingcomprehensive and compassionate health care to homeless men.

Grant Amoateng, a social work major from Bristow, Virginia, is interning at Little Friends for Peace, which offers peace education, group activities and a safe environment away from violent surroundings for children.

Bruce Cypress, an interdisciplinary music major from Harrisonburg, Virginia, is interning at Mosaic Theater, where he’ll work with theater sound technicians on Mosaic’s Main Stage shows.

Miguelina Montiel De La Cruz, a nursing major from Charlottesville, Virginia, is interning at La Clínica del Pueblo,  which provides health and mental health services to low-income Latinx and Spanish-speaking immigrants

Sam Krizek, a Bluffton writing major from Columbia Station, Ohio, is interning at Street Sense Media, which creates content in print, film, theater, photography, audio, illustration and more, all for the purpose of providing economic opportunity for and elevating the voices of people experiencing homelessness.