This summer, students are shooting films, nursing human and wildlife patients back to health, and providing Spanish language translation throughout the city of Washington DC. These internships and more are all a part of the Washington Community Scholars’ Center (WCSC). The center, located in D.C. since 1976, is a program of Eastern Mennonite University (EMU) and open to students from Bethel College in Kansas, Bluffton University in Ohio, and Goshen College in Indiana.
UPDATE: Read more about WCSC success! Grads Tessa Waidelich and Terry Jones find full-time work after their internships.
The following 14 students, all from EMU, are living together this summer in the Nelson Good House in the Brookland neighborhood. From there, they’ll learn how their academic fields can be applied to the workforce, and explore some of Washington’s cultural and historic attractions.
Lene Andrawas, of Harrisonburg, Va., is a peacebuilding and development major with minors in Spanish and Bible and Religion. This summer, Andrawas is interning at Little Friends for Peace, which runs “Peace Camps” as well as after-school, in-school, and adult programs that impart skills for preventing, resolving, and transforming conflict.
Lexi Beard, a biology major from Arlington, Va., is an intern with City Wildlife, an organization that rescues and rehabilitates wild animals such as songbirds, possums, squirrels, and ducks. Beard’s responsibilities range from preparing meals for the animal patients, tracking their weights, and cleaning their habitats.
Myles Crawley, of Dumfries, Va., is a business administration major with a minor in computer science. He’s interning at the Coalition for Nonprofit Housing and Economic Development, where he’s updating their website with new information on organizations listed in their directory of resources.
“I like it because it’s geared toward management and I hope to be a leader in some capacity one day,” Crawley said.
Lesly Garcia, a psychology and writing studies major from Richmond, Va., is an intern with the Latin American Youth Center’s Promotor Pathway. The program is a long-term client management intervention model to help disconnected and disengaged youth achieve educational, employment, and healthy living goals.
Garcia is currently working with high school students, as well as shadowing promotores who do house visitations and organize activities “that benefit the Latinx community and those in need.”
Jaden Jones, of Lancaster, Pa., is an environmental sustainability, political science, and pre-law major. Jones is an intern at Mennonite Central Committee, focusing on the connection between climate change and federal policy.
“I spend most of my time speaking with senators, climate working groups, and representatives in different MCC communities around the globe,” Jones said. “I also will be participating in the filming of a documentary with CNBC about climate migration. My internship will culminate in a policy recommendation memo which will be distributed to MCC’s constituents.”
Terry Jones, a computer science major from Palmyra, Va., is an intern at the Smithsonian Institution’s Office of the Chief Information Officer, where he’s charged with system administration tasks.
“The bulk of my work is troubleshooting, along with being able to talk to the user and walk them step-by-step during that process,” Jones said. “This has helped develop my skills greatly.”
Philip Krabill of Elkhart, Ind., is a double major in peacebuilding and development and Bible, religion and theology with a minor in honors. Krabill is an intern with Faith in Action’s Congregation Action Network, a coalition that supports those who “fear being detained, deported, or profiled,” according to their website. Krabill has been preparing meals for and otherwise supporting people who are fasting to lobby Congress to create an easier path to citizenship.
“Getting to participate in staff meetings with experienced community organizers will help me learn about and develop skills I need for my future,” Krabill said.
Sara Beth Mumbauer, an elementary education major from Staunton, Va., is an intern at CASA, which organizes, advocates for, and expands opportunities for Latino and immigrant people. Mumbauer’s internship centers around policy issues, and she spends her days writing memos on reports and legal cases that are related to CASA’s work.
“I think my most significant learning experience will be getting to have discussions with people that are directly affected by the policies of different states and the federal government,” Mumbauer said.
Ignacio Ocaranza, of Highland Springs, Va., is a digital media and communications and photography major. Ocaranza is an intern with Washington Digital Media, a video production company that offers a variety of creative services. Ocaranza recently finished his first assignment: a short film documenting a day in the life of the company.
“Getting more hands-on experience with camera work and working in a professional environment will be a great learning experience,” Ocaranza said.
Billy Quinn, of Ashburn, Va., is a marketing major with a minor in business. His internship is at the YMCA of Metropolitan Washington, where he’s putting together their annual report and assisting with a documentary that will tell the history of the YMCA.
Kayley Scottlind, of Salem, Ore., is majoring in biology and Spanish language and Hispanic studies. Her internship is at Bread for the City, which provides food, clothing, medical care, and legal and social services to low-income residents. Scottlind is conducting patient experience surveys in English and Spanish, assisting with referrals and registration for services, and occasionally interpreting for Spanish-speaking patients.
Chris Simmons, a business administration major from Culpeper, Va., is interning at the city’s Department of Small and Local Business Development, which “supports the development, economic growth, and retention of District-based businesses, and promotes economic development throughout the District’s commercial corridors,” according to their website.
Matthew Troyer, a biochemistry major from Holmes County, Ohio, is an intern at Christ House, a residential medical facility that provides comprehensive healthcare for sick homeless persons in the city. Troyer’s responsibilities are to provide companionship for patients, escort them to and from appointments, raise funds, and communicate with donors.
“I anticipate that understanding the health implications of homelessness and better understanding some of the social determinants of health will be my most significant learning experience,” he said.
Tessa Waidelich, a computer science major from Pettisville, Ohio, is an intern at Community IT Innovators, which provides technological support for nonprofit organizations. There, she’s doing computer system maintenance and “playing with firewalls.”
“It sounds like I’ll be getting a little bit of everything,” Waidelich said. Soon, “I will be working directly with one of Community IT’s clients on site! It is a public charter school, and I will be setting up new computers for the upcoming school year.”