From conducting economic policy research in the DC area to assisting with costume design at an award-winning theater, 14 students are gaining professional experience this summer at the Washington Community Scholars’ Center (WCSC). The center, located in the nation’s capital since 1976, is a program of Eastern Mennonite University.
These 14 students, including two from Goshen College, are living and working in Washington DC in a range of professional internships in fields from youth work to invasive species removal.
This summer Ann Butwell, associate director of student life and administration for WCSC, is debuting the course Creativity, Culture and Change: Latinidad in the Capital Region. From meeting in city hall with the first Latina mayor of Mt. Rainier to studying immigration patterns and conducting their own research, WCSC students are gaining a greater understanding of the local community and contributions of immigrants.
The semester-long experience is also a community-building endeavor, with students living together in the Nelson Good House in the Brookland neighborhood of Northeast Washington, DC. This semester’s placements include several organizations that are long-time hosts of EMU students, highlighting WCSC’s deep ties within the region. Many alumni can trace their careers back to a pivotal experience at WCSC.
Read more about WCSC success! Grads Tessa Waidelich and Terry Jones find full-time work after their internships.
Read on to learn more about the students, their placements and the organizations they are involved with.
Andrew Bennett, a biology major from Doylestown, Pa., works alongside therapists and patients at Pivot Physical Therapy.
Jessica Buckwalter, a psychology major from Yona, Guam, is with Little Friends for Peace. She works with children, young adults, and halfway house personnel to provide nonviolent ways to work through emotions and trauma.
“My most significant learning experience will likely come from working with such a diverse group of people, and all that those groups bring to our discussion,” she said.
Jessica Chisolm, a peacebuilding and development and writing studies double major from Collinsville, Miss., is working with Mennonite Central Committee’s National Justice and Peace Ministries office. Alongside the communications coordinator and peace education coordinator, she will write an article and work on anti-militarism curriculum resources.
Skylar Coffey, a psychology major from Elkton, Va., is with Samaritan Inns, working at Clark’s Inn, a rehabilitation house for mothers that suffer from substance abuse. Skylar observes rehabilitation group sessions and individual sessions, learning to take clinical notes and conduct supervised research on building a rehabilitation program.
Ashlyn Eby, a nursing major from Annandale, Va., is with Community of Hope, a community health clinic that provides quality healthcare and housing to families. She is on two interdisciplinary teams with goals of reducing uncontrolled diabetes and hypertension in the population they serve.
Amanda Gilbert, a psychology major from Lanham, Md., is with Covenant House, an organization that provides educational programs, job training and placement, medical services, mental health and substance use counseling, legal aid and beyond to homeless youth.
Josh Holloway, a liberal arts major from Broadway, Va., is with St. Anthony Catholic School, gaining experience working with children and observing different teaching styles.
Alijah Johnson, a digital media and communication major from Upper Marlboro, Md., is interning with Washington Digital Media, making business cards and several other templates.
Aaliyah Lawhorne, a biology major from Waynesville, N.C., is interning with Bread for the City. She works at a primary care clinic where she conducts patient satisfaction surveys to English and Spanish-speaking clients. She is also shadowing and assisting the nurses and other health care professionals.
“I think the most significant learning experience I have had is learning how to provide holistic care to communities that are underserved,” she said.
Rachel Mast, a sustainability studies major at Goshen College from Lancaster, Pa., is assisting the Anacostia Watershed Society with their adult education classes, tree surveying, invasive species removal, wetland planting, and boat tours on the Anacostia River.
Alex Miller, a theater and environmental science double major at Goshen College from Middlebury, In., is working at the Keegan Theater as a costume design intern for three productions during the summer.
“I am excited to help with costume design in a professional setting and look forward to working with several costume designers over the course of the summer. I hope to add their advice, techniques, and knowledge to my professional toolkit,” they said.
Kendra Oguamena, a psychology major from Alexandria, Va., is helping Girls on the Run DC with program outreach, coach recruitment processing, and communications. She has found it meaningful to see and hear about the coaching experiences from past and current volunteer coaches. Girls on the Run provides an “inclusive place of belonging, where girls feel supported and inspired to explore their emotions, cultivate empathy and strengthen their physical and emotional health.”
Katelyn Sellars, a nursing major from Telford, Pa., works with Mary’s Center’s Centering Pregnancy program, designed to improve equity and health among expecting parents. She also works with the patient education team, developing skills in patient education. Mary’s Center provides primary health care and other wrap-around services to any individual that enters their doors regardless of their ability to pay.
Josh White, a business administration major from Chesapeake, Va., is with the Coalition for Nonprofit Housing and Economic Development, which fosters just and equitable community development solutions that address the needs and aspirations of low- and moderate-income district residents by convening, advocating, and educating diverse stakeholders. Josh is conducting research, collecting citations and taking inventory of a variety of housing and loan documents for historical outcomes of DC tenant policies.