When Terry Jones arrived at the Washington Community Scholars’ Center during the summer of 2021, he wasn’t sure of his next steps. A senior at Eastern Mennonite University majoring in computer science, Jones would spend the next several weeks as an intern with the Smithsonian Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO).
Jones calls the emotions that swept over him “a monumental feeling … of so much joy.”
His internship experience as a systems administrator included troubleshooting tech problems and working with different software, tasks that helped him realize the work was his real calling. That joy he felt was relief but also confirmation that he had started on the first steps of his new career as an IT professional.
Jones is now an IT analyst for Kapstone Technology Inc., a Reston, Virginia-based company that contracts for the Smithsonian OCIO. He helps users solve technical issues.
Jones’s story is not unique: many WCSC participants say their experience working in D.C. helped to jumpstart their career. Some program alumni go on to host and supervise WCSC interns themselves, at the very companies where they interned. Others still work and live in Washington D.C., having moved on from first jobs they secured after WCSC internships.
Read related EMU News coverage and see below for other examples of successful grads at work.
Jones credits his WCSC experience as key to his successful job search and application process. He received job coaching through his internship and OCIO colleagues, which helped him both gain confidence in his skills and interactions in the workplace but also “an understanding of what it takes to get the job you’re searching for.”
From setting up a LinkedIn account to helping him prepare his resume and talking him through the job search process, WCSC staff were there to support him.
Jones was intent on using his internship to prove himself as a top candidate for the job, said Good. “Terry came in with the attitude and motivation to use all of the resources here at WCSC to take this critical next step in his career. We talked a lot about how he could leverage this opportunity into a job he wanted.. And Terry worked extremely hard to prove himself at the Smithsonian OCIO.”
The result: An offer one week after he finished his internship.
“All of this couldn’t have happened without the help and encouragement of the WCSC program,” Jones said.
Read more on WCSC intern-to-job success
Jamie Reich, WCSC associate director of communications and recruitment, contributed to this article.