Those at the Washington Community Scholars’ Center (WCSC) this summer are, back row left to right: Jalen Jones, Joseph Mounsithiraj, Ally Welty Peachey, Leah Frankenfield. Bottom row: Jason Dwyer, Emarie Jacobson, Jose Verde, AJ Bagby, Isaac North-Sandel, Ann Butwell (WCSC's associate director of student life and program administration), and Madison Stockner.

WCSC hosts 10 for summer 2024 DC internships

Seven Eastern Mennonite University students, two Viterbo University students and one Goshen College student 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.

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, D.C. This semester’s placements include several organizations that are longtime 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 on to learn more about the students, their placements and the organizations they are involved with. 

AJ Bagby, from Urbanna, Virginia, is an intern with Humane Rescue Alliance‘s medical, animal care and behavioral department. He works in the vet wing learning about vaccinations, medication, sicknesses and anatomy.

“I think the vet part so far [has been my most significant learning experience],” Bagby said.

Jason Dwyer, from Fairfax, Virginia, is interning on Capitol Hill. He is working in U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton’s office and fulfilling tasks and assignments, including answering constituents’ phone calls.

“I think the most significant learning experience is the opportunity to work in an office setting and interact and build connections with those in and around the fields I am interested in,” Dwyer said.

Leah Frankenfield, from Moraga, California, is a marketing intern with YMCA of Metropolitan Washington. She has been developing videos for social media content, scheduling and developing social media posts for holidays and events, and organizing blog posts.

“Being a part of of how the organization develops its media content and schedule will be crucial toward my learning,” Frankenfield said. “I will also develop familiarity with tools such as Airtable and Teams that can translate to future jobs.”

Emarie Jacobson, a Viterbo student from Peterson, Minnesota, is a policy intern with Creation Justice Ministries. She conducts research and advocacy for the Farm Bill, other climate policy concerns and, possibly, nutrition and food insecurity research.

Jacobson said her most significant learning experience will be “learning how to do advocacy work, as well as networking with coworkers and others.”

Jalen Jones, from Chesterfield, Virginia, is interning in the nursing assistance department at Christ House. He conducts routine checks, takes vitals, administers wound care and some physical therapy.

“Getting a little demo of the medical world and getting to learn about this career path and what they do on a daily basis [has been my most significant learning experience]” Jones said.

Joseph Mounsithiraj, a Goshen student from Goshen, Indiana, is interning as a set build and production electrician with The Keegan Theatre, where he helps with set construction and with lighting.

“The biggest learning experience is simply practice in the world of professional theatre,” Mounsithiraj said.

Isaac North-Sandel, from Harrisonburg, Virginia, is interning with the Capitol Area Food Bank. He works on accounts payable management, vendor review and acceptance, and AI accounting integration.

“Figuring out what it means to work an actual job in accounting and gain experience working with nonprofits [is a significant learning experience for me],” North-Sandel said.

Madison Stockner, from Fancy Gap, Virginia, is with Interfaith Power and Light. She gathers contact information and basic background info on board members from partner organizations, and attends events and Zoom calls with those organizations.

“Learning more about different religions will be eye-opening and meaningful, personally,” Stockner said. “I think, for my career and major, learning more about climate change and climate issues will be significant.”

Jose Verde, a Viterbo student from Arcadia, Wisconsin, is with CASA, where he helps lobby for bills and research the community impacted by environmental racism.

“Seeing behind the scenes of how organizations work to get a bill passed through advocacy” has been a significant learning experience, Verde said.

Ally Welty Peachey, from Champaign, Illinois, is a climate advocacy intern through Anabaptist Climate Collaborative with Mennonite Central Committee. She assists in climate policy monitoring and analysis, creates resources for lobbying policymakers and educating constituents, attends local events about climate change, and writes articles and briefs about federal government policies related to climate change.

“I am excited to gain a deeper understanding of how climate advocacy works,” Welty Peachey said.

Dima Kassem, WCSC’s associate director of communications & recruitment, collaborated on this article.

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