KU Students Experience Life-Changing Internships at The Washington Center
KUTZTOWN, Pa. – This past summer, three Kutztown University students had the life-changing opportunity to participate in The Washington Center’s Academic Internship Program; the summer 2019 program featured the most KU students in one session to date. Psychology major Tracy Alcee of Philadelphia, Pa., environmental science major Laura Miller of Milford, Pa., and political science major Sheba Ali of Reading, Pa., were all able to live in Washington D.C. and intern at various organizations, gaining valuable knowledge and experience that they will be able to use in any field.
Founded in 1975 by William M. Burke and his wife, Sheila McRevey Burke, The Washington Center provides immersive internships and academic seminars to students and young professionals from hundreds of colleges and universities across the U.S. and in more than 25 countries. Their mission is to help students who otherwise may not have the opportunity to pursue their interests experience what a successful career looks like, as well as establish a path toward their future. The Washington Center aims to inspire students to become well-informed, public-spirited and more socially engaged in their communities.
The Academic Internship Program requirements include being at least 18 years of age, enrollment as an undergraduate student at an accredited university, having sophomore or higher-level college status while participating in the program and having completed at least two semesters on campus before the program starts. Students must also maintain a GPA of at least 2.75 on a 4.0 scale, receive academic credit from their university for participation in the program, and have approval from their campus liaison or a faculty sponsor.
In addition to the Academic Internship Program, The Washington Center offers 16 other programs that vary in length, location, school level, major requirement and GPA. Some programs are even offered to graduate and post-doctoral students. Upon completion of any of The Washington Center’s program, students be equipped with the skills and confidence necessary to thrive in a competitive global marketplace.
Former intern Alcee agrees with The Washington Center’s ability to prepare its students for the future.
“If I had the opportunity to do another internship at The Washington Center, I would definitely take it,” Alcee said. “I was able to learn so much, like the do’s and don’ts in a professional setting, and was able to grow socially. When you’re in a business environment, you’re constantly networking and developing relationships, so I was able to get out of my comfort zone and explore not only my surroundings, but also myself and what I can do. At first, I was afraid of communicating with people, but my internship helped me discover that communication is actually my strong suit.”
Alcee served as the communication and marketing intern at a non-profit organization called Beacon House. While there, she managed the organization’s social media platforms, communicated with donors and created fundraising initiatives. She credits her time spent at KU to her success, as it helped her get used to a large workload and learn how to balance time. If she hadn’t had that experience before her internship, she acknowledges that it would’ve been much harder for her to adapt to online courses, her internship responsibilities and attending leadership programming required by The Washington Center. Alcee also recommended having a strong support system before beginning her internship, as she was able to rely on her professors, faculty members and family to help her navigate her hectic schedule.
When asked what advice she would give to other students looking to do an internship, Alcee spoke nothing but words of encouragement.
“Whenever you’re doing something new that may seem scary, just do it; you really don’t have anything to lose, but you have so much to gain. Go with an open mind, go with an open heart, and stay focused,” Alcee said.
Currently, German studies major Nathan Hayduk is interning in The Washington Center’s Academic Internship program at AMIDEAST in their education abroad department. The department is responsible for the study abroad programs that send students to Jordan, Morocco and Egypt.
“It is a great opportunity to get hands-on experience with international relations and see the inner-workings of a well-respected NGO that works in the Middle East and North Africa,” Hayduk said.
Hayduk also spoke very highly of Washington D.C. in general, as he has had several opportunities outside of his internship to explore both himself and his future career options. Through different networking and diplomatic events, The Washington Center’s programming and the plethora of free cultural events that occur all over the city every single day, Hayduk has been able to take a tour of the White House, meet Cal Ripken Jr. at the State Department and have conversations with several government officials. “I am truly looking forward to utilizing my new connections in the future and cannot wait to see what else the city has to offer,” Hayduk said.