New Centre-in-Washington internship program opens doors in D.C.
March 21, 2013 By Leigh Cocanougher
Evancho, and Chelsea Barger (from left) visited the Iwo Jima
memorial in Arlington.
Barger at the Natural History Museum, where she discovered that
she's as tall as an elephant's leg bone.
Ginn, who will begin working full time in DC after graduating in
May, captured this shot during the recent inauration.
When Alex Ginn ’13 decided to spend his final college semester off campus in Washington D.C., he had no idea how that decision would shape his future. Now, only halfway through the term, he has already landed a job, and his future is looking brighter than ever.
Upon the completion of his internship and graduation in May, Ginn will begin working full time as a senior program associate for Development & Training Services (dTS), Inc., the company with whom he is currently interning.
At dTS, an “international development consulting firm that leads initiatives in social and economic development with a view to promoting equality and accountability,” Ginn is an intern in the “Gender Practice” sector, which strives “to promote gender equality and social inclusion to achieve effective and sustainable development outcomes that take into account socio-economic inequities in culturally sensitive ways.”
Ginn was inspired to participate in the Centre-in-Washington program “to put the culmination of my education to practical use,” he says. “So much of the time, students—including me—seem to be solely focused on how the facts or theories or formulas they learn in the classroom will directly apply to their careers after college. I wanted to challenge myself and not only apply those facts, theories and formulas in my international development internship, but also apply the intangible skills I've learned through my liberal arts education at Centre: things like critical and analytical thinking skills and interpersonal skills.”
To help him in this pursuit, the College’s Centre-in-Washington liaison Ivo Spalatin “internalized what I wanted out of my internship, both academically and professionally, and placed me in an amazing company where all of those aforementioned skills are not only acknowledged, but expected, challenged and cultivated in daily work,” Ginn says. “It’s been an amazing internship thus far in all regards.”
Ginn is one of six Centre students who will have spent a semester in the nation's capital during the first year of Centre’s DC internship program. This past fall, students completed internships at dTS, the Office of the Attorney General of DC, Representative Ben Chandler's office, and So Others Might Eat. This spring, Ginn is joined by Rachel Evancho ’14, an intern at the Office of the Attorney General of D.C., and Chelsea Barger ’14, who is interning at Shared Hope International.
Like Ginn, Barger chose to participate in the D.C. program to put her classroom experiences to the test. “I wanted, and still want, to use my time at Centre to the maximum degree,” she says. “I could’ve spent four years sitting in classrooms, soaking up countless pages of knowledge, but being out in the field and actually experiencing the closest thing to ‘real life’ is important to me—and this program has enabled me to do just that.”
For her internship, Barger is doing “media monitoring” for Shared Hope International, an anti-sex trafficking organization.
“We deal mostly in the area of domestic minor sex trafficking, but we’re also interested in eradicating sex-trafficking globally,” Barger says. “We’re a non-profit that works to facilitate better legislation on the state and federal levels in order to provide protective provisions for victims and criminal provisions for perpetrators.”
In her current role, Barger “delves into the far reaches on the Internet and media to find both success stories and tragic stories about sex trafficking.”
During their time in D.C., the Centre students not only serve as interns but also take two courses, Art and Architecture of the District and U.S. Foreign Policy and International Affairs.
“The classes have been unlike any other class I’ve taken at Centre,” Ginn says. “Almost all of our art classes have been in the art galleries of D.C.—at no charge to us—so we can be in the physical presence of the original artwork itself while studying it and its creator.”
For the politics course, the students have also taken field trips and visited key contacts at the Department of State and the Saudi and Russian embassies.
“International politics is really interesting because Ivo is a former staffer and has held many positions in the political realm,” Barger says. “He has ‘been there and done that,’ so his stories are really interesting, as is his insightful perspective on all things D.C.”
With D.C. itself as their classroom, the students agree that the program has already been more rewarding than they had hoped.
“To live in a city of such international presence and culture while at the same time being at the heartbeat of American politics and history is truly one of the most amazing things about this program,” Ginn says.
Barger adds that “the experience of being in the city sheds a whole new light on a college education. Learning off-campus is extremely beneficial to a well-rounded education. Campus is great, but students should remember to get off of it and utilize Centre’s amazing opportunities to their fullest.”