Centre students and summer internships, Part 5: "Inspired in D.C."
Written by Elizabeth Trollinger '11
Through Career Services, Centre Internship Plus allows students to apply for high-quality internship experiences—some of which are for academic credit—with extra financial support. Students whose internships are approved receive up to $1,500 to help with expenses.
Sarah Hargis '10 never thought she'd find herself at the middle of a major movement in Washington, D.C.—until her Centre Internship Plus this summer with Girls Inc.
"I've never been so aware of the women's movement that's still going on until I got here," she says. "It's very much a thriving movement with incredible women working for its advancement on all ends of the spectrum."
Being an intern with Girls Inc. this summer has given Hargis some incredible opportunities – including meeting two presidents of the United States. “I was invited to the Campus Progress National Conference, where former president Bill Clinton was the keynote speaker. Because I was in the front row, I got to shake his hand!” Hargis says.
“More recently, Girls Inc. was invited to attend the WNBA Champion's Honors Ceremony at the White House,” she continues. “Barack Obama delivered a speech, and when he came into the audience to shake hands, I squeezed my way through and got him to shake mine. It was definitely the best Monday morning of my life. Thank you Centre!”
A double major in sociology and Spanish, Hargis has "always had a passion for non-profit work and an interest in government," which led her to Girls Inc.
"I worked for a Girls Inc. program in Owensboro, Ky., two summers ago as part of my Bonner Program Summer of Service requirement. I fell in love with the program," Hargis says. "The Girls Inc. public policy intern position was perfect for me. I [already] loved the organization and was excited at the possibility of working in D.C. on the issues that affect girls and young women most.
Working at Girls Inc. has helped Hargis realize that having a sociology major doesn't limit her job prospects.
"I've been able to attend several women's interest groups, luncheons and events while I've been here. I've met so many non-profit public policy directors here in D.C. who also majored in sociology," she says. "It's opened my eyes to the fact that a lot of sociologists go into public policy and advocacy, not just social work. I'm now planning to bring a women's rights advocacy group to Centre in the fall.
"I'm so thankful for the committed support I had through the whole application process," she continues. "I received persistent and dedicated help from my Career Services counselor, Natesha Smith. She reviewed my resume and cover letter to help me put my best self forward. She was an incredible asset in helping me present myself to this organization."
Hargis also credits the Centre Internship Plus program with helping her secure a summer job.
"Girls Inc. is a non-profit program and could not afford to pay me or provide housing, which was a serious concern of mine," she explains. "When I found out about Centre Internship Plus I applied right away. I truly wouldn't have been able to have this experience if it weren't for the funding that Centre awarded me. I'm incredibly thankful to them."
Being a public policy intern with Girls Inc. has opened doors for Hargis—and helped her realize her goals.
"Working here has stirred my interest in maybe being an executive director for a Girls Inc.," she says. "Another big part of the movement is getting more women to run for public office. Because of my internship position with Girls Inc., I've been inspired to run for office one day. Because of this internship I've found a new passion for women's rights."
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Founded in 1819, Centre College is ranked among the U.S. News top 50 national liberal arts colleges. Consumers Digest ranks Centre No. 1 in educational value among all U.S. liberal arts colleges. Centre alumni, known for their nation-leading loyalty in annual financial support, include two U.S. vice presidents and two Supreme Court justices. For more, visit http://www.centre.edu/web/elevatorspeech/
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