College of Behavioral Science (SBS) students and alumni gathered together in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, Aug. 1 to celebrate the close of the second annual SBS in DC internship program. The event was an opportunity for program participants to share their experiences in Washington and to meet with alumni and donors who helped make those experiences possible.
John A. Hird, SBS dean, expressed his gratitude for the alumni and donors who made the program accessible to students with gifts, while students, in turn, described the impact the internship had on their lives and professional aspirations.
Interns were placed in positions in and around Capitol Hill; some in the federal government, some in non-profits andsome in advocacy organizations. Over 10 weeks, they took an online class while also networking, working alongside alumni and taking guidance from mentors.
“Getting outside my comfort zone was something unique to me,” said Denim Diaz, finance intern for the Center for Advanced Defense Studies. “Being at a non-profit that specializes in international relations, which is something I don’t take classes on, was also awesome because I was able to see the finance side and also something that’s within my academic interest but not something I’ve studied."
Some interns even had the opportunity to work with members of the Massachusetts congressional delegation such as Reps. Jim McGovern, Katherine Clark and Joe Kennedy III, and democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
“Just meeting my member of congress -- I’m interning for my own member -- and that’s really cool because now he knows who I am, I know who he is”, said Krystal Yee, an intern for Congressman Kennedy. “Being able to help a person who represents my family, my friends, my teachers, my dance teammates, it means a lot to me.”
The experiences of the inaugural group of interns helped inform this year’s program, establish networks in DC, and instill in students a sense of community away from UMass. Since the establishment of the SBS in DC program one year ago, the internship cohort has doubled in size.
“It’s a very competitive program, so we probably have four or five applicants at least for each of the positions we have available,” said Hird. “There’s building momentum building and it’s really exciting to see.”