Five Lubbock Christian University students and one recent alum are spending their summer pursing academic internships in Washington, D.C., with the LCU in Washington program.
Though these students are sacrificing traditional summer activities and relaxation, they are optimistic on what they have to gain. Getting to explore a city filled with history and having a controlled environment to express their independence are only the surface benefits the students say they are looking forward to.
Abby Johnson first heard of the LCU in Washington program when she was a junior in high school and has wanted to apply for such an opportunity since. Now, as a junior communications design major at LCU, Johnson is headed to D.C. to intern with the Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE) for the summer. As an ACTE intern, Johnson will research and schedule locations, times, and speakers for regional conferences.
“I most look forward to the way this experience will shape the direction I want to take my career,” says Johnson. “Whether or not this internship will be something I see myself doing as a career or not, it will help me decide what goals I want to reach as I start my profession. It’s an amazing opportunity and I’m proud to be representing a great university like LCU while in D.C.”
Kendra Lyon, a senior sports management major, chose to spend her summer in D.C. because she believes it is a great opportunity to advance her career. As an independent spirit, Lyon has been anxious to enter the professional world. Her internship with Mid Atlantic Sports Consultants this summer will give her the professional experience she is looking for prior to graduation.
“With this internship I can merge into the business world at a younger age, before I actually have a career of my own,” explains Lyon. “That experience can’t compare with any degree or class you can take. Anyone who has the chance to work in the nation’s capital should seize the opportunity.”
Since arriving at LCU as a freshman, James Wheeler knew the opportunity to study in D.C. was one he couldn’t pass. Wheeler is now a senior digital media arts major and is spending this summer interning with Science Technologies Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Connector in D.C. Wheeler hopes this internship will provide him with further connections.
“I consider myself very blessed to have this opportunity, and I see it as a chance to prove my abilities to myself, my professors, and hopefully future employers,” says Wheeler.
Clarice Gerbl, a senior exercise and health promotion major, is interning at the Special Olympics headquarters in D.C. this summer. She decided to apply for the LCU in Washington program when she began considering her upcoming postgraduate applications for physical therapy school. With hopes to intern with a physical therapist in D.C., Gerbl found herself in a bind when The Washington Center informed her there were no physical therapy internships available this summer. After some encouragement from LCU’s Dean of the College of Professional Studies, Dr. Toby Rogers, and the LCU in Washington program director, Dr. Stacy Patty, Gerbl realized that even if she pursued an internship not directly related to physical therapy, she would still be accepting an opportunity to challenge herself and grow.
“It’s something I chose to do for me,” explains Gerbl. “The Washington Center provides a rich program that challenges its students to grow in many different ways; often by stepping out of our familiar and predictable comfort zones. Students are challenged to become working young professionals and to become socially-conscious community leaders in an ‘out of the pan and into the fire’ sort of way. I’m looking forward to being challenged.”
Gerbl will be doing many detail oriented tasks for the Special Olympics headquarters this summer, and after a phone call with their enthusiastic senior manager, Gerbl believes this internship is exactly where she needs to be.
Johnson, Lyon, Wheeler, and Gerbl are studying and interning in the capital with two other peers. Savanna Stavinoha, a junior international studies major who is interning with Global Giving, a nonprofit organization that connects donors with grassroots projects around the world, and Priscilla Brannon, a May 2014 finance graduate who is interning with Thoron Capital, a leading real estate developer.
These students join a legacy of 35 previous LCU in Washington interns. In the fall of 2013, LCU was recognized by The Washington Center as “Private University of the Year,” a recognition given to LCU out of over 450 universities across the nation. The LCU in Washington program is experiencing great success in placing quality students in Washington, D.C. internships each summer, fall, and spring, and the program continues to grow.