Making Career Connections

Students and alumni meet at GW Career Center networking events such as the New York City Career Quest Spring 2016 Alumni Breakfa
Students and alumni meet at GW Career Center networking events such as the New York City Career Quest Spring 2016 Alumni Breakfast.
August 10, 2016

From White House internships to dream jobs in the private sector, Columbian College students and recent graduates are taking advantage of their GW connections to advance their career aspirations. The following are examples of how relationships can translate to success in the workplace:

  • When American studies major Paul Kendrick, BA ’05, MPA ’07, met Ashlynn Profit, BA ’14, MPA ’16, a communication major, at an alumni happy hour for Presidential Administrative Fellows (PAF), they discovered that not only were they both PAF members, they also shared a passion for education issues. “She came right up to me and impressed me with the outstanding service work she was leading for GW in the D.C. community,” said Kendrick, now the climate and domestic director in the Presidential Personnel Office at the White House. Later, Kendrick asked the PAF program to recommend young volunteers for a summit on youth unemployment and disconnection sponsored by Opportunity Nation, a nonprofit organization for which Kendrick formerly worked as director of grassroots engagement. Profit’s name was at the top of the list. “This ended up being a wonderful collaboration, as Ashlynn powerfully spoke up for bipartisan education, workforce and criminal justice policies and got to talk with her Delaware governor at the Opportunity Nation National Summit,” he said. Kendrick continued to give encouragement and insights to Profit about a career in education. Profit’s experience helped her earn an internship at the U.S. Department of Education where she was later hired as a confidential assistant in the Office of Civil Rights.
  • Columbian College alumna Jacqueline Hackett, BA ’08, MPP ’10, deputy director for policy at the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, has often selected GW interns for her office and she's been happy with the results. She gives them ample professional responsibility, from writing briefings for the drug czar to ‎planning community engagement trips to tracking legislation and guiding the office’s social media presence. The skills developed through these opportunities have enabled many of these interns to go onto jobs in fields like public policy and communications, including Maddison Bruer, BA ’15, who now works with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the Ebola and Zika viruses, and Mollie Bowman, BA ’16, who works for the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign in Ohio.
  • Financial investment firms have frequently recruited economics students through the annual Careers in Economics information sessions sponsored by Columbian College’s Department of Economics. Jeffrey Messina, BS ’13, for example, was recruited to the Washington, D.C., firm Bates White by two economics alumni who attended the networking fair, and he is now participating in the sessions as an alumnus and a recruiter himself. Another financial powerhouse, Price Waterhouse Coopers, has also actively recruited GW students through its alumni network. Economics and political communication major Sarah Margolis, BS ’14, sent her resume and cover letter to Ian Potent, BA ’10, an alumnus in the financial firm's office—and interviewed for her eventual job just a few days later. Today she works alongside several GW alumni, including her classmate Rose Sunj, BS ’14.
  • After months of submitting resumes and cover letters to financial firms across New York City, economics undergraduate student Danielle Zukoff was nearly ready to abandon her internship search. But through a post on GWork—the GW Career Center’s online network that allows students and alumni to access jobs, internships, Federal Work Study and volunteer opportunities—Zukoff landed a summer spot with Vested, a Wall Street financial communications start-up. The “dream internship,” she said, bolstered her commitment to major in economics and pursue a career in the financial sector. “Throughout my time at Vested, I’ve communicated directly with clients, allowing me to gain a deep understanding of the financial industry and reaffirmed my desire to ultimately work within this sector,” she said. Zukoff detailed her internship experience on the Career Center blog.
  • When political science senior Guillermo J. Martinez was selected for a prestigious internship at the D.C. Superior Court, his elation was dampened by the cost of taking on a full-time, unpaid internship in Washington, D.C. But a grant from the GW Knowledge in Action Career Internship Fund (KACIF), a career service’s initiative that supports the professional development of students by defraying the costs of eligible unpaid internships, enabled him to purse the opportunity. Since 2013, more than 265 students have received KACIF awards of up to $3,000. Martinez wrote about his successful internship search on the Career Center blog
  • Maya Warburg, BS ’16, an industrial/organizational psychology major, was hired as a digital engagement coordinator at Reingold LINK Strategic Partners, a national strategic communications and stakeholder engagement firm headquartered in Washington, D.C. What got her foot in the door for an interview? At a Center for Career Services Media Networking Fair, Warburg was introduced to the firm through Reingold LINK executives Michael Akin, BA ’03, MBA ’07, and Zachary Abaie, BA ’13. Employment soon followed.