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All boarding, grades 9-12 in Alexandria, Virginia

Off to Work They Go: Class of 2019 Concludes Senior Externships

EHS seniors fanned out across Washington during May for professional experiences in which they got a taste of the working world and various careers.
Altogether, more than 100 seniors commuted to monthlong externships at a host of businesses, organizations, and public agencies in the District, Virginia, and Maryland. They wrote journals documenting their experiences and met frequently with faculty advisors and other students to share what they learned. The work concluded with each student making a presentation to faculty as a defense of their work.

The structured experience, which is part of Episcopal’s Washington Program, confirmed the career interests of some students. Litchfield Ajavon and Alex Keller left their externships with Verdence Capital Advisors excited to go into finance. They learned about macroeconomic trends and helped the firm research tech firms in the Alexandria area, part of work that the city had commissioned. “They gave us guidance but really trusted us to do this work,” Alex said in his presentation. “It was a really cool experience to actually give something back to the company.”

Following her work with Loring Consulting Engineers, Kyara McDowell is continuing her plans to study engineering in college. After teaching herself some sophisticated software, she created a fire-prevention plan for a downtown DC renovation and designed plumbing for part of a renovation at the Michigan State House. “A lot of times, they gave me a project and kind of told me what to do, but I had to fill in the blanks. That helped me learn really, really fast; you just have to put yourself out there.”

Meanwhile, the intensity of what Collin Hwang saw in the emergency room and intensive-care unit at Sibley Memorial Hospital gave him second thoughts about his pre-med plans for college. “I wanted to try out a variety of things, but after this externship, I don’t think I’m cut out to be a doctor,” he said. “But who knows?”

Students got a taste of a variety of work environments, from large institutions such as the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum to small organizations and offices.

Natalie Block was one of several students who worked at start-up companies. She joined Sandboxx, a new company that connects military families with loved ones stationed in remote, hard-to-reach parts of the world.

As a marketing intern, Natalie, who will attend West Point in the fall, wrote blog posts about military life. She also attended critical meetings for the company and saw how rank-and-file employees were encouraged to challenge its growth plan. She was impressed with the company’s relatively flat hierarchy.

“A lot of the main leaders continuously work with the non-titled leaders at the company,” she wrote in a journal entry, “so it creates an interconnected social dynamic and breaks down any leadership hierarchy that might exist.”

Natalie won the School's new Martin Baldwin Whitaker Medal for outstanding senior externship defense. 

Where Did They Work?
Students secured their externships in a variety of fields. Here are a few examples of the places where they worked:

Arts and Culture
Folger Theatre
Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum
Washington Bach Consort

Business and Finance
Akridge real-estate development and construction
Boundary Street Capital
MRP Realty

Education
MacArthur Elementary School
Butterfly House
Del Ray Montessori School

Entrepreneurship and Start-Up Businesses
BeGirl
Humble Ventures
Sandboxx

Global Nonprofit Groups
Girl Up/United Nations Foundation
Coptic Orphans
Hindu American Foundation

Government and Policy
Department of Health and Human Services
Heritage Foundation
Hip Hop Caucus
U.S. Congress

Healthcare
Medstar Orthopedics
Pivot Physical Therapy
Spectrum Healthcare

Regional Organizations
Alexandria Archaeology
Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights Coalition
Rock Creek Conservancy

Science and Technology
American Geosciences Institute
Commercial Spaceflight Federation
Georgetown University IT Department

Sports and Recreation Management
Dynamic Sports Performance
Georgetown and George Washington athletic departments
The St. James Group sports and recreation center
 
 
 
 
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