Congratulations to the Class of 2022, who completed the storied tradition of EHS externships, working across the DMV in fields from medicine to politics to marketing and more. We asked a group of seniors about their experiences and their takeaways.
Ryan Arenburg ’22, Alpha Bah ’22, Townes Hunt ’22, and Samir McElroy ’22
Ryan Arenburg, Alpha Bah, Townes Hunt, and Samir McElroy completed their externship with the St. James, a sports, wellness, and entertainment complex in Maryland that was founded by EHS Board member Craig Dixon ’93 P23. On choosing The St. James, Arenburg said: “We all believe we have a future in business. And even if not, it’s still something we’ll need to apply in our daily lives.” The others agreed, as all four think business school could be in their future.
During the externship, the four students worked with the development team, the sports operations teams, the finance team, the marketing team, and even set up courts for players visiting the facility. All of them are passionate athletes, which they say kept their time at the complex fun and exciting. They spent their days in meetings, building business propositions, and interacting with the team members and leaders.
Episcopal helped them get settled quickly in the corporate setting thanks to the soft skills they work on daily here on campus. Bah says that the most valuable lesson he learned on The Holy Hill was how to be a good person. “I always say ‘hi’ to everybody; I’ve been taught that since freshman year. So every time I see somebody at work, I smile and say ‘hello.’ Later on, they’ll remember you were a kind person.”
Pempem Dorji ’22
Pempem Dorji, who is bound for Yale University this fall, was among three seniors who externed at Neighborhood Health with Jane Knops P’23.
The company’s mission is to improve health and advance health equity in Alexandria, Arlington, and Fairfax. During the month, Dorji was able to sit in on procedures such as mammograms and pap smears, which increased excitement about her career aspirations.
“It was amazing following the doctors around, and getting to see all these different patients,” Dorji said. “I plan to go into the medical field, so this externship was perfect for me.”
Dorji feels EHS prepped her for life by encouraging her to always ask questions. “At the end of seeing every patient, the doctors would ask me: ‘Do you have any questions?’ EHS prepared me for that,” she explained, “by always expanding my curiosity and not being afraid to ask even the weirdest questions.”
Jay Kellam ’22 and Zoe Smith ’22
Four EHS seniors worked for The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) during their externships. Among the four were Jay Kellam and Zoe Smith, who each had a separate area of focus within the organization.
Jay Kellam’s experience focused on diversity and inclusion within the company. “Since the FAA is a segment of the American government, it should reflect the American people,” he said. “My focus was making sure the FAA broadens its scope and welcomes in people from my generation.”
Zoe Smith opted to focus on multiple sectors during her externship. Undecided on her future career path, Smith was excited to witness all the different segments of the organization. “It's a lot different than I thought it would be. I thought it would be strictly about airplanes, but it's everything from human resources to safety, engineering, and finance,” she recapped.
Smith credits EHS with teaching her the importance of relationship-building, whether at work or at school. “Episcopal taught me how to make quality relationships and how to work with new people, and for that I’m really grateful.”
Jane Montgomery ’22
Jane Montgomery spent her externship working for Representative William Timmons of South Carolina, Montgomery’s home state.
During her weeks on Capitol Hill, Montgomery authored letters to constituents about Roe v. Wade, attended a Financial Services Committee meeting with Rep. Maxine Waters, traveled on the underground Senate train, and gave tours surrounding the history of The Capitol.
Being on Capitol Hill encouraged her long-time love for politics. Montgomery, who was the president of the Young Republicans’ Club this year, said the externship confirmed her desire to major in political science at the University of Richmond. She also spoke of her hope for underclassmen as they embark on their own externships: “I want to encourage younger students to take advantage of this opportunity and do something that they’re passionate about.”
“I can’t believe I’ve had this neat experience in the heart of D.C.,” she reflected. “It’s something I’ll never forget.”
Hansen Ogden ’22
Hansen Ogden spent his externship in D.C.’s National Press Building with the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership (TRCP). In collaboration with non-profits, businesses, donors, lawmakers, and sportsmen and sportswomen, TRCP strives to ensure that all Americans have quality places to both hunt and fish.
Hansen’s day typically started with a meeting to discuss the work he was focusing on or the work the larger group was undertaking, focusing on the bigger picture at TRCP. Hansen’s interest in fishing and his passion for environmentalism led him to this externship experience. He especially enjoyed working with a non-profit that exposed him to such important people and subjects that make a real-world impact.
Hansen will be attending Washington and Lee University in the fall and said that he enjoyed dipping his toes into the kind of environmental work he’s passionate about as he isn’t sure what he wants to major in yet.
Annie Thomas ’22
Annie Thomas externed at non-profit International Arts & Artists at Hillyer (IA&A) in Dupont Circle. IA&A is committed to “increasing cross-cultural understanding and exposure to the arts through exhibitions, programs, and services to artists, arts institutions, and the public.” The non-profit has three sectors — the gallery, traveling exhibitions, and cultural exchange program — so her workload was different each day. Her tasks included prepping gallery spaces for new exhibits, creating Excel sheets to evaluate inventory, unpacking artwork, and helping out with their social media pages.
Thomas particularly enjoyed creating Instagram posts and blogs, since she had a chance to dig into the artists’ experience working in the U.S. and understand each person’s work.
Episcopal’s small class sizes helped her confidently engage with the people around her and get involved in all aspects of the non-profit. Thomas hopes to continue this work at Colby College and beyond. She’s particularly interested in working with the school’s own gallery.
“I have always known I wanted to do work within the arts and I’ve had such a positive experience with IA&A; the employees are amazing and the work done here is so exciting and fulfilling.”
Cher Wang ’22
Cher Wang has always dreamed of being a fashion designer. Bound for Parsons School of Design in Paris, France, Wang completed her externship with Courtney Ferrell, former EHS cross-country coach and spouse of former EHS faculty member Wortie Ferrell. Ferrell’s goal is to “bring creativity into the workspace,” according to Wang. The two met when Ferrell visited Wang’s entrepreneurship class to speak about her experience as an independent creativity consultant. Inspired by their interaction, Wang approached her afterwards to ask about an externship.
Wang has been helping Ferrell brainstorm around a project meant to bring inspiration back to the workspace in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. Wang says Ferrell encourages her to get outside, go to a coffee shop, or change her surroundings to get the creative juices flowing. Ferrell also is helping her work through an idea Wang presented in her entrepreneurship class to take unused clothing from corporate retailers and upcycle it into clothes that people will buy.
While Wang does not expect to become a creative consultant like Ferrell, the emerging designer recognizes the many benefits of her externship for her future dreams: “Fashion is really competitive right now, and it’s all about creativity and thinking outside the box.”