Eight prepare to participate in The Washington Center internship program this summer.

By Patrice Renee Harris

Published on UVI Voice on May 1st 2015

Featured Image -- 82ST. THOMAS – Eight students at the University of the Virgin Islands (UVI) are currently preparing to spend their entire summer in Washington D.C.

The students will be participating in The Washington Center (TWC) Internship Program commencing May 27 until Aug. 7.

The 10-week program includes an internship, networking opportunities, leadership forums, academic course, and civic engagement programs. The students will also receive academic credits for their participation in the program.

Students will be immersed in the corporate and civic culture of Washington D.C.

The successful candidates were chosen to represent UVI from a pool of 15 applicants including graduate students.

TWC liason, Leslyn Tonge, said choosing the eight students was a difficult task.

Tonge said that the process began as early as February in order to meet the priority deadline. According to Tonge, the recruitment process included email blasts, class visits, presentations, workshops and one on one conversations. UVI also engaged a representative from TWC to meet with students and introduce them to the program.

Tonge said that UVI’s selection criteria included a 3.0 or more GPA and second semester sophomore and upper class-men.

A five-member committee chose the final eight participants by looking at the quality of the essays, recommendation letters, interest statements and professional statements submitted by the students.

The total cost for the university’s participation in the program exceeds $100,000. However, the school is confident that the students will benefit from the program.

UVI’s participation is made possible through funding from the Virgin Islands’ Legislature.

Provost Camille McKayle says that the investment is worthwhile. She said that UVI’s participation is in line with the university’s commitment to provide various educational experiences for students, outside of the UVI classroom.

“One of the things that we have really been trying to focus on is getting students different experiences. [We want students to] use UVI as a pathway to anywhere they want to go and not to think of education as just within the classrooms at UVI, but as varying sets of experiences,”McKayle said.

Provost McKayle hopes that students’ participation in these experiences will allow them to have different perspectives on the world of work. She also noted that participation in the TWC program, “enhances intellectual activity and conversation on campus.”

McKayle expects that the students will be organized, professional and ambassadors for the Virgin Islands. She encouraged the students to be the best all the time.

The eight participants include Music and Business major, Chyrstal Duncan, Communications major, Zoe Walker, Accounting major Alphea Brown and Tayla-Marie Manners, Criminal Justice Majors Depa Punjabe and Alana Carbon, Communications and English major Patrice Reneé Harris, and graduate student Lorenzo Donastorg.

Sophomore accounting major Alphea Brown says that she is pleased to have been selected. Browne said she is particularly “looking forward to learning new skills, expanding her network and gaining new opportunities.”

Communications major on St Croix, Zoe Walker, said that she is excited to participate in the program. She says she is looking forward to gaining work experience in Human Resource Management. “I am really looking forward to networking, because UVI does not offer Human Resource Management as a major. This internship will give me the experience I need to land a job in Human Resource Management after I leave UVI,” Walker said.

Walker is currently researching and acquainting herself with the mission, vision and culture of her internship site.
Presently, the university is finalizing travel arrangements and stipends, and approving the students’ academic program. The students are confirming internship and housing placements.

Upon their return from the summer internship program, the students will present their experience to the board of trustees.
This year marks the third year that the UVI has participated in the program. Each year the program has grown with an increasing numbers of applications from the university.

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