Feature Story

January 5, 2016 | By Julia Stone ’16 and Jimmy Sanzone ’16

Externship students gather with President Rock Jones in Washington, D.C., for a networking reception.

Working and Networking in D.C.

Ohio Wesleyan Students Enjoy Capitol Externship Experiences

From working for nonprofits to taking part in a lobbying group on Capitol Hill, Ohio Wesleyan’s externship program allows students to gain valuable career experience while networking with successful OWU alumni.

Six OWU students completed externships in Washington, D.C., during fall semester. Externships are short internship-style experiences (lasting a mere 1-5 days) that allow students to meet mentors and learn more about potential careers.

Nicole Barhorst ’16, an English major and journalism minor, worked with alumna Abbey Powell ’96. Powell is the public affairs specialist for Animal and Plant Health Protection Services, part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

“I never would have expected my match, Abbey Powell, to trust me with so many important tasks and to spend so much time and effort showing me the ropes,” Barhorst said.

Barhorst’s externship made her realize how much she enjoys public affairs and writing. Her favorite part of the experience was attending an executive communications meeting.

“It was great to hear from people who write full-time and were so invested in their work,” she said. “I had planned to do editing, marketing, or writing for a publication, but now I'm also thinking about doing those things for a government agency.”

Yasmin Radzi ’16, a neuroscience and dance-theatre double major, worked at Americorps in the Volunteers In Service To America (VISTA) division. While working for Americorps, Radzi learned about the politics of governmental funding and participated in Generational Diversity in the Workplace Federal Agency Training.

“With the networking connections, diversity training, and work experience, I definitely know what to expect when applying for jobs and working a full-time job,” Radzi said.

Radzi plans to spend two gap years working in the nonprofit sector or as a research assistant. Afterward, she hopes to attend a podiatric medical school.

Externship students attended a networking reception, hosted by Tracie Winbigler, OWU Class of 1987, at the Hubbard Hall of National Geographic. Over 65 alumni, friends, and students gathered for the event, including President Rock Jones and OWU students taking part in the Wesleyan in Washington program.

Radzi recommends externships to all students. She enjoyed exploring D.C. and spending time with successful alumni. “This experience was both enriching and challenging,” she said.

“Externships are an incredible way to gain experience during the school year,” Barhorst said. “The program does a lot of the work for you. There really is nothing to lose, but lots of experience to gain.”

Journalism major Courtney Dunne ’17 agreed, noting that students don’t have to have their careers mapped out to participate in OWU’s externship program.

Dunne worked with a company called Results, which seeks to address poverty in the United States and around the world.

“I personally worked with a woman named Carly Pildis,” Dunne said. “She is their outreach and advocacy associate. The first day I was there, we spent on Capitol Hill. We were lobbying for a bill that was going to help children and mothers around the world get the proper care they need and vital nutrients in order to increase life expectancy.”

Dunne also said she benefited from meeting and networking with OWU alumni. “Many of them have internship opportunities you can apply for,” she said.

Learn more about Ohio Wesleyan’s externship program and Office of Career Services at www.owu.edu/careers.