UMBC’s Shriver Center coordinates over 2,400 internship, co-op, research and service-learning placements annually.
UMBC embraces the potential of all students to become innovative problem solvers, resource creators and boundary busters in their fields. Matching students with opportunities to learn through practice is one key way the Shriver Center helps them realize that potential.
This summer, nearly 700 UMBC students enrolled in the Shriver Center’s internship, co-op and research practica at sites across the United States. These experiences go beyond on-the-job skills training. They enable our students to articulate their passions, envision their futures, and break ground on unique professional paths—all while making a visible impact, whether they are at the White House or a Baltimore hospital.
Research Program Coordinator Carly Hunt of Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center writes, “Over the past several years, UMBC interns have contributed immensely to our research on psychological and psychosocial recovery following severe burn injury.”
In a 2012 Shriver Center survey, approximately 90% of respondents said that their placement increased the clarity of their career goals, their self-confidence and their ability to make decisions—essential qualities for effective agents of change in any field. Further, 77% wrote that their leadership skills improved as a direct result of their internship, co-op, or research experience.
UMBC students have applied this leadership in an incredibly diverse range of ways. They have worked with non-profits to lead community service initiatives and spread their organizations’ reach through media campaigns. They have made companies more efficient and effective at serving clients and have offered fresh insight on scientific research. They have broken down preconceptions and cultivated new partnerships.
Timothy Potteiger ’14, computer engineering, writes that his White House internship program “really adopted an entrepreneurial mindset encouraging everyone on the team to be proactive.” He was thrilled to hit the ground running and meet the office’s high expectations.
This is gratifying news for Christine Routzahn, Director of Professional Practice at the Shriver Center. Routzahn says, “Our goal is that all UMBC students engage in applied learning and graduate with the knowledge and experience they need to find empowerment and success in their careers.”
Here we feature student interns from across UMBC who are making tangible impacts on their fields and the world.
Media and Multimedia Specialist Intern, American Friends Service Committee
Media and Communications Studies, Spring 2013
Lofthus worked as a media and multimedia specialist intern for AFSC, a non-profit committed to upholding principles of social justice, nonviolence and humanitarianism in the U.S. and abroad. He generated story ideas and developed and edited content for multimedia projects, outreach events, digital media and print materials, highlighting civil rights learning and youth empowerment programs in Baltimore and Washington D.C.
My experience has taught me never underestimate the power of the individual in a collective effort. With a little direction from the right people, any skill or talent can be harnessed to influence movements on a tremendous scale. In the presence of those who are passionate about their work, anything is possible.
Felix O. Nwogbo, Jr.
Summer Research Intern, Duke University
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Spring 2013
Nwogbo conducted basic science research in the biochemistry lab of Dr. Richard Brennan through Duke University’s Summer Research Opportunity Program. In addition to learning about structural biology and research protocols, Nwogbo developed problem-solving strategies and new ways of thinking as a laboratory scientist.
I’ve learned that experiments don’t always go according to plan and you must be able to ask the right questions to figure out what is going on. The work I’m doing is basic science, but in the long run it has great potential to become translational research and help millions deal with chronic infections.
Squad Leader Intern, Alaska Department of Natural Resources Division of Forestry
Environmental Studies and Dance, Spring 2015
Based in Palmer, Alaska, Udevitz supervised a team of interns in the field—surveying and removing invasive plants, making a trail handicap accessible, and restoring stream banks to improve salmon access to spawning grounds. Udevitz also became wildland firefighter certified and collaborated with natural resource management professionals on other projects.
Before this summer, I knew I wanted to help solve the environmental challenges our world faces, but these problems often seem insurmountable. I’ve realized that I don’t need to come up with a grand solution; I can join this network of people working to protect the environment, and our individual projects combined will have a large, positive impact.
Intern, National Geographic Society
Anthropology and Interdisciplinary Studies, Spring 2014
As an intern with the Image Collection at National Geographic, Hawkins researched, labeled and catalogued images in preparation for online and print publication. She was challenged with the task of identifying people, locations and animal species from all regions of the world and all eras of history. Her detail-focused research has enabled National Geographic to share with the public powerful photographs that she hopes will inspire people to care more deeply for the world around them.
I’ve always loved the idea of changing the world; I’ve just never known how or really known anyone that has. My time at National Geographic has changed this perspective entirely. Every day I work with individuals whose mission is to inform others about our planet. I’ve learned that every little bit of work helps and that making an impact doesn’t come easily. It may take a lot of perseverance and a little luck, but it certainly is possible.
Project Lead Intern, General Electric
Information Systems and Visual Arts, Fall 2012
Kurikeshu interned at GE through the company’s Information Technology Leadership Program, where he designed an automated self-service solution for GE’s Active Directory group management. His work will help the company operate more efficiently and with greater security, and it will impact all seven GE divisions, from Aviation to Healthcare.
One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned was how to take initiative. The ITLP internship has given me the ability to identify a problem and be the change to better the environment around me. It has also taught me how to use my most vital resource—people. I now know how networking can shape how much you can learn. The more you network, the more you learn, and the more you can impact the world.
Summer Serve Assistant Coordinator and Counselor, United Way of Frederick County
American Studies, Spring 2014
Williams served as an assistant coordinator and counselor for United Way of Frederick County’s new Summer Serve program. There she created opportunities for teen volunteers to do service work through non-profit partnerships and guided them through reflection on their service experiences.
I have contributed to projects that fight for issues I am passionate about: poverty, homelessness, women’s health and hunger. Through this internship I have now also met the men and women who are responsible for creating organizations devoted to those causes.
Software Engineer, Google
Computer Science (Ph.D.), Fall 2014
Working at the Googleplex in Mountain View, California was an eye-opening experience for Zafar, who assisted the YouTube editor team with developing new video effects and integrating an external code source into their platform. His tasks ranged from helping to solve large data problems to navigating the subtleties of visual presentation.
Understanding the development life-cycle of software used by millions of people—watching all the pieces that solve complex problems come together—was truly an unforgettable experience. Working at a company with such a large user base has changed my perspective on practical software development.
Research Assistant, Hopkins Center for Health Disparity Solutions
Health Administration and Policy, Fall 2012
Mensah’s work at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health focused on inputting and analyzing data for the Cultural Quality Collaborative. Through surveys of staff and patients, the CQC assesses the cultural competency of participating hospitals with the goal of alleviating health disparities. Through this placement, Mensah also attended the International Conference on the Health of the African Diaspora.
I have always been interested in serving minority and limited English proficiency populations, and now I am. When hospitals improve their level of cultural competency, they improve healthcare delivery for their patients and the work environment for their employees. The analysis I have done is already making a difference.
Agent of Change, greeNEWit
Interdisciplinary Studies, Spring 2014
Camacho worked with greeNEWit—an energy solutions firm that seeks to reduce energy consumption and promote sustainability—to help launch the Cleats for Bare Feet and OUR Schools social initiatives. Cleats for Bare Feet collects second-hand athletic shoes and sporting equipment for distribution to children around the globe, from the U.S. to Haiti to Ethiopia. OUR Schools educates K-12 students about their power to influence environmental sustainability.
When you see the smile on the face of an orphaned boy from Ethiopia, when he tries on his new pair of soccer cleats, or you get a third grade class excited about sustainability, it really puts your work into context.
Undergraduate Researcher, Duquesne University Center for Computational Sciences
Biochemistry, Spring 2014
As a computational chemistry researcher, Pham spent her summer running computer simulations to study phenomena that can’t be easily observed experimentally. Pham worked with Dr. Jeffry Madura, a pioneer in developing computational chemistry software to study the structure and function of proteins interacting with surfaces, among other topics. Her work has applications in cholera treatment.
I have enjoyed working with my mentor, Dr. Madura. He is not only a leader in computational chemistry, but he also plays an innovative role in developing programs to further his research. I’ve learned from him that research is a long, arduous process but it’s also enjoyable when we take pride in our small, daily accomplishments.
Project Manager, Baltimore Partnership for College Access and Success
Political Science and Media and Communication Studies, Spring 2013
The Baltimore Partnership for College Access and Success is a new non-profit, sponsored by the Greater Baltimore Urban League, that places college students as paid mentors in Baltimore City Middle Schools. As project manager, Wojciechowski was responsible for drafting the organization’s Strategic Plan, outlining its current operations and its funding and outreach goals for the next decade.
This opportunity to do long-term planning for an organization with the potential to have a positive statewide impact has been exhilarating. Because this plan is in place, the BPCAS will now have a stronger, more concrete structure that will help them to bring in more funding and expand their reach. When that happens, more students will be mentored, meaning college attendance will go up, crime will go down, and Maryland will be that much stronger.
Research Assistant, Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center
Psychology, Spring 2013
As a research assistant in the burn unit at Johns Hopkins Bayview, Pejsa completed clinical interviews with patients to assess how they were coping in the months following their hospital treatment and discharge. She assessed anxiety-related symptoms at one, six, twelve and 24 months following their burn injury.
The general public may only recognize PTSD in conjunction with veterans of war, but others also experience this anxiety disorder. The raw data I collected will be used to improve interventions for people at-risk of developing PTSD following a severe burn injury so that they have an overall better quality of life.