Honors Students Explore Career Interests with Summer Internships

Experiential learning is an integral part of the Honors College experience, and for many Honors students, the summer is the ideal time to gain invaluable, hands-on experience in their chosen field.

Several Honors College students were recently featured in The College Today for their summer internship undertakings. You can read more about their summer internships below, and then check out the full article by Dan Dickison in The College Today.

Lea Neufeld

Year/major: Rising senior; Honors College student majoring in international studies, political science and French with a minor in German

Internship: Working at the United Nations University(UNU)-MERIT in The Netherlands

Outlook: “I’m spending my summer as a research intern for UNU-Merit and the institution’s Migration Lab. My work is focused on the return and reintegration trends and data. This includes creating and delivering country briefs, as well as transcribing interviews from experts on various regions and their outlook and forecasts regarding migration trends.

“I’m working with and learning from scholars, policy makers and experts in the field of migration, and it has been such a pleasure already just getting to know them. I’ve tailored my studies at CofC to give me a good base in the field of migration, so it’s really great to be able to put that education to use by actually researching and working in this field. I think that studying migration – in particular forced migration – is extremely important and timely. So many people are displaced around the world and understanding the trends and being able to predict what might happen in the future can be really helpful in creating sustainable policies and finding funding to actually make a difference. Forced migration and displacement are the areas that I hope to focus on professionally, either in the form of academia or by informing policy through other ways. That part I’m not sure about yet, but I’m sure this internship will give me more direction.”

Gabriella “Bunny” Nazari

Year/major: Rising junior; Honors College student majoring in psychology

Internship: Social media intern with D.C. United soccer team

Outlook: “I will be working closely with the content and communications team at D.C. United, a professional men’s soccer team based in Washington, D.C. My role is to assist the digital media workers, the graphic designers, the videographers and other content creators in drafting, creating and publishing content for the team’s social media platforms, including Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. In addition, I’ll be meeting with the team’s sports psychologist and learning about her work because I aspire to become a sports psychologist for a professional team in the future.

I was fortunate to get this internship through a connection with the president of the club, and that’s partially due to my extensive background in soccer. (I play on the women’s soccer team at the College.) I hope this internship will give me a sense of what it’s like to work behind the scenes of the sport and how I can use my knowledge of the game in a way that goes beyond being on the field and playing. I’m really looking forward to this opportunity.”

James Dockery

Year/major: Rising junior; Honors College student majoring in astrophysics with a minor in mathematics

Internship: Conducting research with professor Joseph Carson of the College’s Department of Physics and Astronomy to analyze the activity of select stars

Outlook: “I was fortunate to secure a research position with Dr. Carson my second semester on campus. I took the initiative to email him about his research and he invited me to discuss that. I was originally interested in this opportunity just for the experience, which is helpful preparation for graduate school. Now, however, my internship is funded by NASA’s South Carolina Space Consortium, so the project has become more involved. We’ll be using specialized software to analyze spectra from stars and determining the activity level of those stars. Part of our work this summer involves traveling to Chile to make use of the telescope at La Silla Observatory on the outskirts of the Atacama Desert. Ultimately, my hope is to advance my understanding of the influence of stars on planetary evolution. In addition, I’ll learn how to conduct observations and work with new data analysis software.”

Olivia Yalden

Year/major: Rising senior in the Honors College; public health major

Internship: Working as the behavior health and health policy intern at Westat, a research company based in Maryland

Outlook: “I’m super excited to be doing this internship with Westat, even though it will be virtual. Yes, I’ll be paid, but more importantly, I’ll be gaining experience in a public health-related profession that I’m passionate about. I wouldn’t have this opportunity if I hadn’t been diligent about researching positions in this field and then completing the application as well as multiple rounds of interviews. Now, I get to work with survey databases that reflect patient experiences as well as provider and staff data from healthcare facilities. I’ll be conducting quality-control checks on data and reports, and I’ll be able to present the results using infographics and other data-visualization products. For me, it will be a great way to gain advanced technical skills, but it will also provide me good exposure to how a successful public health corporation operates and collaborates with other agencies and organizations. Ultimately, I’ll gain a better understanding of the tangible ways to tackle a very important mission, which is the core work at Westat – improving lives through research.”

Maddie Carrino

Year/major: Rising senior in the Honors College; majoring in data science with a concentration in business analytics

Internship: Working with the Healthcare Fraud Protection Program (HFPP) at General Dynamics Information Technology

Outlook: “This summer, I’ll be helping to identify and analyze fraudulent claims and transactions. The HFPP is a public-private partnership between federal, state and local government agencies as well as private health insurance plans and anti-fraud associations in healthcare. The goal of this organization, and my internship, is to identify and reduce fraud and abuse across the healthcare sector. I will be working with both the raw data and data studies to find underlying patterns and relationships that could lead to the discovery of fraudulent charges. I’m fortunate that this is a paid position, but I mainly accepted this role for the experience I’ll get and the possible network connections I can make.”

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