Dehejia Internship Program Inspires Student Growth

The Dehejia Internship Program offers rising Sidwell seniors the opportunity to explore their areas of interest through 19 different summer internships. The internships include fields such as game design, journalism, marketing, medicine, nonprofit work and politics, allowing every student to find an internship of interest.

The program was created for students to pursue their passions outside of the classroom. “The Dehejia Internship Program allows rising seniors to put many of the skills they are learning at Sidwell Friends to use in a ‘real world’ context,” said Assistant Principal of Academic Affairs Robert Gross.

Senior Marley Sowah was one of the 38 students who participated in the program this year and chose to work at a lobby firm. Shefound the program to be “an excellent opportunity to explore different careers.”

The internships also provided an opportunity to develop work experience. “Doing an internship is a good way to demonstrate engagement and experience to colleges and future employers,” she said.

The program “gives people the ability to make connections before becoming an adult,” senior Julian Yarborough said. His internship at Chronicle of Higher Education, a newspaper company, allowed him to network in the journalism field.

The Dehejia Internship Program allows rising seniors to put many of the skills they are learning at Sidwell Friends to use in a ‘real world’ context.

— Robert Gross

The program is open to every student, regardless of financial background. Assistant Principal for Academic Affairs Robert Gross ensures stipends and reimbursements are offered as needed so that no student has to take on expenses in order to participate.

One aspect of the program that prepares students for college and beyond is the resume and cover letter workshop that Sidwell offers to give students guidance. Students were given samples to help them get started as well as both group and individual feedback.

The individual guidance provided by the program has benefited many students.

Sowah found the February workshop helpful.

“The guest speaker helped me polish my resume and brainstorm ideas for my cover letter,” Sowah explained.

Senior Sofia Flores, who participated in an artificial intelligence internship at Georgetown University, suggests to younger Upper School students: “tailor your resume to the job you’re going for and… start drafting it before the Sidwell workshop so you can ask specific questions.”

After the workshop, students can use the information they have learned to apply for internships.

According to Flores, one of the most important parts of an internship is the mentorship a student receives. Every student interviewed commented on the abundant connections made by “working with people that want you to succeed,” she said.

Senior Mackenzie Tyson found her internship to be “eye-opening, expansive, and fun.”

Tyson interned at DC Retina, an ophthalmology office, and enjoyed interacting with patients, learning to read eye scanes, and hearing the doctor’s insights on how they treated a patient. Tyson used this opportunity to expose herself to new environments as she was unsure if she wanted to pursue a career in the medical field, and the internship helped clarify her pursuit. “You won’t know if you like something until you try it,” Tyson said.

Each student in the program learned something new along the way of their internship.

“You should always advocate for yourself and ask for help, even when it can be a bit scary when you are in a new environment,” Flores said.

Overall, each intern interviewed encouraged younger students to look into the program, citing the support and growth it provided.