Midterm break went beyond a mere vacation for five Beloit College sophomores, who spent their week job-shadowing in Washington, D.C.
Joseph Caldwell’14, Dingxi ‘Safari’ Fang’14, Alen Keric’14, Amanda Lawnicki’14, and Phong Tran’14 received the opportunity to go to Washington, D.C. courtesy of the Weissberg Program in Human Rights.
The program (funded by the Weissberg Program in Human Rights) ran three days, from Wednesday, March 7 to Friday, March 9. Wednesday and Friday focused on group events, where the students attended lectures and toured the Holocaust Museum and the Capitol together.
On Thursday, however, the students broke off from the group to shadow professionals at several different facilities. They regrouped for the evening to attend a dual networking event and admitted student reception for Washington, D.C.-based prospective members of the class of 2016 hosted by Alan Gourley’77, Sarah Brown’75, and Nina Weissberg’84, at Crowell and Moring Law Firm.
An international student from Vietnam and an international studies major and Asian studies minor, Tran shadowed the 2009 Weissberg Chair Beth Rhyne. In his shadowing experience, he had the opportunity to speak to several staff members at the Center for Financial Inclusion and the non-governmental organization ACCION.
“As an international relations major, I wanted to see the different approaches and application to the notions of human rights in real life,” Tran says.
Fang, an international student from China with an environmental biology major and anthropology minor, shadowed Colin O’Neil’08 at the Center for Food Safety (CFS). Though she shadowed O’Neil, Fang had the opportunity to meet with other staff at CFS as well to talk about sustainability in agriculture, organic standards, pesticides, genetic engineering, aqua-culture, and climate change.
“I talked to people working on things that really interest me,” Fang explains. “Most people love talking about their jobs and are happy that you ask their advice [on] your career and future.”
Lawnicki, a double major in international relations and Russian planning to study abroad in Russia and Serbia next year, shadowed Michael Levy’76 at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. Levy, the director of digital collections at the museum, introduced her to other people in the museum.
“The best part was being able to meet all these people at the museum who were so inspired by their jobs,” Lawnicki enthuses. “[There] was a sense that, at the end of the day, ‘even if my job is but a small cog in a larger mechanism, I am making the world better.’ And that is where I want to be one day.”
You can see/hear a multimedia audio slideshow about their experiences here.