With her senior year less than two months away, College of Charleston public health major Kaytlin Brown (right) is focused on making strides in what comes next with a summer internship with the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation on Capitol Hill.
Brown is an intern for U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly, who represents the second congressional district of Illinois. She hopes to expand her network by spending time with congressional staff with the goal of one day working as a political strategist or consultant. And she’s already gaining practical skills and experience in this role.
“I have a variety of responsibilities including drafting meeting memos, compiling bill recommendations, communicating with constituents and supporting higher staff members as needed,” says Brown.
Brown’s experience on Capitol Hill is thanks in part to the Career Center Internship Award (CCIA) program, which provides students with career readiness support as well as a scholarship to help make internships more accessible without financial stress.
“For me, the CCIA scholarship assisted with funding living expenses in Washington, D.C.,” shares Brown. “That includes but is not limited to housing expenses, food, transportation (Flights, Ubers, etc.) and other necessities.”
Brown is one of 10 students who have found unique opportunities this summer by utilizing the support and financial resources provided by the Career Center. Students in the CCIA program spend the fall semester completing modules, learning career readiness skills and attending individual and cohort meetings that help prepare them for the workforce. In the spring, the students work to tailor résumés and other application materials for internships as well as participate in mock interviews.
“They provided holistic support and individual support,” says Brown. “Jim Allison (executive director of the Career Center) and Kristin Wichmann (experiential learning coordinator) always made time for you and bounced back with solutions if things didn’t work out.”
“Our students did a really great job of taking ownership for their internship searches,” says Wichmann. “It takes time and you have to be disciplined in the process of finding an internship. They persevered through any adversity and kept their eye on the prize.”
Brown says the CCIA program was definitely integral to landing her internship with the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation.
“It would have been really hard to get this internship without them,” says Brown, who recognizes the value and passion that the Career Center puts into the CCIA program. “Including the services that they offered day in and day out, the Career Center went out of their way, above and beyond, to talk and work with me.”
Since launching in 2017, 100% of all CCIA participants have successfully secured an internship or similar experiential learning opportunity.
“We have had 71 students go through the program, all getting internships, which we are very proud of,” shares Wichmann, noting that the program currently has funds to support 10-12 students per year. “We are always actively looking for new ways to expand funding for the program so that we can serve more students.
“It’s very rewarding to help students reach their goals,” adds Wichmann. “We’re the support team who provides resources and teaches the necessary skills, but the students take the initiative in finding the opportunities and reaching their goals.”
Other students participating in this summer’s Career Center Internship Award program include:
Finance intern at Nicklaus Brown & Co. in Charleston, S.C.
Computer Information Systems Major
Participant in Tennessee Tech’s 2022 NSF Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) in Cookeville, Tenn.
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