UVI Students Gain Confidence and Hands-On Experience in D.C.

February 8, 2023 The Washington Center

UVI Students Gain Confidence and Hands-On Experience in D.C.

Students from the University of the Virgin Islands come to The Washington Center each year to broaden their personal and professional networks in the heart of Washington, D.C.

The University of the Virgin Islands (UVI) has partnered with The Washington Center (TWC) since 2016, sending students to the nation’s capital for transformative internship experiences that unlock new possibilities for their futures. Each summer a cohort of UVI students, with all kinds of majors and interests, take on new professional challenges among a supportive community of their peers. During the summer 2022 term, nine UVI students participated in TWC’s Academic Internship Program:

  • Kaylor Bass, psychology major, interned at Dangers of the Mind
  • Serita Somersalle, finance major, interned at Credit Builders Alliance
  • Marcus Curran, computer science major, interned at Terran Material Resources
  • Darwin Christian III, business management major, interned at The Brand Amplifiers 
  • Joleen Buchanan, information systems major, interned at Development Monitors
  • Celestial Dazle, business management major, interned at NYC Architecture Biennial 
  • Brandon Chambers, business administration major, interned at Hazar Insurance
  • Denny Gonzalez, engineering major, interned at Development Monitors
  • Ishara Jendayi, education major, interned at The Global Language Network

We spoke with Joleen Buchanan (JB), Celestial Dazle (CD), Kaylor Bass (KB), Serita Somersalle (SS), Ishara Jendayi (IJ), Brandon Chambers (BC) and Denny Gonzalez (DG) about how their summer in Washington, D.C. impacted their growth and professional interests. Their responses have been edited for length and clarity. 

I can now say I'm more confident in expressing myself professionally. 

Joleen Buchanan, interned at Development Monitors

How has this experience impacted your personal growth?

IJ:  This experience has impacted my personal growth by allowing me to interact with people of diverse backgrounds and cultures. It also gave me a glimpse of what living on my own can look like. 

DG: This experience impacted my personal growth by showing me more of the world. 

CD: I was able to improve my communication and social skills by networking with peers, TWC staff and business professionals.  


Tell us about a project you worked on during your internship that has been your favorite.

CD: My favorite project during my internship was working on poster designs for the New York Architecture Biennial. 

KB: I wore many hats, but I really liked creating content and managing the social media accounts for my internship site. 

IJ: My favorite project at my internship was working with other leadership fellows on my team to create a cookbook for foods from different cultures.

BC: I was tasked with creating informational videos about the different types of insurance.

I’ve learned valuable tips that have helped me refine my career goals and paths. My internship site also provided me with social emotional skills that I wouldn't have learned anywhere else. 

Kaylor Bass, interned at Dangers of the Mind

How has this experience impacted your goals?

IJ: This experience has allowed me to become more open to opportunities in the language field as well as with career paths in education that are outside of a classroom. 

BC: This experience has impacted my career goals greatly because I learned new skills as a marketer. It also pushed me to be open to new ideas and opinions. 

KB: I've gotten to speak with people who currently hold positions that I'd like to hold in the future. They've given great insight on what education paths I should take to achieve my goals. 

SS: I did not know what I wanted to do with my degree, so having this opportunity as a data analyst has helped me explore that possibility. 

In a way, [this experience] has humbled me and taught me that it is okay to not know things. I felt comfort in knowing that people were always willing to help.

Serita Somersalle, interned at Credit Builders Alliance

What has been your favorite “Only in D.C.” moment?

JB:  I would say my favorite “Only in D.C.” moment would be attending the D.C. Pride parade. I never experienced something like that before and it had always been a dream of mine to attend. 

SS: I would have to say visiting the museums, seeing the fireworks and being able to look at all the buildings during my commute on the train. 

IJ: My favorite “Only in D.C.” moment was having a picnic at the National Mall for the 4th of July. Watching the fireworks with the Washington Monument in the background is a must-see site. 



If you are a University of Virgin Islands student and you envision yourself joining a cohort like this, click here to learn more!


Let The Washington Center Help 

Internships are one of the best ways to learn more about potential jobs and careers, get hands-on experience and build networks and relationships with potential employers. As part of our Academic Internship Program, we partner with hundreds of internship sites in a wide range of professional fields, and will work closely with you to find the internship that best aligns with your career goals and interests. Learn more about the Academic Internship Program.


About the Author

The Washington Center

The Washington Center is the largest and most established student internship program in Washington, D.C. Since our founding, we've helped more than 60,000 individuals from across the U.S. and around the globe expand their academic pursuits into rewarding jobs and careers. We use our scale and expertise to deliver solutions that open career pathways for learners, solve recruitment challenges for employers, while helping create greater access, equity, advancement and representation.

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