|Middlebury student interns in the mentorship program (from left): Faraz Khan, Nathan Rifkin, Allie Cohen, Daniel Bateyko, Kate Miley, Jana Parsons, Taylor Pierce, Greta Olivares, Jacob Eisenberg, Claire Smith.
MIDDLEBURY, Vt. – This summer Middlebury College launched a new mentorship program for 30 students and recent graduates working as interns in Washington D.C.
Organized by the Middlebury in D.C. Office and the Center for Careers and Internships (CCI) on campus, the program matches interns with alumni mentors in their particular fields of interest. Additionally, professional staff from the College offer networking opportunities and career-building workshops.
“Where an internship is about the experience, a mentorship is about building relationships," said Tim Mosehauer, Middlebury's associate director for career services. "As an intern you do the work, you acquire skills, and you begin to understand the culture. And with the added benefit of a mentor, you gain perspective and discover ways to expand your opportunities after the internship is over.”
The alumni mentors represent the fields of government, communications, science, law, international development, economics, consulting, arts and entertainment, and the environment.
Nathan Rifkin, a rising Middlebury senior, has an internship with The Peace Alliance, a nonprofit advocacy group that strives to reduce youth incarceration. He is working with the organization’s legislative associate in support of a bill that would fund community-based alternatives to imprisonment, and his mentor is Kate Briscoe ’94, chief of national security law at the Department of Homeland Security.
“Kate has worked in both the public and private sectors, and has been helpful in talking about law school, and about working as a lawyer for the government,” Rifkin said. “She has advised me about what a legal career with a focus on the public sector might resemble, and has added to my perspective.”
“The Middlebury alumni network has been incredibly supportive this summer,” Rifkin added.
Jana Parsons, a rising junior with an internship at the Inter-American Development Bank, has had two alumni mentors: Matthew Groh ’10, who worked for a nonprofit overseas and for the World Bank before landing his current post with the advanced research projects agency of the Defense Department, and Steven Rozner ’96, who was employed at a for-profit international development company before accepting his new post at the U.S. Agency for International Development.
“What I found most valuable about the mentorship program was getting to know two people involved in international development at different stages of their careers,” Parsons explained.
“Matt gave me insight into the field from his perspective as a young professional. Steve is well established in the field and is extremely passionate about his work. Together they provided me with a lot of context I wouldn’t have gotten without the mentorship program.”
Kathryn Miley is a May 2014 graduate for whom the mentorship program has been a springboard to her first fulltime job. While interning at The Nature Conservancy she has assisted the policy group that consults with the Conservancy’s 50 state chapters.
“I enjoy state-level policy work, and find it quite fulfilling. There is lots of room to make change at the state level.” The Nature Conservancy must value Miley’s expertise and enthusiasm; this week she was offered a job in external affairs for the organization.
Her mentor, Christian Hicks ’06, does consulting with a sustainability focus for firms in the nation’s capital. “I really appreciated his candor, honesty, and solid advice,” Miley said.
The Middlebury in D.C. Office "is really going places!" the summa cum laude graduate added. "The mentorship program and this summer’s events have laid a great foundation for connecting Middlebury students to the real world.”
Under the direction of Daurie Mangan-Dimuzio, the D.C. office’s interim assistant director, this summer’s mentorship program also included a mock interview workshop, a panel discussion called “Field Guide to Careers in the Environment,” a resume-writing workshop, and a reception for mentors and mentees.
The office on K Street opened less than a year ago, and also houses the Washington headquarters of the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, a division of the Monterey Institute for International Studies
Reported by Robert Keren, with photography by Bob Rives