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Dean’s Desktop: Fall 2017

At Johns Hopkins, we pride ourselves on giving students a classroom experience that is transformational. Lively discussion, mind-bending ideas, and provocative questions are all pretty much the status quo for courses at Hopkins. We know that learning and discovery also take place in our laboratories and libraries, as research is the hallmark of a Hopkins education.

Did you know, though, that learning at Hopkins also happens in some unlikely places? Places like museums, NASA, a federal prosecutor’s office, Vietnam, hospitals, Wall Street. These are just a few of the interesting locales where some of our students have recently held internships or fellowships.

We view internships, scholarships, and unique research opportunities as ways for our students to gain global knowledge and to prepare for successful and fulfilling lives and careers. These experiences augment what students learn in our classrooms and laboratories. Students gain networking and job-searching skills, and deep industry knowledge while also feeding their curiosity about how the world works.

Our Career Center works with corporations, government organizations, hospitals, and nonprofits—to name a few—to help students achieve internships, fellowships, and other experiential education such as job shadowing, networking, and company visits. In addition, the Career Center works with parents and alumni to create internship opportunities that will lead to the career success of students.

Financial support also plays a role. I’m grateful to our donors who contribute to internships and to scholarships for our students. That kind of help enables our students to take the critical thinking and analysis skills they have learned in the classroom and translate them into creative problem-solving and excellence in communication at the places where they have internships.

Students talk about their internships as life-changing experiences. Ramya Prabhakar, Class of 2019, spent this past summer interning at the Terrorism and International Narcotics Unit of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York in Manhattan. A double major in international studies and political science with her eye on pre-law, Prabhakar said, “This internship made me realize that being a lawyer is not solely about trial time, convictions, or wins. It’s about serving your country by committing yourself to the pursuit of justice.”

Another student, senior Léandre Eberhard, used Woodrow Wilson Fellowship funding to examine whether the substantial investments China makes in African countries increases Africa’s trade with other countries. You can read more about his work in this issue of the magazine, where he says of his experience: “It’s just so different from class work, where you’re given an assignment and you just finish that and then you’re done with it. You have to make your own assignments and ask questions of yourself without knowing if there’s a correct answer. I’m really glad that I’m able to do this before actually being a graduate student or a PhD student.”

These are just two examples of the impact that internship and scholarship funding have on the career directions of our students. We are teaching them that, with willingness and an open mind, learning can happen just about anywhere in the world. And once they realize that, there is no stopping them.



Beverly Wendland
James B. Knapp Dean