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Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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Crime log: Subject barred after shoplifting at bookstore
By Max Porter, Contributing News Editor • February 26, 2024

I can’t believe it’s not a Hillternship: How GW students have branched out with fresh gigs

Photo Illustration by Jordan Tovin | Assistant Photo Editor
A student surfs for unconventional internship offerings.

When walking to class, you’ve probably seen classmates in business professional clothes transiting to and fro their Capitol Hill internships.

There exists a constant social pressure for GW students to multitask: be a student and gain solid professional experience. But not all GW professional opportunities have been completed on the Hill or in the White House.

From sports reporting to founding their own businesses, GW students have found a fair share of apolitical jobs in the nation’s capital. Check out these unique internships to help inspire your own job hunt for the upcoming semesters.

A New Kind of Economic Game Theory

Keaton Dudley, a junior majoring in economics, said he challenges the traditional stigma of GW internships as a virtual intern for a game developer, Castix LLC. Dudley said he was tasked with creating ways in which a free-for-all game could simultaneously generate a profit for the developer.

“I did stuff working on a variable-pricing system within the game, essentially meaning work with different players, writing up different equations and systems strategies for when players interacted with different parts of the maps and how much different items should cost versus software and different factors along that,” Dudley said.

In comparison to the typical “hillternships” GW students are notorious for doing, Dudley said his experience allowed him to apply economics in a creative professional atmosphere. Dudley said he was given a lot of freedom to utilize his knowledge within his internship, whereas many congressional opportunities are refined and have organized set tasks.

“It wasn’t the traditional GW experience, where you’re in D.C, you’re going to Congress or you’re going to the White House or going to different companies,” said Dudley.It was unique in that way.”

Being Her Own Social Media Boss

While most GW professional experiences require students to work for someone else, Tess Mendelson, a senior majoring in journalism and mass communications, is her own boss. Instead of looking on Handshake or USAjobs for an internship, Mendelson said she decided to take a leap of faith by founding her own creative consulting business, @tmcreativeconsulting on Instagram.

“I focus on social media management, graphic design, video and reel creation and logo creation,” Mendelson said. “I currently have eight clients whose social media I run, and it’s on a monthly basis.”

Mendelson said her self-made internship holds her accountable for ensuring that the needs of her clients are met and that she continues to grow as a business. She said she manages the social media accounts of her clients daily.

“I plan to do this full time once I graduate, so I think that’s pretty interesting,” Mendelson said. “I’m also my own boss, which is different from other students.”

Preventing the Future Fish Apocalypse

GW’s overwhelmingly political focus means the school’s scientific research is often not discussed. Olivia Fitzgerald, a sophomore majoring in biology, said she is one among many other students doing biological research with GW professors.

Fitzgerald said she works with Patricia Hernandez, a professor of biology, in the Hernandez Lab studying the pharyngeal anatomy — the area just behind the nose and mouth — of three invasive carp species to help mitigate the disruption to the food web of large rivers in the Midwest. In simpler terms, she and the other scientists are trying to figure out why these types of fish are so successful at being invasive in their ecosystems.

“So right now on this project, it’s a lot of dissection,” Fitzgerald said. “We’re looking for specific muscles.”

Being presented with the opportunity by Hernandez last spring, Fitzgerald said she is grateful for the opportunity to perform skill-based work in the lab because not many undergraduates do research this early in their professional careers. She said her research with Hernandez helps to highlight the tons of professional work being done by Columbian College of Arts & Sciences undergraduates that is often overlooked by GW student culture as politics often take the forefront. 

“There’s some really cool research going on, and I don’t think that’s always highlighted, especially just even around GW,” Fitzgerald said. “What they show it’s just not highlighted. And it’s really such a big part of like other students’ lives.”

May it Please the Court

GW might not be a sports school the way the University of Alabama is, but there are still opportunities for students to enter the sports world professionally. Abe Rothstein, a junior majoring in political science, does color commentary for GW women’s basketball on ESPN+. Rothstein said he got his start with the network after GW’s production team saw the coverage he had done for WRGW.

“So they reached out to me because they’ve seen me, they’ve seen the work I’ve done with WRGW and stuff like that, and they had asked me to join on,” Rothstein said.

Rothstein said he had not anticipated that working as a TV commentator with the GW production team would make him so passionate about sports. He said this professional experience in sports journalism has allowed him to expand his horizons in ways beyond a typical 9-to-5 job on the Hill.

“I always thought I was gonna be like a politics person moving forward, and then this all happened and now I completely rethought everything I want to do moving forward,” Rothstein said. 

Rothstein said he is thankful for this position as someone seriously passionate about sports at GW, a school that often pushes sports to the side.

“Being able to have the access as a student, it’s something that’s really cool,” Rothstein said.

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