Winter 2013| Posse D.C. Quarterly


Summer Leadership Award Recipients Span the Globe Exploring Careers

Gabriel Parker (UW-Madison Posse 2) with WorldTeach students in Manta, Ecuador.

During the summer of 2012, eight Posse D.C. Scholars interned in Ecuador, Ghana, Bangladesh, New York City and the District with the support of the Posse Summer Leadership Award (PSLA), which provides funds to Scholars with unpaid internships. The 2012 PSLA recipients worked in fields as varied as fashion, education and neuroscience.

Grinnell College sophomore Opeyemi Awe gained important perspective during her internship with Challenging Heights, a community-based organization that runs education and economic empowerment programming to improve the lives of young people in Ghana affected by trafficking and forced labor.

“It was an amazing opportunity to do global development work—which was my goal going into it—while also witnessing how real people live and struggle without basic human rights like education,” says Ope. 

Motivated by what she learned about the devastating impact of education system failures in Ghanaian communities, Ope plans to use her future law degree to help push the education agenda further in Ghana and other African countries.   

Gabriel Parker, a junior at University of Wisconsin-Madison, taught English to underserved children in Manta, Ecuador, with WorldTeach, a nonprofit devoted to enhancing the level of education in developing countries.

“Posse afforded me an opportunity that was enriching on both a professional and personal level,” says Gabriel. “Students often asked questions about the United States, so I engaged in a cross-cultural exchange using both American and Ecuadorian learning materials.”

Gabriel was incredibly inspired by his work in Ecuador and looks forward to future opportunities to return to Latin America and continue the invaluable experience of living and working abroad as a Foreign Service officer one day.

Georgetown University’s Laboratory of Brain Injury and Dementia welcomed Andrew Alikhani, a Lafayette University sophomore, to their lab this past summer. Andrew worked with Dr. Mark Burns whose research on traumatic brain injuries, including concussions and their link to Alzheimer’s disease, has created a buzz in the neuroscience community.

“Finishing this summer experience helped solidify my goal to work as a neurosurgeon,” says Andrew who learned Dr. Burns’ groundbreaking technique of analyzing neurons after concussions.

These experiences and others like them are at the core of Posse’s Career Program. Exploring career paths, doing research, taking action and giving back are all important steps in helping Scholars determine how they will contribute and become leaders in their respective fields after college.

View other stories in the Posse D.C. Quarterly