Gaining experience through internships
October 3, 2017

Honors students do not stop Defining Experience when the summer break rolls around. From working as research assistants to mentoring young campers, our students continue their engaged learning between semesters. Many take advantage of internships to explore professional fields of interest.

Senior Kadeja Abbott served as an audit intern this summer in the Richmond office of accounting firm Dixon Hughes Goodman. Networking at a social event held by the non-profit organization Partnership for the Future, she met the firm’s regional business executive, who serves on the Partnership’s board. When she told him that she was looking for an internship, he passed her resume along to the firm’s recruiters. Her personal connection smoothed Kadeja’s way to an interview for the internship, and she received an offer that day.

Kadeja says this was her best internship experience “because I was provided with all of the tools and support I needed to be successful in my role.” Before she began her work in the Richmond office, she joined several other interns for training in Charlotte, N.C. Once she began her internship, Kadeja got to know and enjoy her intern colleagues who attend other colleges and universities.

“In my position as an audit intern, I had the opportunity to audit the cash of Henrico County Public Schools,” Kadeja recalls. “It was really interesting to see how schools operate with their money, and what they purchased during the year.” Most schools operated in good standing, but one school had a fraudulent parent who served on its PTA.

“One of the biggest things I learned when auditing the schools was the matter of respect. Although the school representatives didn't know I was an intern, the fact that they knew that the auditors were coming had them treat the audit team – including me – with much respect and gratitude,” Kadeja explains. “It was then that I realized that being a CPA can really earn an individual respect in their position and it motivated me to continue my goal in obtaining the CPA,” she concludes.

Justin Yirka headshot

Senior Justin Yirka interned with the University of Maryland’s “Combinatorics and Algorithms for Real Problems,” a 10-week National Science Foundation-funded research program designed to bridge the disconnect between the theory (algorithms, probability, combinatorics) and other disciplines within computer science. Justin was one of a number of undergraduates from around the country. He worked with a professor and post-doctoral students at Maryland’s Joint Center for Joint Center for Quantum Information and Computer Science on a project that focused on quantum pure-state tomography with Pauli observables.

Senior Pooja Nanjannavar worked in New Jersey as a packaging procurement co-op at Johnson & Johnson. She met and worked with students from across the country, and travelled to Philadelphia, New York and the Jersey shore. She also attended a Dow Chemical Symposium in Midland, Michigan, “where I met with and learned from senior leaders in the company and had a blast!,” she says.

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