Reflecting on Our Resilience

Over the five years of my presidency, I’ve used this space to communicate with you about the astounding growth and many achievements of The Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars. This time, however, I want to highlight for you the incredible resiliency of our staff, our students and our organization during the many challenges 2020 brought to bear.

About 80 percent of employers who had planned to offer internships in the summer of 2020 changed their plans—including canceling their programs—according to a survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers. Yet here at TWC, each member of our organization worked tirelessly to ensure internship doors remained open for our students. You can read about these exceptional efforts—in both Academic Internship Programs and Federal Programs—beginning on page six of this report.

Beyond the pandemic, TWC re-examined the role our organization can play in addressing structural racism following the summer protests across the country after the death of George Floyd in Minnesota. We’re taking important steps toward ensuring that diversity, equity and inclusion aren’t just buzzwords but values we take action to uphold in all that we do. Please see page 10 to learn how TWC staff from all levels of our organization are making this happen.

As I step down from TWC as president, I’m immensely proud of what we have achieved together. We established a School of Record partnership with Elon University to extend credit to students from non-affiliated institutions. We increased the percentage of first-generation students to 30 percent and participants from diverse backgrounds to 40 percent. And our alumni body grew beyond 60,000 people worldwide.

I know even greater achievements will follow under the leadership of my successor, Kim Churches. Your contributions, particularly through last year’s 45th Anniversary Fund, have fueled these efforts, and your support has ensured that TWC will continue to be a leader in meeting the needs of the 21st-century workforce for years to come. I am ever grateful for your commitment to this organization in which we deeply believe. Thank you for your on-going support and friendship.

Christopher K. Norton President, 2016-2021