Sweating it Out at Work

Sweating it Out at Work
Dina ElBoghdady

Every year, the Community Engagement and Experiential Learning (CEEL) office places select GDS students in internships that provide them with meaningful work experiences the summer before their senior year.

In 2023, the office connected 47 students with organizations across the DC region, a record number. The phenomenal results are in large part due to the efforts of alumni and parents of current or former GDS students who work at host organizations. We want to thank everyone who has contributed to the program’s success for giving back to GDS in this valuable way.


WILL SUTER ’02 has hosted GDS students for the past three years at All Things Go, the DC music festival that he co-founded with friends in 2014. “I’m so happy to offer GDS High School students exposure to the music industry, which is something I wish I had when I was in the same position two decades ago,” Will said. “We’re not New York, Los Angeles, or Nashville. But there’s a tremendous amount of traditional music based in DC. Being able to provide students with experience and mentorship locally has been really cool.”

JOSH REYNOLDS ’24 wants to pursue a career in music, perhaps singing or working in the industry’s business side, so he was thrilled to land this internship. And the line-up for this year’s festival at Merriweather Post Pavilion included some of his favorite artists, including Lana Del Ray and Beabadoobee. “I gained so much insight into how record labels and record companies operate and about how the venue side of things works, like what it takes to book artists,” said Josh, who helped explore how to effectively promote the festival through social media. “I’m a huge fan of All Things Go, and I’m so happy with this experience.”

Dave (right) and Shaan at a worksite in Anne Arundel County.


DAVE FISCHER ’01, a senior project manager at SEI Architects, credits GDS for teaching him the critical thinking and time management skills that served him well professionally. “When I saw the email about the need for internship [host organizations], I thought it was a great opportunity for me to give back to a community that meant so much to me,” Dave said. SEI is a decades-old firm that specializes in educational design, mainly school buildings in the K-12 public school market throughout Maryland. Given that architecture is a very specialized field, Dave said, “I envisioned a shadow-type experience for someone who wants to learn about this type of work.”

SHAAN DESAI ‘24 joined Dave on site visits, including one that involved adding a classroom to Crofton Middle School in Anne Arundel County. Shaan found many similarities between the firm’s design and building process and the work he’s done on the GDS robotics team, which intrigued him. “There’s a lot of collaboration and brainstorming, which I really enjoy,” he said. “Even the software is similar.” An added bonus was the face time Shaan got with people in the office, from recent architecture school graduates to highly experienced architects. “I got to ask them about their college majors, whether they enjoyed their work, how long it took them to find a job,” Shaan said. “The experience was great. Everyone has been super nice and welcoming.

Lucy and Juju testing peanut butter ice cream bar recipe.


LUCY DANA ’09 needed another set of hands to help manage One Trick Pony, the peanut butter company that she launched in 2022 with her brother Andrew Dana ’04 and his wife Dani. (Andrew and Dani were busy running their other endeavors–Call Your Mother Deli and Timber Pizza.) Finding an intern made sense, and turning to GDS was a no-brainer. “Having gone there myself, I knew an intern from GDS would be a self-starter, a hard worker, and a fast learner who would not need me to hold their hand,” Lucy said.

JUJU JINICH ’24 said that he was attracted to One Trick Pony because it combined two of his top interests: food and entrepreneurship. The company sells its peanut butter in stores and online. A typical day can consist of creating recipes for Instagram, responding to online customer inquiries, and cold-calling stores to promote the product. Juju did all of the above as well as research on which stores to pitch based on their proximity to One Trick Pony’s online customers. (Lucy adds that Juju closed some deals!) “I’ve done a ton of outreach to individual stores,” Juju said. “Lucy has taught me a lot. ...She really wanted me to get as much out of the experience as possible.”

Interested in hosting a GDS intern for summer 2024? Email CEEL Office Director Leigh Tait at ltait@gds.org

Sweating it Out at Work
  • Community Engagement