Fall 2012 Commencement Ceremony

Fall 2012 Commencement Ceremony

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Maha Neouchy
December 10, 2012

Over 450 students, who came from across the U.S. and over 17 countries, celebrated the completion of their academic internship program this fall during an hour-long commencement ceremony at the Blinken Auditorium. Students, staff members and alumni gathered to reminisce about achievements and memories made since fall interns arrived at the end of the summer.


TWC Welcomes Back Two-Time Alumnus, Jay Warren


Kelly Eaton, TWC's Senior Vice President and Chief Academic Officer, reminded interns to always "think about the lessons learned" while interning in Washington, D.C. and the "impact that this type of experience will have on you and your campus." Eaton then introduced Jay Warren, Fall 2012 Alumni Speaker and WSLS Channel 10 News Anchor, who is a two-time TWC alumnus of the 1992 Democratic National Convention and 1993 fall internship program. The time he spent at the elections was his motivation for coming back to Washington, D.C. as a Media Affairs intern at the White House. He learned one of the most important professional lessons of his life: "Being the first in the door and the last one out, working through lunch and having a good attitude will take you very far in life. No one will ever dislike you for working hard." At the end of his speech, Warren left the audience with two messages:


1. Never give up

2. Don't be discouraged by a little rejection because what one boss might not be looking for is exactly what another one is


Fall 2012 Pillar and Civic Engagement Project Awardees


Every semester, several students stand out for their accomplishments during their internships, civic engagement projects and leadership during their time in Washington, D.C. Awardees included:


  • Misha Hurd, Ford Motor Company Global Scholars intern and student at Loyola Marymount University, was recognized with the Leadership Pillar Award. Misha exemplified the definition of leadership during her internship at the White House’s Office of Presidential Correspondence. As the only intern in the Students Department, she was responsible for enlisting the support of a corps of volunteers. What made Misha a leader was her initiative to enhance the processes in place with a vision to change the system.
  • Kevin Caffrey, International Affairs Intern and student at Saint Joseph's University, was recognized with the Civic Engagement Pillar Award.  As an intern with the American-Turkish Council, Kevin learned about the Syrian refugee crisis in Turkey and was determined to spread awareness. As part of his civic engagement project, he coordinated and hosted a documentary screening of "The Suffering Grasses," and invited the film’s director, Lara Lee, and American-Turkish Council Ambassador, James Holmes, to speak to the attendees. Throughout this project, Kevin showed great leadership, initiative, and most importantly, a strong desire to make a positive change.
  • Erin Cournoyer, Law and Criminal Justice intern and student at University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth, was recognized with the Academic and Professional Achievement Pillar Award. Erin has been an exemplary intern and attended each event with a curiosity for the topic at hand. She jumped into her internship feet first, using her academic knowledge, passion and heart to be the best victim advocate possible.
  • Jordan Selfe, Law and Criminal Justice intern and student at Tiffin University, was recognized with the Civic Engagement Award for his work in the Veterans Group Project. Jordan emerged from the Veterans Affairs Civic Engagement Project as a true leader. He was instrumental in raising awareness regarding veteran’s issues and establishing a relationship between himself, his student peers and the veteran-based nonprofit organization, Team Red White and Blue. Jordan took the lead on several projects and was chosen to represent Team Red White and Blue and TWC at The Long Road Home Reception and the Military Officers Association of America's recognition dinner.
  • Córdova & Fernós Program; Boricua Decide 2012 Project. The entire group was recognized with the Civic Engagement Award. The twenty Puerto Rican students in the Córdova & Fernós Program entered the national scene with their civic engagement project this fall. They launched an unprecedented campaign to promote registration and get-out-the vote efforts to mobilize Puerto Rican in Florida for the 2012 national election. Their nonpartisan campaign, BORICUA DECIDE 2012, was strengthened by a strong social media presence and two videos targeting the Puerto Rican community in Florida. The initiative was highlighted in both national and international media.

Intern Commencement Speakers


The highlight of almost every TWC commencement are the eloquent commencement speakers. This fall was no exception. The two interns chosen to represent their graduating class included:


Together, Justin and Fiona provided just the right amount of humor and sentimental value to this semester's commencement. Both will be returning to their home institutions abroad and will be dearly missed by their peers and TWC staff.




The ceremony ended with a slideshow from events and programming over the last semester in addition to a special TWC farewell cake.



[View the  Fall 2012 slideshow on our YouTube channel]

[View photos of the event on our Flickr channel]

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