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DC Summer Institutes: An Introduction to College Life, Career Interests, and DC

Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Marymount University’s DC Summer Institutes in Criminal Justice and International Business recently wrapped up their two-week inaugural sessions and, by all accounts, they were a “capital” success.

The Institutes gave rising high school seniors a taste of campus life and the opportunity to earn three college credits by taking a course in either Criminal Justice or International Business. The students also benefited from one-of-a-kind field trips that took advantage of Marymount’s location adjacent to the nation’s capital. From the National Museum of Crime and Punishment to embassies, the Lockheed Martin Corporation, the Newseum, and the U.S. Capitol, the young people had a whirlwind introduction to a field of interest and the resources of Washington, DC.

They arrived with career goals ranging from FBI agent, forensic psychologist, and judge to CPA and CEO. Hailing from northern Virginia to as far away as New York, Georgia, and Puerto Rico, the Institute participants quickly connected with one another. Kaitlyn Casey of Venice, Florida, says, “This was a great experience. I met new people who became my friends in just a couple of days and whom I never would have met if I hadn’t come to this class.” Max Faucher of Ellicott City, Maryland, echoes Kaitlyn’s sentiments, noting, “Both groups really got along well. In fact, I would have enjoyed more time to just hang out together in the evenings.” Definitely, shades of what college will bring!

The intense, three-credit, two-week courses provided a real taste of the college experience. Both the Criminal Justice and International Business courses combined lectures and guest speakers with corresponding field trips.

Dr. Stephanie Ellis, assistant professor of Criminal Justice, says, “My objective was to give the students exposure to both the academic and the practical side of each of the components of the criminal justice system — law enforcement, the courts, and corrections.”

For the International Business course, Dr. Soumya Sivakumar, assistant professor of Marketing, and James Ryerson, dean of Marymount’s School of Business Administration, designed the curriculum to touch upon many components of the global economy, with a focus on international economics, management, finance, and marketing, as well as government-to-government agreements that facilitate the free flow of trade. And by all accounts, the students in both courses found the subject matter “awesome.”

The curriculum for the Criminal Justice program included lectures by federal and state law enforcement officials at different stages of their careers. The students could really relate to DC Metropolitan Police Officer Patrick Loftus, who spoke to them about drug enforcement and happens to be a Marymount senior with two years of police experience under his belt! Judge Karen A. Henenberg of the Arlington General District Court also shared her perspective of the criminal justice field. Field trips to the Arlington District Court, a juvenile detention facility, the Drug Enforcement Agency Museum, and the National Crime and Punishment Museum provided additional insight.

Matt Commins of McLean, Virginia, remarks, “The theories of crime were very interesting. Most importantly, I came to realize that the reasons behind crime aren’t so easy to determine and, further, that there is no one theory that describes crime. I am interested in law, and this course got me off to a good start.”

Similar comments were offered by students in the International Business class. Brian Donovan of Burke, Virginia, says, “I found the entire course to be eye-opening. I had no idea what the field of international business had to offer, much less any idea if it was for me. It was a great experience! The course gave me a new perspective on the world around me.”

Commenting on his favorite activities, Brian adds, “In class, I enjoyed the role-playing we did as trade representatives for fictitious countries. My favorite field trip was the visit to Lockheed Martin.” Max Faucher also gives the thumbs up for that experience, saying, “Our tour guide described how he had worked on the development of an IED (improvised explosive device) jammer that will block the signal from the bomb when a truck runs over it. That’s really important and also really cool cutting-edge technology!“

The business students also enjoyed visits to the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia and the Embassy of India, to learn about international trade, as well as the port of Baltimore and Reagan International Airport, to see the nuts and bolts of international transportation.

The two-week Institutes concluded with group presentations in both courses, which also gave the high school students insight into the time management needed for college life. Aaron Trevors of Doyleston, Pennsylvania, notes, “The activities during the morning and afternoon left us so tired that it made it difficult to do the homework!” But they managed and did well.

As the Institutes ended, all of the students felt that their time at Marymount had been worthwhile. Some have not yet decided on their college majors or specific career goals, but the Institutes certainly gave them food for thought. Matt Page of Fayetteville, Georgia, points out, “This experience got me even more interested in the criminal justice field. All the guest speakers gave me information that I can use to decide which particular career to pursue.” For others, it reinforced big dreams. Elizabeth Field of East Hampton, New York, asserts, “My goal is to become a CEO at a major corporation. I hope to work internationally, and being at Marymount really showed me that this is what I want to do with my life.”

– The International Business Institute students with Professor Don Lavanty (far right) in front of the U.S. Capitol

PHOTO 2 – DC Metropolitan Police Officer Patrick Loftus, a Marymount senior, explains drug enforcement policies to the Criminal Justice students.

PHOTO 3 – Max Faucher (right foreground) and fellow International Business students take in the sights of the Capitol Rotunda.

PHOTO 4 – The Criminal Justice Institute students with Dr. Stephanie Ellis, assistant professor of Criminal Justice, at the Courthouse Metro stop outside the Arlington District Court, where they observed trials and met with Judge Karen Henenberg