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iSchoolers Bring Orange to the Red, White, and Blue of D.C.

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There are approximately 373 miles between Syracuse University and the heart of Washington, D.C. One location is famous as the national hub of professionalism and federal government and the other as a prominent research university. The locations seemed to have little in common until a bit of Syracuse University traveled to Washington, D.C. this summer to represent the School of Information Studies (iSchool) as interns in the capital city.

Employed in a range of industries, three iSchool students spent the summer working, living, and touring around the nation’s capital and surrounding area. For Sarah Grosz, Zach Wilder, and David Robusto, this summer was dedicated to new work experiences and adding a bit of orange into the epicenter of the red, white, and blue.      

iSchool Juniors who took internships in Washington, D.C.
From top: Sarah Grosz, Zach Wilder, and David Robusto.

Rising junior Sarah Grosz spent her summer around Washington, D.C. as a research analyst for the up-and-coming app developing company X-Mode Social. “I research opportunities in the mobile app market, create detailed slide decks about competitors, and write up marketing plans for apps we are anticipating to launch in the fall,” Grosz stated.

This opportunity came to her after she showed exceptional interest in the company’s flagship app and its usefulness on the Syracuse University campus. Because of her standout support as a college student, Sarah was offered an opportunity to work with the business development team on winter and summer breaks from her course study at the iSchool. 

She states that her minor in Information Technology, Design, and Startups has helped her immensely in working with a relatively new start-up. “[My] Social Media in the Enterprise and web design classes from last semester helped me plan out a few marketing plans and develop simple websites for smaller projects for the company,” Grosz said. “By having a minor in startups I've been able to apply what I've been learning about growth hacking to use.”

This summer, she enjoyed her time at the X-Mode Social office in Sterling, Virginia. “In Sterling, X-Mode is located in the basement of the AOL building that was converted into an incubator with four other startups so it feels like I'm living in the TV show Silicon Valley,” Grosz said about her summer location.           

Zach Wilder, a dual major senior with the Martin J. Whitman School of Management and the iSchool, had an equally rewarding summer experience in Washington, D.C. “I have had the time of my life working in D.C.,” stated Wilder on spending his time as a Technology Advisor Program intern for the well-established international consulting giant EY.

After attending recruiting events and an intensive interview process, his competitive internship led him to work on a data project with a financial services company in Arlington, VA. “My responsibilities vary depending on what the team needs, but my two biggest roles have been SQL code validation and diagramming system data flows,” Wilder said, naming iSchool courses IST 352 (Information Analysis of Organizational Systems) and IST 359 (Introduction to Database Management Systems) as prime sources of knowledge for his work.

Wilder enjoyed his summer in Washington, D.C. immensely, excited about the multitudes of extensive jobs, projects, operations, and companies present in our nation’s capital. Having recently accepted a post-graduation full-time position at the same division of EY, Wilder will return in June to spread more positive iSchool networking to the D.C. area.

Also spending the summer in our nation’s capital was David Robusto, a rising junior dual with the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and the School of Information Studies. “I was an intern in the Director of White House Information Technology’s office and I’m grateful for it every day,” said Robusto. “Fun fact: My contact passed my resume onto the White House without telling me and it ended up on my boss’ desk where I was fortunate enough to get an interview … but I had no idea of this possibility!”

Robusto worked in diverse fields through the summer, focusing mainly on internal security operations for a new presidential motorcade and iOS applications to assist top officials. He was amazed by the application of knowledge he learned from IST 233 (Introduction to Computer Networking) in his summer internship, stating that “…having knowledge of computer networking was essential to understanding the motorcade, which has its own internal and external communications network.”

Robusto was as equally overjoyed with his summer location as Grosz and Wilder. He was driven by the passion and energy of the city, certain that it’s not just a location deemed solely for older career politicians. “Two of the most powerful people I worked with at the White House were 27 and 28 years old,” Robusto said, likening the powerful education and well-rounded personalities needed to work in this setting to those of students in iSchool programs. “If anything, this experience has only made me appreciate the iSchool more.”

Although not working immediately together, Grosz, Wilder, and Robusto all had a chance to bring a bit of Syracuse University to the Washington D.C. working world. 

When asked about their return to the University, all three students voiced their excitement to come home to campus and build off of their summer internship experiences. As Grosz continues bringing X-Mode startup knowledge to the Entrepreneurship Club she heads at the Whitman School, Wilder completes his last year before working at EY full-time, and Robusto studies abroad in Hong Kong, it’s evident that the experience and knowledge of this summer in Washington D.C. won’t be leaving them any time soon.