Areas of Study

Krystal Johnson On Internship and Doors Opening

“When Texas native Krystal Johnson, ’14, was awarded an internship with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service’s (USCIS) human resources department, she had no idea what she wanted to become. “I was always interested in the HR field, but I wasn’t sure which specific positions would fit,” she recalled. During her internship, she had an opportunity to shadow professionals in a variety of areas in addition to human resources – communications, customer outreach, program analyst, among others. “This shadowing experience helped me recognize what I wanted to pursue, and what I didn’t.”

Her internship was extended and in the meantime, Johnson started applying to full-time jobs in the government sector. She was offered and accepted a position with the National Institutes of Health. “My internship at USCIS was my first job experience in the ‘real world,'” said Johnson. “So if you want recognition, think outside the box. Bring new and fresh ideas to the agency and be creative! Always remember to be grateful for every opportunity.”

Krystal is just one of the many students at Gallaudet who have found internships and ultimately employment through the U.S. Department of Labor’s Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP). Established in 1995, the WRP connects federal sector employers nationwide with highly motivated college students and recent graduates with disabilities for internships and permanent employment.
Although the program is national in scope, Gallaudet’s presence in the nation’s capital affords its students the unique opportunity to intern at one of the many federal agencies headquartered locally while also attending classes on campus. And, many alumni who have gone on to full-time employment at local government agencies often return to Gallaudet as part-time, evening students to pursue their graduate degrees, such as the University’s popular Master’s in Public Administration.

The application window for students to be considered for internships or employment through the WRP opens on August 24. Interviews with potential candidates take place in October and November. The Career Center helps students to prepare their application, resume, references, and to prepare for the interview. To be eligible for the WRP, applicants must be current, full-time undergraduate or graduate students with a disability, or alumni who graduated in August 2014 or later.

“We’ve seen our undergraduates and alumni benefit greatly from this opportunity in gaining meaningful employment and achieving their long-term career goals,” said Career Center Director Karen Cook. “I think there will be an increase in the number hired in the coming years with the federal government continuing its emphasis on increasing the hiring of individuals with disabilities.”

Last fall, 90 students and recent graduates of Gallaudet went through the WRP interview process, with approximately one-third receiving an internship or job offer. As the process cycle runs year-round, students may still receive offers. While the exact number cannot be determined, it is estimated that Gallaudet students make up approximately 5% of the overall number of WRP applicants that are under consideration by approximately 675 public and private sector employers nationwide.

Arthur Chan, ’09, who graduated with a B.S. in accounting from Gallaudet and is now a resources analyst with NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., lauded the program, stating, “I got my two summer internships at NASA through the WRP, which led to a permanent full-time job … working in the federal government can be very rewarding and provides opportunities to show what you’re capable of doing.”

Clayton Grossinger, ’13, majored in business administration and notes the contribution his studies at Gallaudet contributed to his success with the WRP, where he interned at the Defense Logistics Energy Agency in Fort Belvoir, Va. “Courses at Gallaudet taught me about critically analyzing problems – a skill I was able to carry over to the workplace.” His summer internship led to a full-time permanent position with the National Security Agency.

The WRP has internship and job opportunities not only in Washington, D.C. but around the nation, and with both public and private sector employers participating. For more information, visit, stop by the University’s Career Center in JSAC, Room 2221.

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