Career Day 2013: A Resounding Success!

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“I’m so glad I came!”

That’s how one scholar summed up her experience at the end of Career Day, Esperanza’s annual professional development event for scholarship recipients. This year the day-long event was held at the law offices of Covington & Burling in downtown Washington, DC—with a bonus rooftop terrace and an amazing view of the Washington Monument and city landscape.

Esperanza Board member Roman Goldstein welcomed the scholars. He shared a personal story of his immigrant parents who, both now doctors, struggled to acclimate to US culture and gain their footing within a complicated educational system. He also emphasized the value in learning skills and practices that are standard in the American workplace but hard to find in any textbook–skills that would be the focus of the Career Day program.


Throughout the day several presenters, all local professionals, facilitated engaging and interactive workshops on a range of topics, providing practical insights critical to academic and professional success. Over the course of the day, scholars learned how to make winning first impressions with résumé and cover letters, greet potential employers, practice standard business etiquette when communicating by email, dress appropriately for an interview, and even build confidence before an important meeting.

During lunch the scholars split into two groups for informal conversations with participating mentors and volunteers, who shared their educational and career paths and gave recommendations for those with similar career interests. Law school was a topic of much interest, along with nonprofit careers, medicine, social work, business, and environmental policy.

In the afternoon, scholars received the results of their Myers-Briggs and Strong Interest Inventory assessments. A career consultant helped them understand their results and how to use them. In the final workshop, Esperanza co-founder and Board member Alvaro Bedoya coached scholars on how to prepare for interviews, respond to tough interview questions, and make a good impression following an interview. At the end of the day, the scholars had an opportunity to practice everything they learned by engaging in mock interviews—with Esperanza mentors and volunteers playing the parts of their dream internship prospects.

The day ended with a celebratory dinner at Carmine’s that allowed everyone to get to know each other a little better (who knew there was a break-dancer and a poet among the scholars?). In their evaluations scholars shared that they truly bonded with the other scholars and volunteers in a way that was unexpected but significant.

Help Esperanza provide more students with college scholarships, mentorship, and professional development–donate now!

To give your time or other resources, see our volunteer opportunities or contact our volunteer coordinator at maritza.valenzuela@esperanzafund.org

Esperanza’s Board and Scholars extend their sincerest thanks to Covington & Burling
for the use of their beautiful office space!