By Alexis Neely
The DowntownDC Business Improvement District (BID) hosted six interns this summer, all of whom contributed to the BID‘s mission by assisting various departments.
Three of this year’s interns were selected through the Mayor Marion S. Barry Summer Youth Employment Program (MBSYEP), an initiative sponsored by the Department of Employment Services (DOES) which offers DC youth ages 14 to 24 access to summer jobs in both private and government sectors.
The BID has participated in the SYEP program for 15 years and was featured in the Washington City Paper in 2016, the same year former SYEP intern Ronella Williams was awarded the DOES Outstanding Youth Award.
The program provides an enriching six-week experience to participants, and has led to full-time employment at the BID. After working with the operations department in the summer of 2016, former SYEP intern Timothy Bolden was extended full-time employment as a DowntownDC maintenance ambassador.
This summer, the BID also hosted three college interns outside of the SYEP program. Read below to learn about each of the 2018 interns.
Amir Anson, 18, Homeless Services (SYEP)
Amir spent his summer researching homeless services systems in other areas. Amir said his experience at the BID provided him with new knowledge of the city and homelessness and also gave him an appreciation for working in an office and having his own desk. This year marked Amir’s fourth year participating in the SYEP program. In the fall, Amir will attend Roanoke College to major in business administration and minor in computer science.
Fun Fact: Amir loves baking and wants to open his own bakery one day.
Montezz Green, 19, Operations (SYEP)
This summer, Montezz worked with the BID’s Safety/Hospitality and Maintenance ambassadors to keep the streets of DowntownDC clean and assisted in setting up logistics at BID events. Montezz said working with the team taught him a lot about being responsible, respectful and trustworthy. Montezz has participated in SYEP for the past five years. He plans to attend George Mason University.
Fun Fact: Montezz is athletic. His favorite sport is basketball.
Christian Sutton, 21, Finance (SYEP)
Christian returned to the BID for a second summer this year. His duties in the finance department included file maintenance, document organization and inventory. He said working with the finance department improved his attentiveness, productivity and efficiency. He has been participating in the SYEP program since he was 14. Christian attends the University of the District of Columbia, where he majors in business administration. In the future, he hopes to own his own youth center and continue his passion of spoken word poetry.
Fun Fact: Christian wears a wristband that reads “Work Hard, Stay Positive,” a motto he lives by.
Jong Lee, 22, Infrastructure
Jong worked to account for and catalog all essential public space infrastructure. Jong spent most of his time outside of the office, documenting the BID’s trash cans, recycling bins and bike racks for an accurate inventory and documentation of what required repairing. Although he’s been living in DC for almost four years now as a student at American University, Jong said his time at the BID offered him a new perspective of the city and valuable office experience. After obtaining his degree in political science and national security, Jong plans to go to officer candidate school in the Navy where he is currently enlisted.
Fun Fact: Jong was born in Argentina and his first language is Spanish.
Ronella Williams, 24, Economic Development/Finance
Originally an SYEP participant, Ronella has been interning with the BID’s economic development department each year since 2014. She was responsible this summer for surveying retail spaces around the BID’s 138-blocks, sidewalk cafes, and completing data entry based on economic research. This summer, she also assisted the finance department with billing. Ronella said her experience at the BID has taught her professionalism and how to operate various computer software. She is due to obtain her degree in criminal justice at Bowie State University in December. She’s interested in forensic science and hopes to one day be an evidence technician.
Fun Fact: Ronella loves to travel. Her favorite place she has visited is the Bahamas, and her second favorite is Puerto Rico.
Stephania Valencia, 25, Marketing & Communications
Stephania this summer assisted the marketing and communications department with planning and staffing for summer events, preparing marketing collateral for tabling, conducting research on vendors, assisting with photography and social media and informing DowntownDC stakeholders about the BID and its initiatives. She was a key logistics planner for the BID’s World Cup event on Freedom Plaza and helped each week to make DowntownDC Summer Flicks, DowntownDC Live and Co-Working with Comcast a success. Through her internship this summer, Stephania gained real-life professional experience, as well as skills in writing and Adobe Creative Suite programs. She has one year remaining to complete her B.A. in Marketing at the University of Maryland, and hopes to begin a Master’s program. Eventually, Stephania would like to pursue a digital marketing career.
Fun Fact: Stephania is originally from Colombia. She enjoys learning about other cultures and is currently trilingual – she speaks Spanish, English and Romanian.