BID Hosts 10 Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) Interns


August 6, 2019

This summer, the DowntownDC Business Improvement District (BID) hosted 10 interns through the District’s Mayor Marion S. Barry Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP), bringing young people into the workplace as part of the BID’s Safety/Hospitality and Maintenance (SAM) ambassadors in the operations department, as well as the infrastructure, marketing and communications, economic development and finance departments.

For 16 years, the BID has served as a host employer for SYEP, which subsidizes summer work experiences in the private and public sectors for District youth ages 14-24. This annual, six-week program, is locally-funded and sponsored by the DC Department of Employment Services (DOES).

This year, the BID implemented Tuesday professional and workforce development days for SYEP interns which included career training workshops and financial literacy classes. On Fridays, interns were treated to offsite team bonding activities in DowntownDC including a visit to the Great Lawn at the National Building Museum, a Megabus sightseeing tour and more through the generous support of the National Cherry Blossom Festival, the Newseum, the National Building Museum and others.

All SYEP participants concluded their time at the BID with a formal presentation to staff on Aug. 2. 

The BID hosted four additional student interns this summer. Learn about each of the BID’s summer interns below:

Samara Albert, 16, Finance Intern (SYEP)
This summer, Samara organized statements, spreadsheets and tax forms for the DowntownDC BID’s finance and economic development teams. Her favorite subject in school is math and she has worked as an elementary school math tutor. But Samara’s true passion is dance. Samara is part of a DC dance company called EDC elements. She has performed several times in the District and is known in the studio for quickly picking up routines. 

Fun Fact: Samara has a Wheaton Terrier named Charlie Moose Albert.

Sophia Cooney, 17, Economic Development Intern 

Sophia is a rising senior at Elizabeth Ann Seton High School. During her time at the BID, she helped complete a street pole inventory, worked on database management for tax properties and support logistics for outdoor events. Sophia said she loved the hardworking, passionate spirit each person brings to the organization. “Every employee is in a good mood, even on Monday mornings. It definitely produces a community atmosphere.”  

Fun Fact: Sophia in on three varsity sports teams: crew (rowing), soccer and swimming.  

Jarvis Dickerson, 20, Operations Intern (SYEP)
Jarvis is a DC native with big dreams. He desires to one day open his own business. Jarvis has plans to use the money from hi SYEP internship to start a click funnel account to generate passive income. While he has no plans for college, he intends to always be learning. For the time being, Jarvis said he could envision himself working with the BID’s operations team as a maintenance ambassador.

Fun Fact: When he is not researching new business ventures on YouTube, Jarvis loves to play his PS4. 

Alexandra Goodnow, 20, Economic Development Intern (SYEP)
Alexandra jumped right into her summer internship with the economics team. In her six weeks at the DowntownDC BID, Alexandra did everything from surveying sidewalk cafes to memorizing building occupancy codesShe is currently a sophomore nursing major at the University of Vermont. In the future she desires to be an army nurse“I have found this experience really interesting. It has given me a new perspective of DC and a more personal connection. I never realized how much goes on in bringing business to DowntownDC,” she said. 

Fun Fact: As a child, Alexandra lived abroad for seven years while her dad was posted in Germany as a Lieutenant Army Colonel. 

Nathaniel Howard, 20, Operations Intern (SYEP)
During Nathaniel’s operations internship with the DowntownDC BID, he assisted with trash pick-up, assisting visitors with directions and requests and learned curbside clean-up, among other things. Nathaniel is a sophomore at the University of the District of Colombia studying to obtain a BA in English. He is planning to use his paycheck to buy textbooks for college.

Fun Fact: Since age 14, Nathaniel has been writing novels and plans to become an author one day. 

Daniel Jenks, 21, Infrastructure Intern  

Daniel visited every corner of DowntownDC during his time with the BID this summer as he surveyed trash cans, bike racks, street poles and publisher boxes. Dan also wrote reports and helped with event coordination. Daniel is originally from Chicago and is currently a senior at American University studying sociology. Last semester, Daniel studied abroad in India. 

Fun Fact: Daniel finished high school a semester early and lived out of his pick-up truck while working on organic farms in New Mexico, Oregon and Montana.  

Justin Jones, 21, Operations Intern (SYEP)
Justin Jones is a senior at Dillard University in New Orleans, Louisiana. He is currently studying music and specifically loves playing the piano. In the future he desires to get involved with music production or become a music teacher. 

Fun Fact: Justin is the eighth child of nine children and is an uncle to 15 nieces and nephews.  

Lamar Jones, 21, Finance Intern 

Lamar is a recent graduate from Hampton University who was a finance major and a devoted Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity member. In addition to working with the finance team, Lamar supported homeless services team by assisting at the Downtown Day Services Center. “I loved how family-oriented this internship was. Neil Albert, the CEO and President, was so approachable and allowed me to gain many different experiences, like working at The Center.” Lamar said his dream is to be a successful entrepreneur. 

Fun Fact: Lamar loves to travel and has visited Dubai, Italy and India.  

Jevon Lee, 21, Operations Intern (SYEP)
Jevon would like to work to create rap or alternative music, direct music videos and eventually direct movies. Jevon has expressed in possibly working with the BID as a maintenance ambassador and his motivation for doing so is to better connect with the city he was born and raised in. “Artists are known for the city they come from. I want to stay here and serve my city,” he explained. Jevon also says he found the classes on job training and time management very helpful.

Fun Fact: Jevon first joined the SYEP program when he was 14. 

Kenlaun Mitchell, 19, Marketing & Communications Intern (SYEP)
Kenlaun helped the  BID’s marketing team with event logistics and research. This experience was his first internship in the marketing and communications field and his first time working in an office setting. Kenlaun recently graduated from Eastern High School and his dream is attend the University of the District of Colombia to study broadcast journalism. He specifically wants to become a music journalist. He said the underlying motivation for his studies is to serve as an example to his family.

Fun Fact: Kenlaun loves the Washington Redskins. 

Kajuan Smith, 23, Operations Intern (SYEP)
Kajuan is a student at Eastern Michigan University studying product design and engineering technology. In 2016, Mayor Muriel Bowser extended the SYEP program to include 22-24-year-olds, allowing Kajuan to participate in his ninth year of the SYEP program. “The program has been helpful for me to find a part-time job when I come back home from school every summer,” he said. In the past, he interned with School TalkDC to help students with disabilities, and Greenzone Environmental Program to help with solar installations. 

Fun Fact: Kajuan is a home theatre enthusiast with a fascination for audio video equipment. He currently follows several social media pages on the topic, and wants to apply his engineering and product design major to the industry.  

Marcellus Stillwell, 19, Operations Intern (SYEP)
Marcellus is a sophomore at the University of Pittsburgh, Bradford and is studying to be a mechanical engineer. He is a lifelong DC resident and a graduate of McKinley Tech Senior High School.

Fun Fact: Although Marcellus is a focused worker, he said he has a goofy side.

Gary Tucker, 22, Operations Intern  (SYEP)
Gary is a recent graduate of Kennedy Institute high school and is a DC native. Among the BID’s SYEP interns, he quickly gained a reputation for his kindness and his willingness to help. This summer was Gary’s first experience in the SYEP program and he said he is grateful for the internship. In the future, Gary said he could see himself working as a maintenance ambassador. 

Fun Fact: Gary enjoys reading books.  

Miranda Yu, 17, Homeless Services Intern  

Miranda is a rising senior, with a heart to help. She was the BID’s first intern to serve at the Downtown Day Services Center, which opened this February. Miranda served lunch, prepared care packages, sorted donations and cleaned. She says she loved experiencing “where all the action took place,” outside of a typical office setting. After high school, Miranda plans to go to Penn State University to study business economics and social impact.   

Fun Fact: Since her freshman year, Miranda has raised money for Montgomery County Coalition for the Homeless. With this money, she and her friends visit local homeless shelters to offer kids workshops in leadership and STEM subjects.