Interview with Devon Swift

Devon Swift, Washington Mentorship student
Alumna Name
Devon Swift, WMP Alum 2008

Where's home?
Sparta, NJ- not to be confused with anything you’ve seen on the Jersey Shore. Sparta is a pretty small lake town, so I thought I'd have a difficult time moving to a city, but DC, (especially AU) gives you a perfect balance of nature and metropolitan atmospheres. When I was homesick I would go on hiking trails right next to the campus. And although I wouldn't call myself a 'city girl,' I have loved calling DC home for the past seven years.

What is/was your major?
I received my bachelor's degree in psychology and my master's degree in education.

What school did you attend?
I attended the College of Arts and Sciences.

What are you passionate about?
At AU I was definitely passionate about Ultimate Frisbee. I played on AU’s club team and it was tough work but the girls were so spirited it was hard not to fall in love with the sport. Joining a club team really changed my school experience for the better; it was like having a family away from home.

What is your career ambition?
I want to change the way that health and physical education are taught in US high schools.

What are you doing now?
I work at the World Bank Group, gaining some corporate experience before I dive into teaching.

Why did you choose WMP?
At first I chose WMP because it meant I would be at American University. With hindsight, it was just a better fit for me than anything else. With the seminar site visits it was a lot easier to stay engaged in the course topics and meet friends. And now that I've graduated I can see the benefits of the internship. Only Mentorship students are allowed to have an internship freshman year which gives you an advantage over other students applying for competitive internships your junior and senior years.

What was your internship and what did you do there?
I interned at Georgetown University training faculty fire marshals and I reconstructed the university’s Emergency Preparedness Program. I wanted this internship to network with the heads of departments at Georgetown to better my chances of getting accepted there for graduate school. I still have lunch and keep contact with my supervisors.

What was your favorite experience in the program?
Site visits are always incredible, but my favorite experience was actually a guest speaker. We had been learning about the genocide in Rwanda in my Cross-Cultural Communications [now Intercultural Understanding] course, but to hear what actually happened from someone who lived it was the most powerfully impacting experience I’d ever had in a classroom, textbooks just don’t compare.

What do you want the world to know about WMP?
It’s without a doubt better than getting regular acceptance. You get so much more out of the semester through both the seminars and internship.

What was your favorite course of study?
I absolutely loved personal finance, it walked me through employment, investing, insurance, retirement, quite literally every financial aspect of life and I feel like everyone could benefit tremendously from this course since it is directly applicable to life.

What do you do for fun in D.C. and on the weekends?
As a broke college student, what I love about DC is there are so many awesome things to do for free! The zoo is a favorite free activity of mine, and the Monuments at night is an experience all students have to have.

How did WMP change your life?
Getting a job out of college was a lot less stressful because I knew the interview process, was guided on how to create an effective resume; I had credible work experience and a competitive edge over other applicants.