Mason Students Co-Op with DoD Agency

Posted: July 12, 2006 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Nicholas Zinzer

Last fall, representatives from Washington Headquarters Services (WHS), an organization within the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), attended George Mason’s 2005 Fall Job Fair sponsored by University Career Services. During the event, several Mason students were interviewed and received offers to participate in the WHS Student Career Experience Program (SCEP).

SCEP is designed to introduce students to WHS with a paid position and the opportunity for full-time employment later. According to the organization’s web site, WHS provides administrative and operational support to several DoD agencies.

Jenn Antonini, career counselor in University Career Services, helped facilitate several cooperative educational positions with WHS. Currently, 10 Mason students are in the WHS co-op program, a training program that is part of an established school curriculum, she explains.

According to Antonini, her role as a career counselor is necessary partly because federal regulations require college students who participate in a SCEP at a federal agency to enroll in that college’s co-op program to be eligible for hiring after graduation.

She says Mason career counselors check on students participating in co-op programs throughout the semester. “The counselor also does a site visit with the employer and student midway through the semester to evaluate the student’s performance and accomplishments,” says Antonini.

Bruce Baldwin, a public administration major, is participating in the SCEP program this summer. “I have learned a lot about the [military] field, since I had no previous knowledge of it,” he says.

As part of his job duties, he reviews WHS supply orders, determines their accuracy and conducts market research to find the best deal. He also solicits bids for WHS from various vendors. Once the information is collected, Baldwin reviews the bids and makes a decision for the best vendor based on Federal Acquisition Regulations and the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulations.

Baldwin says his workweek is never the same. “One day I may come in and check my mail, work on several different items at the same time, check payments on one contract while setting up a site visit for another project or get requests for quotes for another bid.”

Baldwin and other co-op participants believe the Job Fair is a vital Career Services function.

“Without the Job Fair, I wouldn’t have known about WHS, I would never have heard of this agency, and because of the Job Fair, I ended up here.”

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