ROCK ISLAND, Ill.- Students and recent graduates from colleges across the United States are participating in what could become a life changing opportunity in the Minority College Relations Program.

MCRP focuses on getting students integrated into the federal workplace and shows them many different ways to serve the nation aside from uniformed service.

"The goal of MCRP is to provide students from minority schools with valuable work experience, an opportunity to test out federal employment, decide if working for the government is something they want to pursue, and to arm them with the knowledge and resources that will aid them in the process of applying on federal jobs," said Rebecca Peterson, MCRP coordinator.

Thirty-three interns at seven different Army installations participate in MCRP's annual summer internship program. The 10-week internship runs from June through August. Rock Island Arsenal, Ill., has 16 interns on post.

Angelica Baca, a senior from the University of Texas at El Paso, majoring in applied math and psychology, said that she knew she needed to start gaining experience in the work force.

"I had never applied for an internship before," Baca said. "When I saw this program through our school job fair, I thought it sounded like a good opportunity and decided to give it a try. That fact that it was geared toward minorities and was through the government encouraged me to apply."

Baca works in the Army Sustainment Command's resource management office helping that office get ready to implement a new financial system adopted by the Army.

Some interns come to the program with hopes of obtaining a full-time position once they complete the program. However, competition is fierce, and full-time employment hard to achieve.

MCRP is unique in that it is not just a one-time opportunity, so interns are encouraged to re-apply.

Felicia Brown, a graduate of North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro, with her degree in computer science, is doing just that.

"I decided to return because this was a great experience for me the first time and I wanted to gain more understanding of my job," Brown said.

Brown participated in the recent MCRP spring internship where she worked for the ASC information management office. This summer, she continues her work there in charge of keeping track of ASC equipment within the department.

"I hope to get the work experience I need to help prepare for other jobs that might come my way," said Brown.

For one student, this program is more than just gaining work experience. It also serves to overcome the challenges of being on her own for the first time and in a way, become closer to her mother.

"My parents served in the Army," said Jasmond Smith, a senior at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, majoring in mass communications.

"I believe this internship has brought me closer to my mom because she is a disabled veteran. Before now, I never fully understood why someone would risk their lives for complete strangers," Smith said. "Conversations that we couldn't have before, we can have now because I understand Army values, creeds and fundamentals. I have gained a tremendous amount of respect and love for my mother."

Smith works in the Joint Munitions Command human resource office at RIA. She is assigned to the improved new employee on-boarding process green belt project, creating a survey designed for new employees and their supervisors to rate how well the new employees are welcomed to RIA.

"MCRP is important because it allows me to figure out what exactly I want to do with my life," said Smith. "I would hate to waste years of college on something that I would end up hating. So, by getting this experience, I can analyze if human resources is a good fit, which it is so far."

To be eligible, interns must be a junior, senior or have graduated within the past six months from a four-year college or university that is historically an African American, Hispanic, tribal or other minority institution. Students and graduates must be U.S. citizens and pass a background check.

Other interns: John Purnell, Tougaloo College, Miss.; Thurman Sanders, Howard University, Md.; Jorge Alvarez, University of Texas at El Paso; Eric Clifton, New Mexico State University; William McKnight, North Carolina A&T State University; Richard Maskill, University of Texas at El Paso; Delilah Buenrostro, University of Texas at El Paso; LaChandra Lawhorn, Alabama A&M; Adelyn Baray, University of Texas at El Paso; Anthony Sanchez, University of Texas at El Paso; Jerry Watson, Tougaloo College; Jacqueline Choice, Fayetteville State, N.C.; Brooke Waller, North Carolina A&T State University; Carlton Curry, Tuskegee University, Ala.; Yashica Martin, Alcorn State University; John Graesser, University of Texas at El Paso; Armando Gurrola, University of Texas at El Paso; Kimberly Regensberg, New Mexico Highlands University; Kelli Raub, New Mexico State University; Dennis Askew, Howard University, Md.; Francisco Chagolla, University of Texas at El Paso; Mashio Ukegbu, Alabama A&M; Candance Davis, University of Texas at El Paso; Donovan Williams, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff; Stephen Tunnell, New Mexico State University; Carissa Davis, University of Texas at El Paso; Danielle Toste, New Mexico State University; Whitney Phillips, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff; Erica Pratcher, Alcorn State University; and Chanale Propst, North Carolina A&T State University.

For queries, contact the Army Sustainment Command Public Affairs Office at or by phone at 309-782-5421.
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Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16