In 2005, Arnetta Shelton got her first job at Johns Hopkins through the university and health system's Summer Jobs Program, which offers paid internships to high school and college students. Now, 18 years later, she works as a senior manager in the Johns Hopkins Office of Government, Community, and Economic Partnerships, where she manages several Summer Jobs interns of her own.
"I never left. I've been here this whole time," Shelton jokes. "That's why I find it really important to give back to these kids and invest in their future. I know how successful this Summer Jobs Program can [be], and has been for me."
Before her experience at Hopkins, Shelton was completely unaware of what career options were available to her. Now she sees herself as a poster child for what an internship at Hopkins can do.
"The Summer Jobs Program has been instrumental in my career," Shelton says. "Honestly, it did save my life. I wasn't a product of my environment; instead, Hopkins allowed me the opportunity to be different."
This year, 491 students from Maryland, Florida, and Washington, D.C., participated in summer internships through the Johns Hopkins Summer Jobs Program. Of those, 274 worked directly within Hopkins, interning in 140 departments across the university and health system; the remaining students worked for other Baltimore employers, with their wages supported by Hopkins.
Summer interns, who ranged in age from 15 to 21, received firsthand professional experience and mentorship opportunities. They also earned $15 per hour.
This summer's program, which ran for five weeks, marked the initiative's 29th year. It also marked the first year since 2019 that the Summer Jobs Program, or JHSJP, was primarily on-site rather than virtual.
According to JHSJP Youth Program Manager Spencer Carroll, this summer's students showed a lot of enthusiasm.
"Our best metric of success comes from our interns who responded to our end-of-summer survey," Carroll says. "The results show that 95% of our interns agreed or strongly agreed with the question Have you enjoyed your internship this summer?"
Carroll also reports that 86% of respondents were interested in a future career at Hopkins, and 85% said they plan to apply to the program again next year.
One such respondent was summer intern Aquib Mokaddem, a rising junior at the University of Maryland, College Park. According to Mokaddem, raising $5,000 for the university's School Supply Drive was a highlight of his summer.
"I know when people think of internships, they think of pushing papers and getting coffee, but this is more than that," Mokaddem says. "Being able to see the impact we were able to create because of our job was really, really heartwarming."
Intern Da'Nia Anderson, a rising sophomore at Bard High School Early College in West Baltimore, agrees, adding how grateful she was to learn more about future career options.
"Our supervisors have been amazing with helping us build connections," Anderson says. "Working here has helped me realize more of what I want to pursue in the future."
Both Mokaddem and Anderson plan to apply again to the Summer Jobs Program next year and encourage other students to do the same.
As for Hopkins departments interested in hiring interns through the program, Shelton strongly recommends taking the plunge.
"This isn't babysitting," she says. "It's a true investment in our future workforce."