August 22, 2017

Scholar Voices: My summer internship with the Tiger Woods Foundation

Earl Woods Scholar Christine Nzokou
Earl Woods Scholar, Christine Nzokou, Class of 2020

My name is Christine Nzokou and I am an Earl Woods Scholar for the class of 2020 studying at the University of Maryland, College Park. With my freshmen year ending and the summer coming, I was offered an internship position with the Tiger Woods Foundation (TWF), which I gladly accepted. The organization has done a lot for me in reaching my goals, and I wanted to pay it forward and hopefully inspire other students.

During my summer internship, I worked alongside Eric Moore, TWF’s senior director of programs, and Mehrab Sarwar, a program coordinator with the Earl Woods Scholar Program. My main job was to assist them in any way, whether it was organizing and preparing for certain programs to helping students in a more academic setting.

During my internship, I met the latest cohort of D.C. Earl Woods Scholars that will soon start their senior year of high school. I loved their ambition and was impressed by their extensive plans of going to other countries like Nicaragua and Morocco, as well as their internships and enrollment in pre-college programs at prestigious universities. Based on their knowledge and determination, I did not think I would have a lot to tell them, but I was very excited to learn that my experiences in just one year of college could ease their anxious minds and help them feel better prepared.

I also saw a lot of myself in them. Most were like me and had no idea where they wanted to go and were unsure of many things. The best advice I could give them was that most schools share academically similar characteristics, but the major differences lie in the other social aspects. I chose my school because I wanted to go to a large, sports-loving school. I wanted to get together with friends and paint my face for games. I also wanted to live in a city with all four seasons and a diverse population. I think the characteristics in the school and how comfortable we feel matter just as much as the academic aspect.

During my summer internship, I had the opportunity to assist at the TGR Learning Lab’s tent at the Quicken Loans National tournament. At the tent, guests had a chance to take an online campus quiz offered via TGR EDU: Explore. This was a great way to expose students who are applying to college to the various experiences they might have based on what they are looking for in a school.

TGR Learn Lab tent at the Quicken Loans National
Christine helped greet fans at the TGR Learning Lab tent at the Quicken Loans National

Along with the college quiz, the tent at the Quicken Loans National offered many STEM-based activities for guests to explore. It was a great experience working with kids of all ages and watching them get excited about things that are educationally based. What I found most impressive was watching kids as young as 8-years-old make 18-inch towers only using popsicle sticks, small cubes and cups. This reminds me how advanced the next generation will be through learning from older ones.

Throughout my internship, I had the bonus of spending extra time with my mentor, Rick Singer, who is also the CEO of the Tiger Woods Foundation. He has exposed me to many outlets that have increased my knowledge about internships within the medical field and connected me to many resources within the University of Maryland. Through his encouragement, connections and support, I was able to participate in a shadowing program at a nearby hospital and tutor students at a nearby middle school.

Through the Tiger Woods Foundation, I have gained not only financial assistance as an Earl Woods Scholar, but I leave my summer internship having cultivated long term relationships and knowledge that will lead me towards greater avenues in life.

Redefining what it means to be a champion.