Lerner Student Ebenezer Antwi Selected for Prestigious Internship Program

Ebenezer Antwi photo at summer internship.

Operations management major Ebenezer Antwi often doesn’t read email newsletters, much less scroll all the way to the bottom and click links. But one day last year, for some reason he opened a newsletter, kept reading through it toward the end, and clicked on a link about an internship opportunity called the Washington Program.

Antwi is finishing up his sophomore year at the University of Delaware’s Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics. He hopes to find a career in supply chain management and company leadership.

The Washington Program is a two-year summer internship program run by the Institute for Responsible Citizenship, with the goal of boosting young Black men, helping them make valuable connections in the government and corporate spheres and achieve success.

After the email link caught Antwi’s attention, he applied. Now, he’s one of only 12 students from around the country selected to participate in the Washington Program. He’s also the first student ever selected from UD since the program began accepting students in 2003.

“I created the Institute to provide some of the most talented African American male students the kind of support that many others in our society take for granted,” said William A. Keys IV, founder and president of the Institute for Responsible Citizenship, in a press release announcing the 2024 cohort.

In his application, Antwi emphasized the way his immigrant experience could bring a different perspective to the program. At age 7, he moved to North Carolina from Ghana with his family, and then from there to Smyrna, Delaware at age 11.

A first-generation college student, Antwi picked up a sense of the importance of hard work from his parents. “You feel like you have this opportunity, so you really have to build on it and make sure that you’re not wasting it.”

In his first year at UD, Antwi was a criminal justice major, but didn’t feel it was a good fit. Then he tried engineering, and nixed that too

Antwi is highly involved on campus. He has served as a student advisor for Delaware College Scholars, has also held leadership positions on the Cultural Programming Advisory Board and the Lerner Student Advisory Board, and spent time in an internship at the Biden Institute. He likes planning and logistics and hopes to someday land a leadership role at a company where he can help make important decisions, so operations management is where he found his niche.

He took his time on his application to the Washington Program, wanting to make sure it was polished.

“I knew that if I applied and got in, it would change the trajectory of my life,” he said.

With the stakes so high, and the odds of success so low, he felt the pressure in the interview. Afterward, he realized his shirt was damp with sweat.

Humility is an important value to Antwi, and he found it challenging to sell himself and his attributes in the interview process. He had to learn to embrace his strengths and emphasize them.

For the second interview, Antwi was surprised by a phone call “out of nowhere,” leaving him without the time for a careful, polished presentation. He managed to think on his feet and impress his interviewers, though.

The program begins in June and runs through July. In the first year, according to the institute, students focus on classes, internships and connections, while the second year’s focus is on professional and personal development, mentorship, and preparation for further education.

For his internship, Antwi will be working with Shop Made in DC, which promotes local artisans and manufacturers in the city. He’ll get to work with executives on streamlining production, analyzing industry trends, and building partnerships, he says.

“I felt warm at that time,” Antwi said of finding out he’d been picked for the Washington Program. “Because it was like, ‘Wow, I made it, 1 out of 12 … they saw something in me that I had to bring out of myself, but was always there. So that was a great feeling.”

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