When tasked with finding a service-learning volunteer opportunity as part of an AACC business course, Ramses Gerais chose a unique path: volunteering with the Sarbanes Center that was connecting his classmates with their dream gigs.
The AACC Sarbanes Center for Public and Community Service, named after former Maryland Sen. Paul Sarbanes, helps students gain hands-on experience. Gerais saw an opportunity. “I don’t know what made me do that,” Gerais said. “I said, ‘Hey, I see everyone is contacting your office to find other organizations, but I would actually like to volunteer with you and help students get the right match.’”
It was a go. Eighteen hours of community service that enhanced classroom learning morphed into a three-month internship. Gerais conducted outreach for the organization at events, and met with students to discuss what the center did: internships, research, travel study, service-learning and more. This experience transitioned into a business internship with Event Services.
“I started to realize the significance of helping students give back to the community. To me, I was also giving back to the community,” he said. “It was such a good experience.”
After his experience at AACC, Gerais transferred to Towson University and majored in political science. His time with the Sarbanes Center made him realize how important investing in the community was to him and how his time there had equipped him for his next step.
“With my internship, I was able to invest in my community, but also myself” by honing skills like writing and learning to communicate with confidence. “Once you put that on your résumé, that helps you. It makes your résumé stand out from the other applicants.”
Standing out helped the Glen Burnie High School graduate obtain his recent summer internship in Congressman John Sarbanes’ office. “I do a lot of communications helping constituents,” Gerais said.
“Ramses was a pleasure to have in the office,” said Fred Hassell, director of Constituent Services for Sarbanes. “He worked diligently with our staff and helped provide first-rate constituent service to residents in Maryland’s 3rd Congressional District. He also expressed a keen interest in learning about the intricacies of how a congressional office works. His professionalism and compassionate demeanor with constituents served as a model for his peers and made him a joy to work with.”
Gerais said these experiences have helped him hone in on what he wants to pursue professionally. “Definitely some kind of public service, something where I can help,” he said.
For students considering a similar path, Gerais encourages them to get engaged in events and clubs, employed on campus – or, obviously, find an internship through the Sarbanes Center. Whether service-oriented or not, internships help students participate on a broader scale.
“It’s very useful and it’s very helpful,” he said. “It doesn’t just provide you with the necessary skills, it also shows that you’re someone who actually cares about the community, and would like to give more.”