The Results of Seeking Help: a Success Story
an interview with Temple University graduate, Christopher Ludwig
Christopher Ludwig, who earned a bachelor's degree in marketing from Temple's Fox School of Business in May, explains how walking into the door at DRS helped him unlock a world of opportunity in the form of two paid Federal Workforce Recruitment Program (FWRP) internships with the Department of Defense. For his "outstanding contributions" this summer, he was one of five students nationwide to win FWRP's 2010 Judith C. Gilliom Award.
Temple Times: What made it hard to seek help from DRS?
Christopher Ludwig: I didn't want people to know about my disability [auditory processing disorder, a condition that makes full comprehension of spoken language difficult]. I wanted people to see me for me, and not for the disability. Everyone wants to be accepted, and I could get away with people not knowing because you can't see my disability.
TT: What did you do during your FWRP internship?
CL: I worked at the Department of Defense Logistics Agency in Northeast Philadelphia. Two weeks into it, I was working the database systems in the subsistence department serving military bases, streamlining information. This year I had more responsibilities: talking to vendors, preparing data to brief commander. I liked how my work affected real, everyday life for a lot of people.
TT: What did you get out of the internship?
CL: It definitely helped give me vital experience, especially now that I'm applying for jobs. My resume says to an employer that I can function and communicate and be part of a business, corporate or non-profit setting. It helped me get out of my shell - that's important. And not only that, the opportunity helped me build up a "war chest" of money that I've saved up as a safety net while I search for jobs.
TT: Did you take advantage of other DRS programs?
CL: Yes! They have this thing called the Charlotte W. Newcombe Foundation scholarship. Through the Newcombe scholarship, DRS helped me with money I needed to buy a new suit for my internship interview and for work. I didn't have the finances to buy a suit; I'm not going to go to my parents for everything. Through DRS, I also wrote a grant application that helped me get an economics tutor. The combination of the Newcombe funds and DRS resources - there's no way I could've done well without that help.
TT: What would you tell students who might be reluctant to seek assistance from DRS?
CL: I would say, "You have to get out of your comfort zone. Yeah, it's going to be scary. But great things can happen. You're smart. You got into Temple. So use DRS to your advantage. Just because you learn differently or you have a disability or you're uneasy at times does not mean that you're insignificant and you cannot excel like your peers can. If you get the courage to get the help you need - if you take the step and make yourself vulnerable - there's a much better chance you'll have a better and less stressful time in college, and you'll really excel."