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One Fine Day for Students and Alums in “Intern for a Day” Program

One Fine Day for Students and Alums in “Intern for a Day” Program

Carlos Acosta & Zen Gordon

By Sala Levin '10

Zen Gordon ’26 might only have been an intern in the courtroom of the Hon. Carlos F. Acosta ’85, M.A. ’91 for a day, but the seven back-to-back cases he saw–plus a tour of the complex and some lunchtime legal debriefing–left him feeling like he’d taken a crash course in the inner workings of the juvenile court system.

The University Career Center’s Intern for a Day program offers University of Maryland students the chance to spend a day with an alum, getting an inside look at what day-to-day working life is like for professionals in a range of careers. For volunteer alums, it’s an opportunity to provide a dose of mentorship to undergrads, plus build a network of new talent.

“I talk a lot with them and get their perspectives on what’s going on with their peer group and what they’re interested in,” said Acosta. “Some of my favorite postings have been as a juvenile judge, so it gives me an insider look at the younger group of folks to see where they’re coming from.”

Acosta & Hernandez

Brandon Hernandez ’23 said that his day with Acosta helped clarify his interest in the legal field. His curiosity was piqued enough that he asked Acosta to consider allowing him to return for a month-long externship over the summer. Acosta agreed, and during that time encouraged Hernandez to pursue other professional opportunities in law.

Earlier this year, when Hernandez applied to several law schools, he asked Acosta to review one of his more personal essays. “The only person I trusted with that was Judge Acosta,” Hernandez said.

For Acosta, the program is a way to give students some of the guidance he lacked when he was a college student. “My dad and his brothers were all engineers. I didn’t personally know any lawyers,” he said. “I’m hoping to give the opportunity to kids that I didn’t have: to get started earlier, meet people and establish their network early."


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