Every year, the IRC in Silver Spring hosts a refugee youth summer academy to continue students’ academic growth while school is out of session. This year, summer academy featured career days during which students explored their career goals and spoke with professionals. 

Students first met Eddie Mahoney, a head chef at a high-end steakhouse. Chef Eddie spoke with the students about the importance of following their own path. For him, that led to culinary school instead of a traditional four-year college.  

Another group of students met Danielle Morales, a freelance writer. She shared how helpful her multilingual skills are in her field, which encouraged the students since many speak more than one language. Students then met with Alexandra Melinchok, who shared her experiences as a paralegal advocating for immigrant rights and the importance of pursuing a profession you find meaningful.

Students spoke excitedly about career day, and how they could see themselves in the shoes of the professionals they met with. One middle-schooler expressed interest in legal work as she begins high school in the fall.