Elizabeth Shum ‘27 awarded DeJoy-Woś Scholarship for summer internship

Elizabeth Shum ‘27 is gaining professional experience with her first internship at the U.S. Department of Transportation in Washington, D.C. It’s an invaluable opportunity early in her Elon career, hosted by The Fund for American Studies, and funded by the 2024 DeJoy-Woś Scholarship.

Elizabeth Shum ‘27 is one of nine students chosen for the 2024 DeJoy-Woś Scholarship, funding her internship with the U.S. Department of Transportation in Washington, D.C. hosted by The Fund for American Studies.

Elizabeth Shum in front of U.S. capitol
Elizabeth Shum ’27 poses for a photo in front of the U.S. Capitol

Shum, a double major in accounting and finance, is a SafeMTS Intern with the Department of Transportation. SafeMTS, or the Safe Maritime Transportation System, is a pilot effort from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics and the Maritime Administration to improve the feasibility of ship companies reporting near-misses.

“Being brought on to the team this early in the development of the program has given me the opportunity to contribute work that will be used even after I finish the summer,” said Shum. “We have been meeting with companies and working on new developments with data resources. It’s been a really great opportunity. The Fund for American Studies program gives me an early perspective of the professional world. I am quickly picking up skills that I can use at networking events and eventually in my future career.”

A learning opportunity

The Fund for American Studies (TFAS) is an educational nonprofit that hosts academic internship programs for undergraduate and law students in Washington, D.C., international academic programs in Europe and South America, programs for high school students and teachers and fellowships for journalists and public policy professionals.

The Louis DeJoy and Aldona Woś Family Foundation has funded the scholarship for 19 years. DeJoy, an Elon trustee who has served as the 75th U.S. Postmaster General since 2020, and his wife, Dr. Aldona Woś, are longtime supporters of Elon University. To be eligible for the scholarship, students must attend a college in North Carolina or be residents of the state.

“We are proud to offer this incredible learning opportunity for nine deserving young leaders to engage in valuable leadership development and internship experiences across Washington this summer,” said DeJoy. “These students will go on to be leaders in business, public policy, law and journalism and will shape society for the better.”

Capital connections

Shum gets to experience the energy of Washington, D.C. while exploring the nation’s capital, including meeting U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy from her home state of Louisiana and getting a tour of Capitol Hill.

Elizabeth Shum stands in front Speaker Mike Johnson's door
Elizabeth Shum ’27 poses in front of U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson’s office

“People in D.C. are very open to connecting with you,” she said. “I enjoy the accessibility here. I’ve been to Georgetown a few times and around Virginia. I like to take photos, so it’s been nice to capture different scenes around the national mall and city. It’s all amazing to see in person.”

Students in the TFAS program also take two courses taught by George Mason University professors in economics and international studies. It has provided a new perspective for Shum, who is minoring in economics at Elon.

“I’ve taken a few economics classes at Elon, but not quite like the one I am taking right now. My professor in the program focuses on public policy and its incorporation in our economic structure,” Shum said. “The foreign policy class is a new experience for me because I’ve never participated in a political science or public policy class. It’s very open and discussion based.”

Dual-degree decision

Elizabeth Shum smiling in front of water
Elizabeth Shum ’27 enjoys a moment at the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C.

Originally from Shreveport, Louisiana, Shum chose Elon for its accelerated 3+1 business dual-degree program in the Martha & Spencer Love School of Business. The program allows students to earn both a bachelor’s and master’s degree (M.S. in accounting or M.S. in business analytics) in four years.

Shum quickly became involved on campus in her first year. A scholar in the Odyssey Program, Shum was elected to serve as the Class of 2027 treasurer in student government her first semester and re-elected in the spring. She also now serves as parliamentarian in the Senate and is a member of Kappa Phi Lambda Sorority, Inc.

“I remember my first months at Elon weren’t busy but, during September, it really started picking up as I became more involved with a lot of organizations,” she said. “It’s been a rewarding experience to meet university staff and campus leaders.”

Skills for the future

Shum also works as a student assistant for the Center for Engaged Learning and the Center for the Advancement of Teaching & Learning as part of the PACE Program.

“It’s gratifying to know that I will be able to continue working with them, thanks to the PACE Program,” Shum said. “The experiences I’ve had through relationships with faculty and staff members in those offices will go a long way.”

The TFAS internship is Shum’s first internship and one she values greatly, especially so early in her Elon career.

“It’s a great opportunity that I am able to intern with a U.S. agency,” she said. “I’ve been doing data analyzation and expanding my skills in Microsoft platforms. The experience is giving me a leg up and I would love to come back and get more opportunities like this one. I can only grow and get better positions from here.”