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GU Scholarship Program Creates “Ideal” Employees

Frank Hirth and GSP

Kevin Johnson, left, director at Frank Hirth and Georgetown Scholarship Program (GSP) board member, hopes to hire two more GSP students this spring to join Shebestain Palmer (C'09) at the taxation and accounting firm.

March 14, 2012 – The parent of a junior at the university says alumni of the Georgetown Scholarship Program (GSP) make ideal workers.

“When I look at the GSP students … what I saw was that GSP students are employers’ dreams,” says Kevin Johnson, director of the taxation and accounting firm Frank Hirth in New York and father of Erin (C’13). “You have kids who are really bright, really hardworking, no sense of entitlement and they just appreciate an opportunity and they take advantage of it.”

GSP, which is funded by the 1789 Scholarship Imperative, provides financial and mentoring support for eligible students with financial need.

A Privilege

The program started in 2004 after alumni offered to help Georgetown enroll and retain qualified students with financial aid needs.

One of the students Johnson hired is Shebestain Palmer (C’09).  

Palmer, who dreamed of coming to Georgetown after visiting campus the summer before his senior year of high school, says GSP helped him to get where he is today.

“When you come through GSP, you’re not given anything on a silver platter, you have to work for everything,” says Palmer, who was born in Jamaica and brought up by a single mother. “You really come to Georgetown understanding that this is a privilege, you take it very seriously.”

Encouraging Other Firms

Missy Foy (C’03), GSP program director, says Johnson has been instrumental in getting the word out about GSP students.

“As a result, we have other firms coming to us saying ‘we hear some of your students are some of Georgetown’s finest young men and women and can you put the word out,’ ” Foy says of Johnson, the GSP board’s career relations chair. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to develop a relationship with a president or CEO and Kevin is providing introductions like that.”

Johnson says he was so impressed with Palmer’s energy and work ethic that he hired two other GSP alums – Mark Valtierra (SFS’10) and Grace Long (C’11). And Alex Frawley (C’12) interned at Frank Hirth after his freshman year.

“We’re really so lucky to have had this relationship because it’s a place where our students have been so, so happy and satisfied,” Foy says.

A Strong Feeling

When Frank Hirth starts looking for six graduating college students to join the firm in May, Johnson’s goal is to hire two GSP students.

“That’s how strongly I feel about these kids,” he says.

Multiple GSP students have been hired at firms such as Wells Fargo, Pepsi and MTV and some students have served in Teach for America, Foy says.

Power of Mentoring

Palmer, who mentors GSP and New York City high school students, says mentoring is “one of the most powerful things you can do,” especially for people from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds.

“It’s taking someone and saying, ‘I’ve gone down this path before and you can too,’” he says, adding that his own mentors had a big impact on him growing up.

Johnson says Palmer has been a great role model and mentor to those just starting at the firm.

“I find that with GSP students, they really look to help the kids coming up,” Johnson explains. “And that’s certainly what Shebestain does here. He has certainly exceeded what I thought he would do.”

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