About My Placement

The Business-Higher Education Forum is the nation’s oldest membership organization of Fortune 500 CEOs, college and university presidents, and other leaders dedicated to the creation of a highly skilled workforce.  BHEF facilitates strategic engagement between business and higher education institutions to improve alignment between higher education and workforce needs in emerging fields. 

Through its National Higher Education and Workforce Initiative (HEWI), BHEF has developed market intelligence and labor analyses, mapped skill competencies, and convened educational and corporate partners. The BHEF model of strategic business engagement with higher education moves relationship development from transactional to strategic partnerships. 

Three notable examples of the transformational projects BHEF has helped to shape include a new academic minor in data analytics at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa in partnership with the Principal Financial Group, the ACES, Advanced Cybersecurity Experience for Students, Program at the University of Maryland with support from Northrop Grumman, and an academic minor in media engineering at Stevens Institute of Technology with support from NBC Universal.

In only my third week here, I’m still learning about all the good work and where my contributions will be. 

Week 1: First Week in Washington

With eyes wide and bags packed, this New Yorker embarked on what is sure to be a grand adventure for me: my first new job in almost 20 years in a city I know little to nothing about.  After a champagne send-off from my family in Queens, my husband and I headed south, Google maps with traffic enabled on my cell. 

In a few hours we arrived at my temporary home, an old brownstone in the Adams Morgan section (AdMo so the locals tell me) of Washington DC.  While converted to apartments, the building has not lost its charm; my flat sports lots of character with wood moldings galore, two fireplaces (sadly no longer working), big bay windows offering lots of natural light, and original hardwood floors, knots and all.  This corporate rental also comes with washer/dryer, small dishwasher, and two powerful A/C units – especially important since the weather forecast for my first week was accurate: 90s and sweltering. 

After quickly stashing my things in the apartment, we ventured out on foot.  First stop was a few blocks away: the Washington Hilton for tourist pamphlets and the Metro schedule. This hotel is infamously known as the “Hinckley Hilton,” the site of David Hinckley’s assassination attempt of President Reagan in 1981. According to Wikipedia, this hotel is owned by an investment group, one of whose partners is NBA legend Magic Johnson. Sadly for the 10 minutes or so we were inside, we did not run into Magic, Pat Riley, nor any other famed Lakers from that era.  

We zigged and zagged down tree-lined residential blocks admiring the diverse architecture and small but beautiful front gardens.  In less than half an hour we found ourselves at Dupont Circle, so named for Rear Admiral Samuel Frances Dupont of the US Navy during the Civil War Era. A consultation with Wikipedia suggests a bit of a scandal with RA Dupont, which I will not share in this blog as it must first be confirmed through more reliable sources.  As our tourist brochure suggested, we stopped at the popular Bar Dupont for a cocktail. 

And so the adventure has begun!  In my first seven days, I’ve walked several miles throughout the NW part of the city, ridden three different bus lines with my new Metrocard, visited with four friends who live in the area, enjoyed meals at five restaurants, and started my Fellowship!  My personal goal during this fall semester is to learn as much as I can about the city, and enjoy what Washington DC is and has to offer.


Marianna Savoca, PhD., Director of the Career Center at Stony Brook University–State University of New York, is a Faculty Fellow this semester at the Business-Higher Education Forum

What is Faculty Fellows?

Faculty Fellows was started several years ago by the founder of the Washington Internship Institute. Her idea was to offer faculty the same kind of experience we offer students: the chance to gain professional experience in organizations in the nation's capital--an opportunity that really exists nowhere else.

This year, I resuscitated the program, as, even before coming on board as President two years ago, I had considered this program one of the most interesting and valuable opportunities available for faculty and administrators.

Once admitted to the program, Faculty Fellows intern at an organization I help them find four days out of the week. The other day of the week, we meet to discuss their work, and to meet with professionals working in the higher education field across the city, starting with our partners at the Association of American Colleges and Universities.

With us this semester, we have three Fellows who come from different perspectives (though all from the state of New York, somehow) and are doing very different work during their time here.

I hope this blog will give you insights into their experience and allow them to share what they have learned and what they hope to bring back to their campuses.

For a more detailed description of the program, please visit our Faculty Fellows page.