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Glenn Popovics

Come on and join your fellow man
In the navy
Come on people, and make a stand
In the navy …

The Village People’s heyday was well before Glenn Popovics’ time, but just as their classic disco tune suggests, the United States Navy wanted the Beacon College junior as a new recruit.

Sort of.

Come May, Popovics, 21, a business management major from West Palm Beach, Fla., will serve his country and beef up his business acumen during a summer internship at the Naval Research Enterprise Internship Program in Orlando.

This highly competitive program connects college students with research and work experience at the Department of Navy laboratories, said Esteban Lopez, director of corporate and academic outreach at Beacon College, a nonprofit liberal arts school and America’s first accredited baccalaureate school to educate primarily students with learning disabilities, ADHD, dyslexia, and other learning differences.

The Naval Research Enterprise Internship Program aims to “provide a meaningful job experience to the students and can possible lead to employment within the Department of the Navy after graduation,” he said.

Popovics joins a select group of 733 college interns.

“His kind demeanor, coupled with an insatiable drive for success, resulted in his successful bid for the [internship],” Lopez said.

Popovics learned of the opportunity from Lopez.

Typically, the Navy seeks engineering students to man these positions, but this time business students also were among the Navy’s quarry.

The process involved an online application, an extensive background check, and a telephone interview.

“My grandfathers on both sides were in the Army,” Popovics said. His maternal grandfather “was a guard in Germany after World War II,” and his paternal grandfather “helped build the turrets during the war on the ships in the Panama Canal. I was really inspired by them, so I felt if I could get any job maybe get one that could help my country in any way.”

Several weeks later, Popovics received an email notifying him that he’d made the cut.

Ecstatic falls well short of his reaction.

“Oh my God! Out of all the candidates, I was the one they chose. I felt honored. I was like, I now finally could do something to help my country,” said Popovics, who carries a 3.9 G.P.A. “I’ve helped people before, but now I could probably help the whole country, if I’m lucky. And it really made me feel proud and very fulfilled, like I could finally do something productive with my life.”

The 10-week internship pays a $7,000 stipend. He’ll work 40-hour weeks.

Popovics credits Beacon College for preparing him to serve and compete in the business world.

In his business courses, he said, “They constantly do training exercises to build up teamwork and also leadership skills, especially in Dr. [Jamie] Fleming’s classes. He would do group projects to make sure we could work with other people and point out management tips that could help us improve upon our leadership skills. I think they’re very guiding and nurturing in that regard.”

Down the line, Popovics figures the experience he gains from his time in the navy will serve him well.

“Everyone loves people who serve their country” he said, “so if it doesn’t work there, I can definitely use it [the experience] as pointers when applying for other management positions.”