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Student Profiles Folder

Profiles of Liberal Arts majors participating in a variety of enrichment experiences, such as internships, education abroad programs, for undergraduate research.

Marta Millar

COMM 419 H World Media Systems
Up one level
Marta Millar

Paterno Fellow
Major: History, German, International Relations
Minor: French, International Studies
Hometown: State College

How did you learn about this opportunity?

Dr. Stoller originally spoke about this course and the embedded study abroad during SHO time, Schreyer Honors College Orientation, for the class of 2018. I then attended an information session advertised for in the Schreyer Honors College weekly newsletter, which explained more about the class and the embedded travel component.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

My class travelled to South Africa over spring break to learn about the media system there. We met with a number of different parties, including a communications professor from the Witwatersrand University, communications officers from the US Consulate, the director of the United Nations Information Center in Pretoria, and various members of the media. These members of the media included SABC, Radio Pretoria, and Jozi FM. We sat in on the editorial staff meetings of the Sun and the Afrikaans newspaper Die Beeld, as well as tour their headquarters. We also met with Media Monitoring Africa, an NGO which assess the ethics of different papers and their content, and during a lunch I got to talk to the head of this organization at length and hear his fascinating views on South African, Zimbabwean, and American politics. Between meetings we visited several prominent South African landmarks like the Voortrekker Monument, Freedom Park, Soweto, and Nelson Mandela's house. This trip gave me amazing insight into how different factions of the South African media function. We also received incredible insight into how the media, and the country of South Africa as a whole, have developed since the fall of apartheid. Many of the speakers we were in contact with lived under the apartheid regime in South Africa and could provide first-hand accounts of that era.

"This trip gave me amazing insight into how different factions of the South African media function." 

How did this experience impact you academically?

This class provided an interesting crossover between two of my majors, history and international politics. Learning about the media system in South Africa before, during, and after the apartheid era required critically thinking about the historical and political context. Analyzing the South African media with regards to our own media system also helped me shape a global perspective and provided more insight into my own culture and society.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

I am extremely interested in working either for the US State Department or the United Nations after I graduate, so visiting both of these places while abroad was a valuable experience. Additionally, my dream job working for the State department would be in the publication / communication field, so this trip was extremely valuable to me in building a sense of what that could be like in another society other than the US media. It gave me a greater sense of the different ways news and information move around the world, and how things like politics and economics can shape this flow of information.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would definitely recommend this experience to others. The close nature of the class provided us amazing and intimate opportunities to act with some of the most important people in the various branches of the media, and gave us incredible insight into their philosophies and challenges.

Skylar Korek

The Clinton Foundation
Up one level
Skylar Korek

Major: Psychology (Neuro)
Minor: N/A
Hometown: Scarsdale, NY

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I found The Clinton Foundation through a mutual friend, and read up about the organization online. After doing some research I applied on the website and got the internship.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

At The Clinton Foundation I learned a lot. My assignments included researching various topics regarding global health, economic and workforce development, sustainability and an array of other topics on the world’s largest issues. I met some extraordinary people at the foundation, and built a great network while there.

How did this experience impact you academically?

The Clinton Foundation helped me to prioritize my workload. On any given day at the Foundation I would have between one and 10 assignments. Clearly, getting 10 large assignments done in an eight hour work day is near impossible, so I learned how to prioritize my tasks. I also learned a great amount on how a large philanthropic organization is run. Lastly, I was expected to deliver on my work. I was given work that needed to be presented to other staff members in a clear and concise manner. This was challenging and yet rewarding.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

In the future I hope to attend medical school , and become a surgeon. While the Clinton Foundation didn't impact my plans, it did open me up to a number of organizations I am interested in. These organizations include NIH, NIM, CDC and many other public health organizations that I wouldn't have known had intern programs without the Clinton Foundation. The experience this past summer did help me narrow down what I do and do not want to be doing in the future, working in a cubicle being one of the things I do not want to do.

The experience this past summer did help me narrow down what I do and do not want to be doing in the future

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

Yes, absolutely. The Clinton Foundation internship is structured unlike any other internship position. On day one you are given a daily schedule for the entirety of the summer. Speakers are brought in to lecture on various topics, supervisors and coaches are provided one on one to interns, and a network of 80 amazing interns is a feat in and of itself.

Abigail Kennedy

IDEAS-AVANCSO University of Arizona
Up one level
Abigail Kennedy

Paterno Fellow
Major: English Literature and Secondary English Education
Minor: History and Latin American Studies
Hometown: Malvern, PA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I knew that I wanted to study in Guatemala because my Schreyer thesis focuses on Guatemala. So I talked with Kate Manni in the Education Abroad office about programs to the country and since we do not have a program, she recommended this one through the University of Arizona.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

During the weeks I would take classes in Antigua, Guatemala. On Tuesdays and Wednesdays, I interned at Los Patojos, an alternative charter school in Jocotenango. On Tuesdays I taught English to teens and young adults. On Wednesdays I taught creative writing and art in Spanish to ten through twelve year olds. On the weekends, our program would often take us around the country to national landmarks and cultural sites as a part of our classes. For my Anthropology and Sociology class, I wrote a research paper in conjunction with my Schreyer thesis work. This paper was on indigenous people in the military and civil self-defense patrols during the worst period of genocide of indigenous people (1978-1983) in the thirty-six year Guatemalan civil war.

How did this experience impact you academically?

The trip was absolutely incredible and supported me in all of my academic and career goals. Working at Los Patojos gave me more experience as a bilingual teacher, which is one of my eventual goals. I got a better sense of what it means for kids from places considered "disadvantaged neighborhoods" to succeed in school. For both my education and creative writing career aspirations, learning more about the cultures of Guatemala and larger, the cultures of Central America, was crucial. Through my classes I was able to study and research more about periods of the Guatemalan Civil War that I couldn't have accessed in the United States. Famous social science, literary, artistic, and historical speakers came to our classes every week to discuss their specialties, which was both immensely helpful for improving my understanding of the country in terms of my undergraduate thesis and immensely inspirational just as someone who loves learning.

The trip was absolutely incredible and supported me in all of my academic and career goals. 

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

While this trip did not change my career goals, it did certainly reinforce them and better prepare me for them. I've always wanted to be a teacher and for the past four years I've wanted to work specifically with English Language Learners (ELL students). In Guatemala I gained so much insight into what the lives and backgrounds of students who want to migrate to the US are like. Although I know I'll have students from all around the world, this trip taught me how to notice the intricacies of cultures different (and similar) to my own. This trip gave me so much firsthand experience in the country and the culture that I could never have researched remotely from the U.S.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would definitely recommend this trip to Liberal Arts students who want an active study abroad experience. Students could take a variety of classes while also completing an internship. This trip is for people who want to push themselves out of their comfort zones a little, have adventures, and learn a lot. I fell in love with this country because of this trip and I cannot recommend it enough.

For more information on global experiences for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.

Luiza Lodder

Cengage Learning
Up one level
Luiza Lodder

Paterno Fellow
Major: English
Hometown: Brasilia, Brazil
Chapel Executive Intern

How did you learn about this opportunity?

Thanks to a networking contact that my mother made while on a business trip, I was put in touch with an executive from Cengage Learning and scheduled a phone interview with him and sent him my resume.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

For ten weeks, I was a content development intern for Gale, which is a division of Cengage Learning. Gale publishes educational materials and resources for students of all ages. In fact, many of the online databases I use through Penn State's library system for my research come from Gale. I was placed in the Boston office, but my team and supervisor were located at Gale's headquarters in Detroit. Thus, much of the communication and cooperation was virtual, conducted through skype meetings, phone conferences, and emails. This aspect allowed me a great deal of independence, which I enjoyed. Because of my English major and my interests, most of my work involved Gale's literature databases and their maintenance and upkeep. This entailed updating author birth dates/death dates, inserting relevant information such as recent prizes won or books published, and uploading themed book lists into a contemporary literature database. I was also doing similar tasks with educational databases geared towards Middle and High School audiences. For my final project, I wrote 40-word blurbs for each of the literature databases' most commonly searched authors and works.

How did this experience impact you academically?

I can think of two major ways this experience has been relevant to my academic life. First, my involvement with the literature and educational databases gave me a backstage glimpse at everything that goes into running the resources that students, professors, and researchers use. As an English major, I did not even know that some of the resources I use to do research for essays were created and curated by Gale (one example is the MLA International Bibliography). In this position, I was able to fully appreciate the value of these resources and I also lamented the fact that many students are still unaware that they exist or do not use them. My second observation relates to my studies as an English major. My final project, wherein I had to write short, introductory blurbs describing the 100 most searched authors and works, doubled as an intensive introduction to a varied selection of the most important names and titles in all of literature, Western and beyond. While by no means comprehensive, the project introduced me to a wider range of classic authors and texts than any English literature survey class has done so far. This knowledge can only benefit me in the future.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

Going into this internship, my aim was to explore career options other than teaching or being a full-time writer. I wanted to scope out the publishing industry, and experiment with jobs in the private sector. When I started working at Gale, I adapted instantly to the routine of office life and appreciated the company's casual, welcoming atmosphere. I learned that I was by no means unsuited to a job such as this one, and that a job guided by a mission like Cengage's (characterized by a commitment to learning and education) would certainly be satisfying for me. However, writing was not at the core of my duties, even though my final project was designed to give me something that was heavy on writing. After concluding my ten weeks, I felt like my desire to be a professional writer was reawakened and reaffirmed, challenging though that path may be. While updating the literature databases, I was exposed to countless classic and contemporary authors, thinkers, and novelists of all kinds who wrote for a living and gained widespread recognition for their books. I realized that that is the career that excites me the most.

After concluding my ten weeks, I felt like my desire to be a professional writer was reawakened and reaffirmed, challenging though that path may be.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would very much recommend this experience to anyone in the Liberal Arts who is interested in the general fields of writing, education, and the humanities. Cengage however, is very large and has multiple departments and divisions, so my experience does not at all characterize what the company does. There are positions for students of all positions and backgrounds. However, for liberal arts students wanting to explore the private sector or work for a forward-thinking business committed to a worthy cause, I can confidently recommend Cengage.

Natalie Guarna

Liberal Arts Alumni Mentor Program
Up one level
Natalie Guarna

Paterno Fellow
Major: Psychology, Advertising
Minor: International Studies
Hometown: Newtown, PA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I learned about the Liberal Arts Alumni Mentor Program from being on the Liberal Arts listserv. I was struggling to settle on a career goal at the time, and so I figured that any guidance would be helpful.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

I cannot say enough about how positive my experience in the Liberal Arts Alumni Mentor Program has been. Even though my mentor's career does not align with my aspirations very well, she is an invaluable resource for me. Whether it is registering for classes or preparing for an interview, my mentor willingly takes time out of her day to put research into my questions so that she can provide the best advice possible.

How did this experience impact you academically?

My mentor's encouragement and kind words have definitely impacted my confidence in myself as a student. She repeatedly restates how impressive my accomplishments, involvements and academic efforts are. This type of encouragement has contributed to my confidence in myself as a student, which in turn has improved my stress levels and increased my motivation.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

Although my career goals and plans have been transformative (to say the least) over the past few months, with my mentor's help I have finally settled on the path of studying consumer psychology. As I explored many career options over the last few months, my mentor was always willing to put research into the new field of interest, and in several cases even reached out to fellow alumni who work in these fields to request that they answer whatever additional questions I may have.

I would most definitely recommend this experience to all other Liberal Arts students, no matter their major or year of study.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would most definitely recommend this experience to all other Liberal Arts students, no matter their major or year of study. Relationships with mentors created through this program will likely reach beyond college graduation, so senior year is certainly not too late to start. Having a professional committed to your success is an invaluable tool.

For more information on the Liberal Arts Alumni Mentor Program, visit our website

Michelle Perry

Liberal Arts Alumni Mentor Program
Up one level
Michelle Perry

Major: Philosophy
Minor: English and Psychology 
Hometown: Hummelstown, PA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I made an appointment with the Career Enrichment Network to talk about resume review, internship opportunities, and career preparation. I heard there about the Liberal Arts Alumni Mentor Program.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

I'm always looking for more help and guidance in navigating the big decisions of my life, and the thought of being paired with a Penn State alum who could mentor me was exciting. Even though I only had a year left at the time I heard about the program, I filled out the application anyway, and I'm really glad I did. I was accepted into the program, attended an orientation meeting, and then just waited to hear who my mentor would be! Just a few weeks later I received an email telling me with whom I was matched. A week or two after that we had an introductory phone call, and we've been having bi-weekly phone meetings since then. My mentor lives in Pittsburgh, but the distance between there, State College, and my hometown hasn't been a problem. We were even able to meet once in person at the Creamery. My mentor has mentored other students in the past and has been incredibly insightful and helpful to me.

How did this experience impact you academically?

Being a mentee has had a pretty big impact on my academics. I was set to graduate a semester early, but talking with my mentor about what I wanted to accomplish after graduation helped me realize I could make use of that extra time. Instead of graduating in December 2015 with just one minor, I'll be graduating in May 2016 with two minors. Using the full two semesters of my senior year has allowed me to take a lighter course load and search for more experiences outside of class, like volunteering in a research lab or with a United Way Partner Agency downtown.

Working with the Liberal Arts Alumni Mentor Program has helped me explore my own interests and figure out what I want to do. 

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

My career goals are currently geared toward graduate school in counseling or psychology, but six months ago I wouldn't have been able to answer this question. Working with the Liberal Arts Alumni Mentor Program has helped me explore my own interests and figure out what I want to do. What's been most helpful is having my mentor to steer me in the right direction; She has helped me identify from whom I could learn more about my fields of interest and held me accountable for everything from setting up meetings to sending out emails.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would certainly recommend the Liberal Arts Alumni Mentor Program to other Liberal Arts students. Personally, it has been invaluable having access to an outside perspective from a person who used to be a Penn State student. Through this program I've grown personally, professionally, and academically. Even with a minimal time commitment you can get a lot out of this program.

For more information on the Liberal Arts Alumni Mentor Program, visit our website

Timothy J. Sullivan

Liberal Arts Alumni Mentor Program
Up one level
Timothy J. Sullivan

Paterno Fellow
Major: Psychology, French and Francophone Studies
Minor: Dance
Hometown: Harleysville, PA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I first learned about the Liberal Arts Alumni Mentor Program through programming materials circulated in the College of the Liberal Arts. Though we may get many emails from the college, reading them actually pays off!

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

With the Alumni Mentor Program, I was paired with a mentor who has pursued a similar career trajectory as the one I would like to. Intentionally matched this way, the program has allowed me to gain first-hand knowledge and experience in a profession that is typically hard to get mentorship in. My mentor, a clinical psychologist with his own private practice, has been incredibly supportive in all of my academic, professional, and personal goals while simultaneously challenging me to get new experiences that will diversify my experiences. He is consistently available for meetings regarding my career goals and has even allowed me to shadow his practice for a day so I can see firsthand what his job looks like. Now, I find myself with an important professional and personal contact who offers invaluable guidance as I embark on making important career decisions.

How did this experience impact you academically?

Being involved with the Alumni Mentor Program has given me the opportunity to diversify my interests and to explore new horizons that I may not have otherwise considered. I weigh out course choices with my mentor and make sure that I am selecting an academic curriculum that will most benefit my career objectives later down the line. I know I can go to my mentor if I need advice as to whether or not a course will be useful to me beyond graduation. This approach has allowed me to take a more macro-level perspective regarding my educational choices as a whole, and therefore, has resulted in a richer and more diversified academic experience overall.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

I plan to pursue a PhD in Clinical Psychology with a focus on researching posttraumatic stress disorder, violence, and associated interpersonal consequences. My mentor, through the Alumni Mentor Program, has provided me with a useful opportunity to discuss this interests and how he sees these issues come up in his private practice. Often during our meetings, I will ask about his current casework and he will explain the interesting or more intricate components of his work. While I intend to go into a more research-oriented career trajectory, my mentor's extensive clinical experience provides a new lens within which I can view my own objectives and research work now. Talking with him even lends to new and creative research ideas that I would never have formulated without the relevant experience that he has. My mentor's involvement, overall, has thus allowed me to consider alternative viewpoints in not only a professional, career-oriented sense but also in a conceptual manner.

I find that the differences between my interests and my mentor's career path are what were most valuable to me as a student.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would most definitely recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students. I think one of the worries that I originally had with this program was that I would not be matched with someone who is in a career that is directly related to what I want to do (particularly since psychology is such a broad discipline). However, I find that the differences between my interests and my mentor's career path are what were most valuable to me as a student. Discovering alternative viewpoints and other ways of achieving the profession that I eventually hope to have helped me to avoid one-track thinking that I think plagues a lot of Liberal Arts students that have versatile options post-graduation.

For more information on the Liberal Arts Alumni Mentor Program, visit our website.

Meghan Stouter

Liberal Arts Alumni Mentor Program
Up one level
Meghan Stouter

Paterno Fellow
Major: Labor and Employment Relations, Sociology
Minor: Spanish
Hometown: Emmitsburg, MD

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I continuously saw flyers for the Liberal Arts Alumni Mentor Program around campus, and it also appeared in the Liberal Arts Weekly Newswire sent to my email every week. After seeing it so many times, I decided to apply.

This program requires just a quick application, and you earn a network connection for life. I am so glad to be a part of it.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

Being a part of this program has been extremely rewarding thus far. I applied for the program before entering my junior year and when first meeting my mentor, I could tell how much time the program puts into matching students and alumni. My mentor, Lynn,  truly is the perfect match for me. I am interested in Human Resources and consulting work, and Lynn owns her own consulting firm. We are interested in the same things and she has been able to help me with my professional development quite a bit over these past two years. We speak at least once a month via phone, but we also send occasional emails and text messages for little things. Not only does Lynn help assist with my professional development, but I know she truly and genuinely cares about me as a person. We always discuss things like my resume, job applications, and the sort, but she always asks me about my family and my life on campus, and I think that is really awesome. This program requires just a quick application, and you earn a network connection for life. I am so glad to be a part of it.

How did this experience impact you academically?

I would say being a part of the Alumni Mentor Program has a larger impact on professional development rather than academics, but Lynn still does help me academically. I always ask for her advice when scheduling classes because I explain to her what type of Human Resources I am interested in, and she suggests courses I could take to learn more about these areas. Additionally, she is able to give such great advice when it comes to being a student; after all, she graduated from here too. She has provided me tips for time management and how to handle stress. 

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

I am pursuing a career in Human Resources and/or Consulting. I became increasingly interested in consulting the more I learned about it through my conversations with Lynn, and this summer, I will be interning with EY as a People Advisory Services Intern. I cannot wait to start this experience and share my stories with Lynn. I can confidently say that without Lynn's help with resume review, cover letters, and LinkedIn suggestions, I would not have obtained such a great internship. She is always very honest with me about these things, because she truly does want me to succeed. She has a lot of experience in the field and loves sharing her insight with me. I take all of her suggestions in order to improve myself professionally.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would absolutely recommend the mentor program to other Liberal Arts students. To be honest, it makes logical sense to apply; what have you got to lose? It is such a quick application and the program can do so much for a student. Networking is a huge aspect of having a mentor and they can help you in so many ways. I love our conversations and I truly believe I have gained so much knowledge and grown so much since I have been mentored by Lynn.

Gabrielle Singh

Liberal Arts Alumni Mentor Program
Up one level
Gabrielle Singh

Major: Psychology
Minor: Biology
Hometown: Elysburg, PA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I actually learned about the Liberal Arts Alumni Mentor Program while sitting outside on campus next to a nice man that mentors in the program. He began a conversation with me to be polite that led to him telling me about the program and why it would be a good fit for me.

The mentoring program has given me confidence in my future career endeavors because I have someone to lean on and get advice from whenever need be.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

I am planning to attend a physician assistant program in the future and was looking for a mentor to guide me through the process and to provide me with knowledge and useful tips to get me in the door. My mentor is a general surgeon that has helped me make choices leading up to my application process this summer. The mentor program has given me confidence in my future career endeavors because I have someone to lean on and get advice from whenever need be.

How did this experience impact you academically?

The experience with my mentor helped a little in my academics, but mostly in resume building by knowing what will increase my chances of acceptance.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

I plan to become a physician assistant in the future, hopefully specializing in a field of surgery. The experience with my mentor has definitely increased my chances of acceptance into a great program.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would recommend the mentor program to other students because it is important to have someone in your field that you can look up to. Your mentor will also guide you and make you feel confident in your future.

For more information on the Liberal Arts Alumni Mentor Program, visit our website

Katlyn Meers

Liberal Arts Alumni Mentor Program
Up one level
Katlyn Meers

Major: History
Minor: Business and the Liberal Arts
Hometown: Gilbertsville, NY

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I learned about the Liberal Arts Alumni Mentor Program through my adviser, Ben Whitesell.

From the first phone call that I had with her I knew that she would be very influential in my life and she has yet to let me down. 

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

I was matched with my mentor during the spring of my junior year. From the first phone call that I had with her I knew that she would be very influential in my life and she has yet to let me down. Initially I explained to her that my overall goals for our relationship included learning more about the job search process, refining my resume and cover letters as well as my interview skills, and adapting to life after graduation. Once she understood my goals we immediately began working to accomplish them. We talk on the phone every other week and every phone call has a similar structure; we talk about the small goal that we agreed on during the last phone call, then discuss the progress we both made individually on accomplishing that goal, then where we need to go from there, and finally we outline the goal to work on for our next phone call. This method has been very effective for us because it keeps us focused and by breaking up the big goals into smaller goals we are able to accomplish the overall goal more efficiently.

How did this experience impact you academically?

Academically my relationship with my mentor has been extremely helpful, more helpful than she realizes I think. Senior year has been a stressful time for me with class work as well as my job, but my mentor has helped ease some of that stress by helping me with my job search. Initially I was worried going into this semester that I would have trouble navigating the job search process on my own because I was not sure what I needed to do to be successful. My mentor stepped in and immediately began to steer me in the right direction and help me every step of the way. By clearly knowing what I needed to do next I became a lot less stressed because I no longer worried about what I had to do and simply did it. My mentor helped relieve some of the stress associated with finding a job after graduation and this helped me focus more on my academics.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

My career goals are to be offered a job in a management position in a grocery store chain after graduation. My mentoring experience greatly helped me work towards accomplishing this goal in numerous ways, described in previous answers. Besides helping me with the logistics of searching for a job, resumes, interviewing skills, etc., my mentor also helped boost my confidence as I began my job search. As a Liberal Arts major applying for a traditionally business major position I was worried that I was not qualified, even with a business minor. My mentor helped me see that all the unique skills and experience that I have acquired through my major and my job make me well-qualified for the position. This confidence greatly helped me at the career fair and the subsequent interviews because I realized that I truly can do this and land my dream job. Since beginning my search I have had two interviews and a call back interview, all thanks to my mentor and her amazing assistance along the way.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would certainly recommend the Liberal Arts Alumni Mentor Program to other Liberal Arts students, especially those who are worried about any aspects of college life; picking a major, classes, finding a job, etc. Your mentor has gone through all of these experiences already and is more than willing to offer you advice, personal life experiences, and any resources they may have available to ensure that you succeed during your time at Penn State. Signing up for the mentoring program has truly been one of the best decisions I made as a student in the College of the Liberal Arts.

For more information on the Liberal Arts Alumni Mentor Program, visit our website. 

Lindsey Hannon

Liberal Arts Alumni Mentor Program
Up one level
Lindsey Hannon

Major: Political Science & History
Minor: N/A
Hometown: Springville, New York

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I learned about the Liberal Arts Alumni Mentor Program through the College of the Liberal Arts Newswire emails. A few of my friends were also involved in the program and they seemed to really like it. I decided to apply during the second semester of my junior year and it has been one of the best decisions I have ever made!

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

The Alumni Mentor Program is by far one of the best things that the College of the Liberal Arts has to offer. My mentor has been a great resource. I have built a bond that I hope continues well after graduation. My goals changed over my time in the mentor program but my mentor was able to adjust and always had more networking connections that she could offer me. This mentor program allowed me to focus on what type of career after college I would want to pursue. This program also allowed me to set aside time every week where I could focus on what my life would be like after Penn State. From receiving advice, working on interview questions and learning how to highlight my strengths in my work, this program taught me so much. I always look forward to our weekly conversations and I am so thankful that the College of the Liberal Arts has a program such as this to connect current students with distinguished alumni.

How did this experience impact you academically?

My mentor always took an active interest in what papers I was working on and encouraged me to share different ideas with her. Last semester in PLSC 409 Democratic Deliberation, I was working on a paper that involved how the Affordable Care Act was deliberated upon in Congress. My mentor actually currently works with some of the people that were directly involved with the legislation and she had some valuable insight as to how I should proceed with my paper. My mentor always went above and beyond what I expected from this program. For her to take an active interest in my academics meant a lot.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

One of the goals I had going into my mentorship was to have a job offer by Christmas. Through this program, I have really been able to focus on my strengths and what I want to do after graduation. My mentor gave incredible insightful advice and I am proud to say that I have recently accepted a full time offer from GEICO through their Management Development Program in Fredricksburg, Virginia.

We are a great networking community and I encourage everyone to take advantage of this amazing resource.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

Penn State has so many amazing and talented alumni. We are a great networking community and I encourage everyone to take advantage of this amazing resource. I know that I have gained a life long mentor. I hope one day be as successful and hardworking as my mentor so that I can mentor future students myself.

Shane Hunter Hart

Liberal Arts Alumni Mentor Program
Up one level
Shane Hunter Hart

Major: English
Minor: Film Studies
Hometown: Binghamton

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I found out about the Liberal Arts Alumni Mentor Program through a friend of mine. We just ended up talking about the program one day. It sounded interesting so I looked into it more.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

So far, My mentor and I haven't had many opportunities that involve directly working toward my graduation goals. I have only had the chance to work in part time summer positions that had little to do with my major. However, my mentor has been a big help in shaping the path I want to take after I graduate. Since he graduated, my mentor has led a successful career that mirrors the goals that I would like to succeed in as well. He has been more than happy to look over my writing and give me critical feedback on it. He has helped build my confidence in moving forward with my career goals.

How did this experience impact you academically?

My mentor has been very helpful in advising me on what courses would be most beneficial to me. Upon our first conversation with each other, I was already in the middle of my semester. However, he assessed the current courses I was taking and told me the significance that the classes I was taking could have in the future. For the following semester he advised me to take a few classes that pertained to film studies and also to look into whether I could apply for a film minor. After looking into the subject more, I realized that I qualified for the film minor with the courses I decided on from my mentor's advice.

What are your career goals and plans? How did this experience impact them?

After I graduate from Penn State, I would like to pursue a career in screenwriting. I have a mutual love of both creative writing and film that I want to apply in a career. However, I realize that such a career is a hard one to break into and so I also have felt the need to look over the steps I need to take going forward. That is where my mentor has been a big help to me. He has succeeded in a career as a television producer. His career closely matches the one I wish to have and so his experiences and advice that he provides for me are very much appreciated. Thanks to my mentor's insight into the film industry, I feel far less overwhelmed in regards with how to proceed with my life goals.

Thanks to my mentor's insight into the film industry, I feel far less overwhelmed in regards with how to proceed with my life goals.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would definitely recommend the Liberal Arts Alumni Mentor Program to other Penn State Liberal Arts students. Speaking from my own experience, finding a career can feel like a daunting task. Many feel that getting a degree in the Liberal Arts will mean having trouble finding a well-paying job in the future. It’s very helpful to be able to talk to someone who has had a similar experience to your own, see the opportunities that await you, and learn the steps to take toward your future goals.

For more information on the Liberal Arts Alumni Mentor Program, visit our website.

Jonathan Reich

The Heritage Foundation
Up one level
Jonathan Reich

Major: International Politics
Hometown: Rockville, Maryland
Chapel Executive Intern

How did you learn about this opportunity?

In the summer of 2014, I received my first internship in Washington D.C. That first day, I got to Union Station early and walked around the Capitol and ended up walking by The Heritage Foundation. I went inside and asked for a brochure so I could learn more about the organization and the type of work they conducted. I became interested in the organization and throughout that summer, I went to lectures hosted by The Heritage Foundation so I could see the work they did firsthand. This was my first experience with policy think tanks and propelled my interest in policy making.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

The opportunity to intern in the Allison Center for Foreign and National Security Policy at The Heritage Foundation was an incredible opportunity. When I began the internship at the beginning of the fall semester I did not know what to expect, but I did know that it was going to be a very educational experience that would allow me to gain practical work experience in U.S. foreign and domestic policies. Over the course of the semester, I worked directly with policy experts to help produce and publish several writing pieces and research projects. I spent the majority of my time focusing on the Middle East and Africa and developed a comprehensive understanding of the major problems of the regions. Most importantly, the practical knowledge I gained through this internship has not only reinforced and furthered my knowledge about policy making, but this internship experience has provided me with the proper skills and professional development I need to be successful in my future career.

...this internship experience has provided me with the proper skills and professional development I need to be successful in my future career.

How did this experience impact you academically?

This semester had been incredibly informative for me, not only as a student, but as a young professional as well. As a student, I developed the necessary skills to conduct research in a fast-paced professional environment. Through my internship, I learned the proper techniques to analyze current events in order to develop reasonable policy solutions. In school, we see and study the final product of a policy proposal, but to have the chance to witness the policy making process firsthand and gain practical knowledge of how the process works was an invaluable experience. This internship experience allowed me to integrate the knowledge and skills I learned throughout my coursework at Penn State and apply them to the workplace. The courses I took at Penn State, provided me with the foundation I needed to be successful at my internship.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

This experience had a direct impact on my future career goals. I have always been interested in foreign affairs, public policies and politics, but I could never decide on how I wanted to pursue these interests professionally. Throughout this internship, I had the chance to meet and sit down with several professionals within The Heritage Foundation that were able to provide me with career advice so that I could get a better perspective on working for a think tank. After spending the semester in Washington D.C. and completing this internship, I am now confident that I want to pursue a career on Capitol Hill focusing on foreign policy.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

Yes, this internship was an incredible experience. The Heritage Foundation’s Young Leaders Program is second to none. It provided me with the tools and knowledge that I need to be successful in my career. The program has several field trips and events aimed at making the internship experience amazing. Washington D.C. is the political capital of the world, and having the opportunity to intern in the heart of the city was an unforgettable experience.

For more information on internships for liberal arts students, visit our website.

Nicole Shuckhart

Liberal Arts Alumni Mentor Program
Up one level
Nicole Shuckhart

Major: Psychology
Minor: Business, LER
Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I learned about this opportunity with the Liberal Arts Alumni Mentor Program through the Liberal Arts Newswire. I was trying to figure out career plans, and I thought having a mentor would be a great step in doing this!

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

The first year or so of my experience with my mentor was limited to phone and email communication. It can be hard to meet with a mentor in person when they do not live in the State College area, but making a lasting connection is not difficult! My mentor has always been so kind, candid, and willing to help. She gives me a sense of what it is like in the "real world," but has always taken the time to walk me through challenges. She has helped me with resumes, cover letters, internship/job search, and overall career advice. After over year a of email and phone conversations, we were finally able to meet in person in State College. We chatted like we were old friends, which I felt was a very unique experience. Knowing that I have my mentor as a resource and friend is really special. Having someone to help me navigate all of these things has been amazing and I cannot thank her and the College of the Liberal Arts enough for my experience!

How did this experience impact you academically?

My mentor has sent me or referred me to articles, books, websites, and other materials that have helped supplement my education. For example, she sent me a book written by a top executive in my career field just a few months ago. She's also forwarded me LinkedIn articles that are relevant to my goals. My mentor works not only to give me career advice, but also strives to help me learn outside of my classes, which is wonderful.

My mentor works not only to give me career advice, but also strives to help me learn outside of my classes, which is wonderful.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

In the fall, I will be starting a position in Human Resources at PNC Financial Services. I knew I wanted to be in HR before I was connected with my mentor, and she helped me achieve this goal. By editing my resume and cover letter, I had stellar application materials to send to employers. She also helped me learn how to draft professional emails and materials. This has been so helpful! Additionally, I want to pursue an MBA or some other type of graduate degree while working. My mentor has an MBA, and her experience has impacted me in such a positive way. She has given me insight into what it is like to be in an MBA program, how to search for schools, how to apply, etc. Her advice on this topic has been extremely helpful and has put into perspective to me just how important graduate school is to me!

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

Absolutely! This experience is truly unique! The mentor program exceeded all of my expectations and connected me with a mentor and friend that I feel I will have for life.

For more information on the Liberal Arts Alumni Mentor Program, visit our website.

Patrick Burke

Liberal Arts Alumni Mentor Program
Up one level
Patrick Burke

Major: Criminology
Hometown: Branchburg, NJ

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I learned about the Liberal Arts Alumni Mentor Program in the fall semester of my Junior Year. I was in an academic advising meeting for my major and was talking with my advisor about different ways I could better prepare myself for success after graduation. My advisor told me about the program, how I could benefit from it, and where I could find more information on how to apply.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

I have had such a great experience being a part of the Liberal Arts Alumni Mentor Program. My mentor is extremely supportive and takes the time to talk with me about his experiences and how I can make the most of my time at Penn State before I graduate. The mentor program has given me an incredible opportunity to gain valuable experience working with and learning from my mentor in addition to having the opportunity to make additional connections in my career field of interest through my mentor. This experience has allowed me to grow personally, professionally, and academically.

"The mentor program has given me an incredible opportunity to gain valuable experience working with and learning from my mentor..."

How did this experience impact you academically?

My mentor has been extremely supportive and has pushed me to grow academically. He's given me great tips on different resources that he used while he was an undergraduate student at Penn State and how I could benefit from the same resources. My mentor's advice and guidance has had an extremely positive impact on my academic growth over the past year.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

I plan on pursuing a career in federal law enforcement after graduating Penn State this spring. My mentor has helped connect me to professional contacts in various areas of federal law enforcement in addition to helping me put together my professional "game-plan" on how I can achieve my career goals.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would absolutely recommend that Liberal Arts students apply for the Alumni Mentor Program. Being a part of this program has given me the tools I need to be successful academically, personally, and professionally. Being a part of the Liberal Arts Alumni Mentor Program is as valuable as it is enjoyable. 

For more information on the Liberal Arts Alumni Mentor Program, visit our website.

Jaye Aster Broder

Campbell Soup Company
Up one level
Jaye Aster Broder

Paterno Fellow
Major: Spanish, Food Science
Hometown: Ardmore, Pennsylvania 
Chapel Executive Intern

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I learned about this opportunity online through the Food Science Club listserv. Campbell Soup Company visits Penn State in the fall to recruit for three month summer internships and six month co-ops.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

Over the course of six months I collaborated with cross-functional teams to develop a beverage line extension from concept. My projects focused on clean labeling and quality. I participated in and led product inspections for products and ingredients as well as blended and processed ingredients to formula specifications in kitchen and pilot plants. Along with my core projects I shadowed and onboarded with individuals in different departments of the company to gain a greater lens of the different functions at Campbell's. Throughout my time I was fortunate to travel to a manufacturing plant to understand how production is scaled up. I learned about different brands and consumer segmentation.

How did this experience impact you academically?

This experience affected me academically in many ways. At the core of my co-op experience, I grasped the need to constantly ask, “What will the impact be?” Always keeping the purpose in mind is crucial to executing projects effectively and drives decision-making. This mindset has influenced how I approach learning entirely. As someone who can sometimes become bogged down by details, this attitude helps me keep the larger picture in mind. There may be a bottom line but my actions will have different effects on others. To be the most informed, asking questions is essential. Throughout my co-op I made connections to what I had previously learned in school. I appreciate my well-rounded liberal arts education more, because it has helped me consider problems from different angles. My co-op helped me define my goals for when I return to Penn State.

I appreciate my well-rounded liberal arts education more, because it has helped me consider problems from different angles.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

I am very passionate about food and hope to work in the food industry in a way that lets me combine my coursework in Spanish and Food Science. This experience has highlighted the value in pursuing a masters degree upon completion of my undergraduate studies—to specialize, improve investigative skills, and gain a different perspective. It underscored the benefits and challenges of continuing to graduate school directly upon completion of undergraduate studies, returning to school after working, full-time, part-time, and online programs. I understand how setting goals in my career does not stop upon graduation. This experience has helped me target other experiences to seek out as an undergraduate through different clubs and internships.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would definitely recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students. Interning at a consumer packaged goods company is an exciting away to meet many people and learn about the commercialization of a product. Everyone at Campbell Soup was very patient and helpful. I had a lot of fun and have a greater appreciation for government regulation, packaging, and food safety. While a six-month internship means 'missing' a semester at Penn State or graduating later, the knowledge and personal growth are invaluable. This experience has increased my passion for my studies at school.

For more information on internship opportunities for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.

Maggie Purcell

IES Abroad Amsterdam: Law and Criminology
Up one level
Maggie Purcell

Paterno Fellow
Major: International Politics/Criminology
Minor: History/German
Hometown: Yardley

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I found out about this experience through the Penn State Study Abroad Fair. I then did more research on the Global PSU website where I found more information on the costs, courses, and details of the program.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

My study abroad experience was one of the best experiences I've had at Penn State. By fully immersing myself in a different culture, I was able to get a better knowledge of the world around me. I stayed in dorms with students from all over the world, with my floor alone having students from 6 different countries! I was able to become more independent and try things I thought I would never have been able to experience.

It was the most academically and personally enriching semester I have had at Penn State and I learned so much that cannot be taught in a classroom.


How did this experience impact you academically?

This experience was one of the most academically enriching experiences I've had. It exposed me to new topics and new ways of learning. I had classes with Dutch students and was able to learn about topics such as European Migration Law, Dutch History, and Comparative Law between the United States and the Netherlands. Through these classes I was able to engage in interesting discussions and participate in field trips to places like a Dutch criminal court, a United Nations International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia trial, visit to the Dutch Royal Military Police, and many more. 

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

Following graduation I would like to engage in some sort of international volunteering. After that, I hope to enroll in law school and focus on international or criminal work. My program specifically focused on law and criminology so a lot of the things I learned would be directly related to my goals. I not only gained a deeper knowledge of United States law, but I also had an introduction to European law.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would without a doubt recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students. It was the most academically and personally enriching semester I have had at Penn State and I learned so much that cannot be taught in a classroom. Studying abroad opens your eyes to so much in the world and also makes you take a deeper look at your own country. It cultivates you not only as a student, but as a person overall.

For more information on global experiences for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.

Erin Haney

Athens, Greece: History, Culture, and Archaeology of Greece
Up one level
Erin Haney

Paterno Fellow
Major: Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies
Minor: Latin and Ancient Greek
Hometown: Blue Bell

How did you learn about this opportunity?

The program is run by my department, Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies, so I have heard about the program ever since I started taking CAMS classes.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

My time in Greece has been everything I had hoped for and more. I absolutely love studying in this country. The culture is incredible, the language beautiful and the people are warm and kind. I have relished the opportunity to learn Greek history and archaeology while being able to experience many of the sites first hand. I have also enjoyed learning the Greek language so that I am better able to communicate with the locals. Overall, Greece has been an amazing experience and I feel that I have gained an even more encompassing appreciation for different cultures. Besides the academic benefits of learning on site, I have gained a greater world view while living here in Greece. I had the incredible opportunity to help out in the refugee crisis and meet the ferries carrying the refugees that come into Athens. This was a type of opportunity that only study abroad could give me, and I feel as if I have gained a valuable life experience as well as a better understanding of the world we live in.

I had the incredible opportunity to help out in the refugee crisis and meet the ferries carrying the refugees that come into Athens. 

How did this experience impact you academically?

Being a Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies major, my interests and passions lie in all things Roman and Greek. To be able to take my learning experiences of Greek history, art, literature, and archaeology out of the classroom and into the ruins of this ancient world is incredible. I feel that I have gained so much more appreciation and knowledge for the Greek world being able to study it so hands on.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

My goal is to attain my masters and PhD in Classics and archaeology and eventually work as a professor at a university. This study abroad experience has helped me to further my knowledge of the ancient world and grow my passion for it. Being on the sites here in Greece has allowed me to gain further understanding of certain archaeological and art theories involved in acquiring a full view of the ancient world. Being here in Greece has also made me learn that I would like to possibly attend the American School of Classical Studies here in Athens for part of graduate studies.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I absolutely would. First, Greece is an incredible country to live and study in. The culture is one that is very different from the U.S. and this is an amazing opportunity to learn more about. Secondly, as a liberal arts student, Greece is where it all began. Law, drama, literature, democracy, philosophy, and rhetoric were all born. What better place to gain a better appreciation of so many fields of study than Greece. Plus learning the history of Greece is absolutely fascinating and way more rewarding when you actually get to see the acropolis with your own eyes.

For more information on global experiences for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.

Svetlanna Ninoscka Valdes

IES Abroad Rio- Study Brazil
Up one level
Svetlanna Ninoscka Valdes

Major: Political Science, Philosophy
Minor: Economics, International Studies
Hometown: Miami, FL

How did you learn about this opportunity?

Initially I visited the Penn State Office of Global Programs and asked to speak to a peer adviser. They suggested that I look into the different countries I wanted to study in, and research whether the program offered in a specified country included classes that were relevant to my major(s). I knew that I wanted to learn a new language but also a language that my background in Spanish would make it easier to learn. My friend was learning Portuguese at the time and told me to watch "City of God." After watching the movie, I knew I wanted to go to Brazil and help the children in the favelas. I used the program search on the Office of Global Programs website and looked for programs in Brazil.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

I was lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the exquisite landscape when I landed in Galeão International Airport on August 12 at 7:30 in the morning. To say the least, the sight astounded me. After the hustling and bustling of gathering my two 75 pound luggage bags toward the meeting point, finding Andrea (my Student Affairs Coordinator) and waiting for the other five students to arrive, I had my first ride around the streets of Rio. Most of the walls in the city are full of street art (graffiti) because it is legal in Brazil and no matter how many times my naked brown eyes tried to find a clear space in the distance, the vast amount of enormous mountains blocked them. I ended up taking six classes, five at the IES center in Urca (Music and Society, History of Brazil, Portuguese 002, Ecology, and Service-Learning & Anthropology) and one at Fundação Getulio Vargas in Botafogo (Citizenship: Membership, Rights and Equality). Each course and accompanying fieldwork trips contributed to further my understanding of Brazilian carioca culture. My service learning assignment was working with the Portinari project in PUC (a private university in Gavea) and in Cândido Portinari’s house (located in Laranjeiras). Cândido Portinari was one of the most famous artists in Brazil, his panels Guerra e Paz (War and Peace) are displayed in the United Nations headquarters. The most memorable part of my experience was the favela tour of Santa Marta by Sheila Souza. After that tour, I took it upon myself to find a way to help the children that resided in the favela. I collaborated with Sheila and began teaching English and tutoring the kids in Santa Marta on Friday, Saturday and Sunday mornings. I ended up growing very close to one that would come consistently to learn and his name is Erick. Of all the beauty I found in the city and the experiences I was lucky enough to have, helping the children and meeting Sheila changed my plans for the future and me as an individual and student.

Of all the beauty I found in the city and the experiences I was lucky enough to have, helping the children and meeting Sheila changed my plans for the future and me as an individual and student.

How did this experience impact you academically?

The teaching methods of professors in Brazil are much different from that of the United States. The professors are not concerned with you passing the class as much as they are concerned with you attaining the course knowledge. The exam structure tests your ability to apply the material you learned in class and connect the concepts to what was happening in society. This was advantageous for me because I got to further my studies in economics and political science when I connected what I was learning in class to the problems Brazil was facing at the time. The professors are very relaxed and approachable, making it easier to transition. Where I noticed the greatest amount of difference was with the addition of field work assignments and trips. Initially, I thought Ecology was going to be hard for me, but it turned out to be one of the most enjoyable classes I have ever taken. The material we learned in class, we would get to see and witness in our fieldwork trips. When we covered the inter-tidal zone in class, we got to see the zonation that was occurring in the rocks alongside the beach. We got to actually feel and test out for ourselves the different types of sand at each beach we visited. It was amazing and I think the fact that I not only sat in the class and listened to the lecture, but that I also got to apply the knowledge in the field enhanced my academic experience.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

I knew before going to Brazil that I wanted to go to law school and practice either family, military or business law. I was also looking into joining the United States Airforce as a Cryptological Linguist after graduating Penn State. After my experience abroad, I realized that I was put in this world to help others--specifically children and families. After working with Sheila and seeing how much I can change and help the kids at Santa Marta, my plans after graduation have slightly altered. I realized that if I was able to help the children in another country and continent, I could do the same here in the United States. After graduation, I plan to join a non-profit organization like Americorp, CityYear, or Teach for America, and help underprivileged students. My experience with Sheila also made me want to learn more about practicing family law and adding a global perspective in the years to come. Hopefully I get to go overseas again while I am attaining my J.D. 

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would more than just recommend this experience, I would go as far as saying that it is essential for someone to go study and live in another country. It will be challenging, difficult at times and fun at others, but you can only gain from going abroad. You come back different, strong, humble, and cultured.

For more information on global experiences for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.

Erin Vrana

CIC-SPA: Montpellier, Integrated
Up one level
Erin Vrana

Major: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology; French
Hometown: Hershey, PA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I learned about this opportunity by researching the Penn State Office of Global Programs website. I knew I wanted to travel to France, so I searched for all of the Penn State or Penn State-affiliated programs that were in France to find the one that I felt best suited my interests and goals for my study abroad. I then met with a study abroad adviser to discuss the best time to study abroad, what courses I should plan to take, and any academic or other questions that I had about studying abroad.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

I studied abroad in Montpellier, France for the fall semester of 2015. I went into the semester expecting to have an incredible experience, but my semester abroad was even more amazing than I could have imagined. I fell in love with the south of France and traveled as much as I could throughout France to get to know the country that became my second home. Not only was it academically and culturally enriching, but I also made incredible friends that I know will continue throughout my lifetime. These friendships are formed through a unique experience that only you have shared together, and they are immediate and very strong. I stayed with a host family and couldn’t be happier about my decision – my French improved immensely, and having such a loving and welcoming family really made France feel like home for me.

How did this experience impact you academically?

I grew intellectually and academically in so many ways as a result of studying abroad. Obviously my language skills improved – I learned how to communicate, think, and even dream in another language. I reached an amazing point in my semester abroad when I realized that I was using a phrase that I couldn’t exactly describe in English – I just understood what it meant in French, and I could use it without having to translate it directly. I also learned how the academic system is different in other countries. It was very eye-opening in the sense that being a part of the French academic system really made me appreciate how the American system works, while also appreciating the things that the French system did better. Last but not least, I had the incredible opportunity to travel throughout France, which was as big a part of my academic experience as anything else from that semester. I visited museums and castles, toured ancient Cathar fortresses in the mountains of the South of France, and met so many incredible, intelligent people with different viewpoints from my own. One of the biggest components of learning while I was there wasn’t just at school, but through my interactions with the French, with British students that I became friends with, and with other American students in my program.

I visited museums and castles, toured ancient Cathar fortresses in the mountains of the South of France, and met so many incredible, intelligent people with different viewpoints from my own.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

After graduation, I plan to attend medical school and become a doctor. Although this may not seem related to my study abroad experience, I can say with certainty that I gained and honed many skills while abroad that will help me in my future career plans. By the end of my semester, I was much more comfortable with interacting with people in general, just because I had had the experience of having to communicate with people in a different language and who are from a different culture. Once you’ve lived for a certain amount of time abroad, you become much more comfortable with approaching and interacting with complete strangers, as well as with your own friends. I would also love to participate in Doctors Without Borders and perhaps even practice medicine in a country in Europe or elsewhere, and even if I am not practicing in a Francophone country, the language skills and cultural appreciation that I gained while in France will undoubtedly serve me well.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would absolutely recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students, with no reservations. Before I left, everyone told me that I was going to have an incredibly enriching experience, and that it would change me in ways I couldn’t even imagine. I believed them, but no amount of preparation or speculation could have prepared me for the beauty that I experienced in so many aspects of my time there, the ways that I grew as a person, and the lasting friendships that I made. So that is my advice to all other students: everyone is going to tell you wonderful things about studying abroad, but the only way for you to truly discover them is to get out there and have those experiences yourself.

For more information on global experiences for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.

Andrew Hoy

Liberal Arts Alumni Mentor Program
Up one level
Andrew Hoy

Major: Political Science
Minor: Economics, Communications
Hometown: Stone Harbor, NJ

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I learned about the Liberal Arts Alumni Mentor Program during my sophomore year through the Liberal Arts Newswire that is sent out every week. I was looking for more ways to prepare myself for after graduation and I saw a notice for an information session about the program, and eventually I applied to the program.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

My mentor and I have been matched for about a year. In the time since, we have kept in regular contact. We try to email several times a month, talk on the phone at least once or twice a month, and meet in person at least once a semester. In that time, he’s provided me with priceless information about his experiences and what he’s learned along the way. In our conversations he has provided insight into his career path and the skills he finds necessary to perform his job to the best of his capabilities. He has also always been someone whom I can send my resume to and ask for his opinion on any plans I have for my future. Recently, I spent a day in Pittsburgh shadowing him. This experience was one of the most informative ones I have had in preparing myself for life after college. I was able to not only gain insight into the natural gas industry, but was able to sit in on conference calls, meetings, and observe my mentor go about his daily business. One of the most impactful parts of the experience was seeing how he went about organizing his long list of tasks and the information he is responsible for knowing. How I stay organized is going to be a key part in whatever career path I choose, and watching someone like my mentor, who does it so effectively, was a very valuable experience.

This experience was one of the most informative ones I have had in preparing myself for life after college.

How did this experience impact you academically?

Law school has always been a path that interested me. It was important to me to have a mentor who had gone to law school and could tell me more about what it was like in law school and the career options they had after they graduated. My experiences with my mentor have only confirmed my interest in and prepared me for law school.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

Like I said before, I’ve always been interested in law school, and talking with and learning from my mentor has only confirmed my interest. In regards to my plans after law school, shadowing my mentor for the day exposed me to the natural gas field, but I will always continue to look out for industries and practices of law that interest me. One thing that my mentor has taught me is that if the right opportunity presents itself, it is good to make a career change. However I consider the most important things I have gained from our relationship are what he has told me about the skills that help him perform his duties and the lessons he has learned on his way to where he is now.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

The Liberal Arts Alumni Mentor Program is something that I would recommend to any student, whether they know exactly what they would like to do after graduation or they have no idea. Talking to any professional, especially in fields of interest, provides students with insights into what life will be like after graduation. Even if you end up taking a career path completely different from that of your mentor, you will still take valuable information away from the relationship.

For more information on the Liberal Arts Alumni Mentor Program, visit our website.

Justin Gorak

UVA in Valencia: Hispanic Studies Program
Up one level
Justin Gorak

Major: Economics, Spanish
Hometown: Newtown, PA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I found this program on the Penn State Global Studies website. My Spanish 253W professor also recommended the program because the department has seen strong improvements in students' Spanish skills.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

In Valencia, I had the opportunity to live with a Spanish host family and volunteer as a teaching assistant in an English class while taking five courses conducted exclusively in Spanish. It was a unique opportunity to be fully immersed in the culture because the daily life of Spaniards is very different than that of a college student at Penn State. At first it may be intimidating to move to a new country where you’ve never been before; however, after living the culture for four months it was hard for me to return to the US because I grew accustomed to the different meal times and speaking Spanish regularly. I hope to return to Spain soon!

How did this experience impact you academically?

As an Economics and Spanish concurrent major, this study abroad program fulfilled a large portion of my Spanish major requirement. There are a variety of course offerings ranging from business to translation to literature to linguistics, all of which are taught exclusively in Spanish. We had the chance to develop close relationships with our professors, who instructed us in much more than just course material. There was also the chance to enroll in an intercambio program, where we could regularly meet with a Spanish student learning English and practice our foreign languages. This was a great opportunity to get to know locals.

 I really enjoyed the opportunity to perfect my speaking abilities and believe that this program was a major step toward achieving fluency in Spanish. 

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

The most important part of this program to me was the total Spanish immersion. While learning a language in a classroom is essential to establish the foundations like vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation, immersion allows for application of classroom knowledge. I really enjoyed the opportunity to perfect my speaking abilities and believe that this program was a major step toward achieving fluency in Spanish. Living with a Spanish host family was also something that I could not have experienced at my home university. Overall, while learning a language is no easy task I hope to one day attain near-native fluency and this was a huge milestone in that journey.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would highly recommend that other college students study abroad because it is a unique opportunity to improve language skills, travel around Europe and live another culture.

For more information on global experiences for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.

Chelsea McGhee

London Study Tour
Up one level
Chelsea McGhee

Major: Psychology; Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
Minor: Theatre
Hometown: Bellefonte, PA
Paterno Fellow

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I originally heard about the London Study Tour from the Assistant Dean of the Schreyer Honors College, Dr. Nichola Gutgold. After she alerted me to its existence, I began reading about the program on the Honors College website. To determine the financial details of the trip I spoke extensively with Dr. Richard Stoller, Schreyer's Coordinator of Academic Advising and International Programs.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

The London Study Tour is an eleven-day excursion to the UK over winter break. The trip has a heavy theatre emphasis, so I saw a different production almost every day. When not in the theatre, I had the opportunity to explore the capital, visiting historical sites such as Westminster Abbey, Parliament, The Tour of London, The New Globe Theatre, several museums, and much more. Near the end of the trip, we traveled to Stratford-Upon-Avon to see Shakespeare's birthplace and watch several productions at the Royal Shakespeare Company. The very last day, we traveled to Leavesden to tour the Warner Bros Studio, seeing the real sound stages, costumes, and props used in the filming of the Harry Potter movies.

How did this experience impact you academically?

While the UK is a Western country, my time there certainly reshaped my worldview. When you grow up in the US and study here, as well, you tend to forget you’re only seeing the world from one perspective. Different people and a different culture allowed me to step outside of that. I now find myself gravitating towards non-American news media and seeking out transnational feminist theories and perspectives. One might say that my sojourn in London also rekindled my sense of curiosity. When you’re a tourist in a new land, you naturally adopt an inquisitive mindset: attempting to both understand and adapt to what you’re unaccustomed to. When you don’t get something right the first time, you give yourself the benefit of the doubt. When something doesn’t go quite as smoothly as you would like, you frame it as a challenge, not an obstacle. Since returning to the States, I’ve tried to take this insight with me and apply it to my studies.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

After Penn State, I hope to attend graduate school and obtain both my Master’s and Ph.D. After that, I see myself as a social psychologist working in the research field evaluating educational interventions that can dispel prejudicial attitudes and investigating the neural impacts of binary thinking. This trip has made me realize that my future does not need to be constrained to the borders of the United States: that I can and could flourish somewhere completely new. Because of this, I’ve begun looking into graduate programs overseas. It has always been my dream to live within the United Kingdom someday and now that I’ve had a taste of it, I know I must return.

This trip has made me realize that my future does not need to be constrained to the borders of the United States: that I can and could flourish somewhere completely new. 

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would recommend the London Study Tour to anyone, frankly. London is such a hub of artistry, history, and diversity. It’s a large city yet it feels quaint and accessible. Their theatres are top-notch and you can have a Broadway experience without going broke.

How has the Paterno Fellows Program had an impact on this experience?

Liberal Arts Enrichment Funds and the Paterno Fellows Program made this trip entirely possible. If it hadn’t been for them, I never would have been able to go. And that’s not hyperbole in the least: the financial support I received from the Paterno Fellows Program is what made the difference between me journeying to London and me staying home. I am incredibly grateful that this program exists, for it grants those who potentially don’t possess the financial resources of their peers the opportunity to quite literally expand their horizons.

For more information on global experiences for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.

Amanda Faver

Penn State Career Services
Up one level
Amanda Faver

Major: Communication Arts and Sciences
Hometown: Elk Grove, CA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

During my experience with the Communication Arts and Sciences Club, I have had the opportunity to interact with many Penn State Alumni. During a networking event, one of the Alumni mentioned participating in this internship during his time at Penn State. I then met with my internship coordinator for my major and was able to get contact information for the hiring team in charge of this internship. After emailing the team and going through the hiring process, I received an offer to become a Peer Career Assistant at Penn State Career Services a few weeks later.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

At Career Services, I have had the pleasure of doing many different job tasks and gaining valuable experience. During my time as a Peer Career Assistant, I have conducted mock interviews for students, helped to create and edit resumes and cover letters, created and presented material on professional development to classes and student organizations, assisted with special events and career fairs, and given feedback on websites and phone applications that students will use in the future. I am also very privileged to have the opportunity to help train and observe the next group of interns. At my location, I am encouraged to continue to grow my skills and take part in new experiences. My supervisor has allowed me to shadow her daily activities and talk to employers that visit our building. We also constantly receive feedback from supervisors and clients so that we can always be doing our best.

How did this experience impact you academically?

Initially I was concerned that working so many hours would take away from my schoolwork. I have found that this experience has not taken away from my academic experience at all. In fact, I think my internship has encouraged me to do better. With more on my plate, I have become better at time management and I get my assignments done in plenty of time. Additionally,I feel that my new experiences helping students, editing, and doing presentations has made me become more fluent in my written and verbal communication skills. This has helped me generate content for my assignments more quickly and maintain excellent quality of work.

This internship has helped me see what I enjoy doing and what my strengths are.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

My goal is to obtain a client-facing role in a company where I can help other people reach their goals. I also very much enjoy teaching and training others and hope that I will eventually obtain a leadership role where I can accomplish this. During my training, I gained important skills and practiced both professional and interpersonal communication. I also have appreciated the opportunity to help observe and train the next group of interns and I have realized teaching is one of my talents that I wish to continue developing. I have realized how much I enjoy my workplace interactions and seeing results in clients. This internship has helped me see what I enjoy doing and what my strengths are. With this experience I know that I have the right goals and I would like to continue pursuing them.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I definitely recommend this internship to Liberal Arts students. This internship needs students who are great communicators, writers, presenters, and problem solvers. Peer Career Assistants need to be perceptive, understanding, and creative with their feedback. Additionally, students in this internship need a desire to learn more and help others. These are all qualities I see in Liberal Arts students and I think this is an excellent opportunity to exercise and develop these skills. Career Services is an excellent place to work and provides a great working environment for all their students.

For more information on internship opportunities for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.

Yixuan Li

International Telecommunications: Cuba
Up one level
Yixuan Li

Major: Public Relations & Political Science
Minor: Digital Entrepreneurship
Hometown: Beijing

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I was in Cuba for COMM498A: International Telecommunications with Professor Matt Jackson in the College of Communications. I heard about the opportunity through emails from the College. In the class we learned about how information and communication technologies (ICTs) such as computers, telephone networks, mass media, and the Internet have influenced the socio-economic and political development of Cuba. We also looked at the historical development of telecommunications within Cuba and examined how that nation's geographic, cultural and political environment currently shape its response to technological change.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

I immersed myself in the local culture by interacting with the people and activities. Spending a week without Internet really expanded my horizons in seeing the authentic beauty of human nature on the island. It was also very interesting to see how people warmly welcome other cultures despite the experience they've been having in the past few decades. It really shows me the beauty and resilience deeply rooted in the culture.

Spending a week without Internet really expanded my horizons in seeing the authentic beauty of human nature on the island.

How did this experience impact you academically?

It helped me immerse in another culture and expand my vision as a global citizen. It stretched my ability to empathize with people and my ability to conduct research independently. With the in-field ethnography assignments, I really got to practice my ability to observe and reflect.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

I'm always interested in learning about the diversity of cultures. My career goal is to help people gain enriched experiences and bridge the gap between cultural differences. International development is also a big passion of mine. This experience has really shown me the common approach of international development might not be sustainable for a culture in the long run unless it fits into the context. It really exposed me to a different way of living and gave me a vision to do things in the future to restore it.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

Yes. Cuba is a very unique location to travel to compared to the rest of the world. You won't regret it.

For more information on global experiences for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.

Colleen Corbett

Centre County Correctional Facility
Up one level
Colleen Corbett

Major: Criminology
Minor: Rehabilitation and Human Services
Hometown: Philadelphia, PA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I found out about this internship through the Career Enrichment Network. I went to the Career Enrichment Network to review my resume with one of the advisers, and while their she mentioned that many Criminology majors intern at the Centre County Correctional Facility. She provided me with contact information and assisted me in drafting a cover letter.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

My internship at the Centre County Correctional Facility is unique because I am exposed to many different areas of the correctional facility. I have been shadowing both correctional officers and counselors, and occasionally helping with office work. I have had the opportunity to interact with inmates on housing units, in rehabilitation classes, and during classifications, releases, misconducting hearings and commitments. I have also had the opportunity to learn the process of parole, probation and obtaining a public defender. I also assist the department of record in filing old, new and active files. My internship at the correctional facility has taught me more about the criminal justice system than I could have ever learned in a class.

My internship at the correctional facility has taught me more about the criminal justice system than I could have ever learned in a class.

How did this experience impact you academically?

This experience has impacted my academics in many ways. First it showed that I was not interested in the current minor that I am pursuing of Security and Risk Analysis. It showed me that my true passion is to be in constant interaction with offenders and help show them the error in their decisions. I am now pursuing a minor in Rehabilitation and Human Services. These classes are more focused on group and individual therapy and addiction. I plan to take the classes that closely correspond with drug and alcohol abuse. It has also showed me that I should not just study material for a test, but to truly learn it because you will apply it in your career.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

My current career plan is to graduate in December 2017 and immediately leave for the Pennsylvania State Trooper Academy, and hopefully be selected to work in the Drug Recognition Experts Unit. I want to protect and serve the citizens of this state to the best of my ability, and hopefully be selected to work in the Drug Recognition Experts Unit. After working for the State Troopers for five or six years, I will apply to the Drug Enforcement Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. If selected to work for these agencies I hope to be a Special Agent. My career goals are ultimately to make the state of Pennsylvania and the United States a safer place for everyone.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

Yes I would recommend this internship to other students pursuing a degree in Criminology. The staff and especially my supervisor are welcoming and eager to teach me the ins and outs of the facility. You have the opportunity to shadow every section of the jail, and interact with many different law enforcement agencies. I recently interviewed with the Centre County Department of Parole and Probation and they were very pleased with my current internship experience. 

For more information on internships for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.

Dan Lordan

2016 International Workshop for Statistical Genetic Methods for Human Complex Traits
Up one level
Dan Lordan

Major: Political Science, Biology
Hometown: Wallingford, PA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I was informed of this opportunity through the professor that I am doing my research with. He was accepting applications for this program when I first approached him about research opportunities and asked if I would like to apply.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

It was an absolutely incredible experience. I had the opportunity to work with graduate students, post-docs, professors, and researchers in the fields of political science, psychology, microbiology, genetics, and sociology. I learned path modeling, twin modeling, matrix algebra, coding, research design, and field theory. Additionally, it was a fantastic networking opportunity for graduate school and potential partnerships for my thesis research. Being an international workshop, I also was able to meet people from all over the world who were working on the same kinds of things.

How did this experience impact you academically?

This was an extremely positive academic experience. I had been reading papers written by some of the top researchers in this area, so to get to meet them and discuss their work and any questions I had was a truly remarkable experience. Additionally, I got to speak with a host of individuals in different fields who were all focused on understanding the link between genetics and behavior. As a liberal arts major that also studies the natural sciences, I don't get to apply my skills in tandem that often. This conference really challenged me in all aspects of my education and let me explore academically stimulating questions that I've never been able to deal with before.

This conference really challenged me in all aspects of my education and let me explore academically stimulating questions that I've never been able to deal with before.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

I would love to work in non profits or market research, both of which have a strong need for computer skills, research ability, and understanding of behavior. While I am not sure if I will yet be attending graduate school in this field, this workshop really inspired my thesis research and has opened me up to the possibility of studying this further after undergrad. The field brings together my two areas of study, which I have never been able to combine before, so it has been an extremely rewarding experience.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

Absolutely. It was a very technically oriented workshop but the most I've ever learned in a week and the best opportunity I've been given.

For more information on research opportunities for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.

Brenna Fisher

ART 297
Up one level
Brenna Fisher

Major: Criminology and Sociology
Minor: Russian and Military Studies
Hometown: Manassas, VA
Paterno Fellow 

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

I had the opportunity to travel to Sydney, Australia for two weeks over winter break. We participated in art workshops, toured museums, worked with indigenous cultures and artists, and even hiked through the Blue Mountains. It was an amazing experience. I saw a side of the Australian culture I would never have expected to with all our participation with indigenous tribes.

We participated in art workshops, toured museums, worked with indigenous cultures and artists, and even hiked through the Blue Mountains. It was an amazing experience. 

How did this experience impact you academically?

I was able to get my art credit done in the most creative way possible. I loved our hands on workshops and the museum tours were really enlightening. On top of that, our Penn State faculty (Graham and Angela) were so informative and helpful. I really feel like I got everything I could have out of this course.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

I want to work in the criminal justice field, but this study abroad program really allowed me to see a different side of college classes. I never planned on putting too much thought into my art class, but this allowed me to have a fun, enriching experience with one of my general education credits!

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would recommend this experience to other liberal arts students because it was a really great way to see a more isolated part of the world while taking in a very culturally rich dynamic.

How has the Paterno Fellows Program had an impact on this experience?

The Paterno Fellows Program really encourages its students to go beyond the University Park campus and explore the world to supplement classroom learning. I felt an immense amount of support from the Paterno Fellows Program to complete my study abroad experience, and now I want to share my passion for traveling with others!

For more information on global experiences for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.

Rachel Olszewski

IES: University College London
Up one level
Rachel Olszewski

Major: Labor and Employment Relations
Minor: Women's Studies
Hometown: Dallas, Pennsylvania

How did you learn about this opportunity?

Since I have been in high school I have been hearing people talk about their study abroad experiences in college. A majority of those individuals would say that it is such an experience and probably the best few months of their lives. When I became a college student studying abroad was on the top of my bucket list, so I immediately started doing research on it as a freshmen. Penn State University has great resources if one is interested or pursuing a study abroad experience such as Penn State Education Abroad that houses advisers, information sessions throughout the semesters, education abroad fairs, and many more beneficial resources. While I was a freshmen I decided that I wanted to study in London, United Kingdom in the spring semester, simply because it would fit the most during that period. When I definitely came to the conclusion of studying abroad in London it was then time to decide which program(s) I would apply to. The global studies office at Penn State offers an immense number of programs; it is a challenge to decide which one is the best fit for yourself. This process took some time because I had to research programs that I thought would be beneficial towards my studies. When I came across the IES program at University College London I thought it was exactly what I was looking for: located in center-city London, direct enrollment into the University, high educational standards globally, and it offered classes that would meet general education requirements I was hoping to pursue.

The opportunities that this study abroad experience has offered me is unlimited; I do not think I would have even been able to dream of having a better experience prior to arriving in London. 

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

I currently have less than one and a half months left in London. I arrived in London early January and will be departing home for the States in the middle of May. These past three months have been some of the best months of my life! The opportunities that this study abroad experience has offered me are unlimited; I do not think I would have even been able to dream of having a better experience prior to arriving in London. I do not think I could have picked a better educational program to be apart of (IES: UCL) - this college has met all my expectations and beyond. Aside from the educational experience in city of London, I have really enjoyed being able to travel all over Europe. I have been to some places that I could not have imagined visiting like Paris, France, Amsterdam, and Netherlands - this list is much longer! These opportunities to travel abroad while living in the United Kingdom have also helped me grow as an individual. Seeing countries and cities all around Europe has really opened my eyes to how thankful I am for not only having this experience, but for my life in general - I could not be more thankful to be where I am. These past three months have also helped guide me through where I can picture my life going after I graduate from Penn State.

How did this experience impact you academically?

My study abroad experience in London has had a great impact on me academically. Being enrolled in University College London has demonstrated that I can achieve and be successful in anything I want if I put my mind to it - I just need to stay determined. At the beginning of the term at University College London I was quite nervous about adapting to the new academic standards; everything from class structure to class work and class examinations was different from what I am use to! I oftentimes thought, how am I going to adjust to such a system in such a short span of time? It took me two years to adjust to college-life in America! During the first month of the term I made sure that I remained positive and determined to succeed at this European university. Yes, that took a lot of time and work, but by the second month of the term I felt that I was pretty well adjusted. It really helped becoming friendly with students from the university - they were very advantageous when it came to learning what is expected from the students at UCL during class and through one's class work. I currently only have three more assignments to complete at UCL, which are all research papers that must be 2,500 words at length. Since I have completed five essays already this term I feel that I can be quite successful with these final assignments because I have learned how I can improve through my work and areas where I met the expectations. The overall lesson I take from my academic experience at UCL is that I can accomplish anything academically if I want to, which really helps me as I soon enter my senior year at Penn State with hopes of attending law school after graduation. 

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

I am currently a junior at Penn State University and will be a senior in the fall of 2016. I have plans to graduate in the spring of 2017 with a major in Labor and Employment Relations and minors in Women's Studies and International Studies. This summer, I plan on dedicating much of my time towards studying for the LSAT, which I will take in the fall. During the upcoming summer months I will also begin the application process for attending law school in fall 2017. Law school has been a dream of mine since I was a freshmen in high school and it has been quickly approaching. My study abroad experience this past semester in London has helped me greatly with pursuing my dreams of becoming a lawyer one day. By being accepted to one of the top universities in the world, University College London, it has showed me that all my hard work in my undergraduate studies at Penn State is paying off. I am now hoping that law schools in America will admire my academic career as much as UCL had during the application process, and hopefully this abroad experience can demonstrate also to law schools how successful I can be in rigorous programs.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

Prior to having my personal experience of studying abroad, I have heard numerous people talk about how great their abroad experiences were and that everyone should have the opportunity to study abroad. Now that I have almost completed my own study abroad stay I have come to the same conclusion. A student not only develops a stronger academic background, but also is able to experience their lives outside of familiar boundaries. I do believe that study abroad should be a strong component of a Liberal Arts student's undergraduate experience. Study abroad may be more beneficial to a Liberal Arts student when compared to a math or science student because Liberal Arts is portrayed differently around the world (social science) and such diverse viewpoints can add more of a well-rounded experience to their degrees.

For more information on global experiences for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.

 

Richard Devery

IES Abroad - Vienna
Up one level
Richard Devery

Major: Political Science; Comparative Literature
Minor: German
Hometown: Lebanon, OH

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I did research on the Penn State Education Abroad website and spoke to an education abroad adviser. Also, a professor of mine told me Vienna is a beautiful place to live and would make a good study abroad location.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

I have been studying abroad in Vienna, Austria. I am studying Central European society and culture through the lens of this beautiful capital city. My classes cover a wide spectrum of topics, such as the current migrant crisis and the EU response, sustainable energy practices of European countries, Central European art, and the literature of authors from this richly historical section of Europe. The experience has also helped me vastly improve my German language skills. It has been a very immersive experience into a new culture that has helped me grow as a global citizen, and given me a better perspective of the world and its issues.

It has been a very immersive experience into a new culture that has helped me grow as a global citizen, and given me a better perspective of the world and its issues.

How did this experience impact you academically?

So far I have gained valuable experience speaking and living among native German speakers. As a German minor, it has been my goal to improve my speaking comprehension, and living in Austria has helped me immensely. Already I have been able to see tremendous gains; more so in the three months I've been here than the two and a half years at Penn State. The overall experience has shown me that a culture is very nuanced and requires work outside the classroom in order to be understood. Above all, learning takes place at multiple levels and through many people, not just a professor in a classroom. It has been an experience-based learning environment, where personal ambition, curiosity, and self-motivation are crucial to one's development as a student and world citizen. I believe that those skills will translate well to life at Penn State and anywhere else I go in the future.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

I would ideally like to work in foreign service after college. The Department of State offers many excellent opportunities for recent college graduates with jobs in embassies abroad, as well as other positions in Washington, D.C. I would like to work in an embassy after school, and this study abroad experience has helped me to gain valuable language skills and cultural insight to an area that is a hotbed of diplomatic activity. The experience has shown me how critical it is to understand a culture before one can work in it. I may never work in Austria, but this experience has shown me the necessity and importance of dedicating oneself to understanding the people and history of a place where you will be working (assuming it is abroad).

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

Yes. Nothing has been more rewarding and eye-opening than experiencing a new country for the first time.

For more information on global experiences for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.

Miranda Holmes

SACI (Studio Art Centers International)
Up one level
Miranda Holmes

Major: Art BFA and French
Hometown: State College, PA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I found out about this study abroad program through the Arts and Architecture School at Penn State. A representative from SACI also came to talk to students about the school and its opportunities.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

SACI is situated in the heart of Florence and therefore is surrounded by art and history. It is a perfect school for students to attend if they are interested in art history and traditional art-making techniques. Even though I'm interested in more contemporary art, this program has still been beneficial to me. My classes are interesting without being too intensive, and I have been able to travel around Europe during these last few months. I feel like I've learned a lot about myself just by traveling around!

 I feel like I've learned a lot about myself just by traveling around!

How did this experience impact you academically?

I have been exposed to new areas of study that I might not have had access to at Penn State. I am taking an Installation and Performance Art class that has greatly broadened my horizons art-wise, and my Contemporary Art Theory class has exposed me to philosophical texts concerning art.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

I would like to go on to graduate school to study Fine Arts, and I would like to pursue my career as an artist and a professor at a University. Going to SACI has shown me to be careful about choosing an art school that focuses on the areas that I am interested in. While SACI has some opportunities to explore the contemporary art world, it is mainly a school interested in traditional art-making techniques; as I look into applying to graduate schools, I will keep this lesson in mind.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

If Liberal Arts students are interested in fulfilling art requirements this is a great place to go. SACI has a few classes that are not studio-art based, like Creative Writing, Art History, and Italian classes. 

For more information on global experiences for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.

Talia Weiss

Umbra Institue in Perugia
Up one level
Talia Weiss

Major: Anthropology
Minor: architecture and Jewish studies
Hometown: Potomac, MD

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I talked to my study abroad adviser about wanting a smaller program, slightly off the beaten path, that could cater both to immersing myself in Italian culture and archaeology.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

This experience has helped me grow so much as both a student and an individual. I went into this program knowing only one other person, my roommate. It was tough to adjust in the beginning, especially because I spoke no Italian. However, as my Italian studies progressed, so did my comfort in the city. Everyone is friendly and welcoming to helping you learn Italian, and many of the people here want help improving their English. While here, I have been working in three local museums; one with my archaeology class and two with a museum studies internship.

How did this experience impact you academically?

I have now had work experience in all areas of archaeology and museum studies, which will help me figure out an ultimate academic and career plan.

Working with the local curators and people here has solidified why I chose to study cultural anthropology.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

Although the museum internship has been extremely rewarding, I have learned that a career in museums is not what I would like to pursue. However, working with the local curators and people here has solidified why I chose to study cultural anthropology.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

Yes. It was an amazing experience that is very different than the typical abroad locations. Initially knowing only one other Penn State student in the program going into it allowed me to meet many .  It is a little harder to travel from for flights, but once you have mastered the train schedule it is just as easy as any other city.

For more information on global experiences for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.

Katherine Huskin

IES Abroad Rabat, Morocco
Up one level
Katherine Huskin

Major: International Relations and French
Minor: Global Health and International Studies
Hometown: Camp Hill, PA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

My mother works in study abroad and she told me about the program. I looked it up online and the reviews were wonderful and I felt like it was the perfect choice for my semester abroad.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

Part of the reason I chose to come to Morocco was that it was a country that I knew little about. It was a bit scary not really knowing what to expect, but IES did a wonderful job of teaching us about cultural norms and assimilating us into Moroccan culture. We have traveled to several big cities within Morocco as part of the program and after we completed orientation we have been given a fair amount of freedom to do what we like, though we do need to be smart about respecting Moroccan cultural norms. I like to think I have taken full advantage of the experience, taking part in an internship where I teach English to kids and adults, and following a French class at a local university. I have gotten to see a side of Morocco that few foreigners ever get to experience. I wouldn't change this experience for the world.

How did this experience impact you academically?

As a French and International Relations double-major, I have taken the two French classes offered at the IES center, and a class at the local university. Before I came to Morocco, I was already fluent in French, so I was able to take advantage of those opportunities with no difficulty. While the true local language is Darija, the Moroccan dialect of Arabic, I have gotten extensive opportunities to practice French and most Moroccans speak French fluently. I have tried to take up the native language to become more assimilated into the culture, and everyone has been so helpful and pleased that I am trying. IES students are also required to take 6 credits of Modern Standard Arabic, so regardless of whether you are interested in taking Arabic or not, you will. The program encourages using Arabic, and I have grown to appreciate that aspect. There were plenty of courses for me as a Liberal Arts major to choose from that related directly to my major. All of the classes really enhance the experience of living in Morocco and help the student gain perspective on the culture and its people. Classes are relatively easy, while you do have to do some work they are less demanding than classes at Penn State.

All of the classes really enhance the experience of living in Morocco and help the student gain perspective on the culture and its people.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

My future plans being involved in either a volunteer program that focuses on international development or the Peace Corps. After completing my graduate degree, I would like to found my own non-profit or non-governmental organization that focuses on women's rights or social development in less-developed countries. I want to approach this from a cooperative perspective, and work with locals to make efficient progress that respects the local culture. Luckily, the internship experience that IES offers focuses on NGO operations and the professor is an American who started her own NGO and has been living in Morocco for 20 years. Naturally, the experience has only reinforced my career goals and the reasons I want to pursue them, but it also makes me want to quit college and stay in Morocco forever.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would recommend this experience to other students who have similar approaches to life as me. Anyone choosing to go to Morocco needs to have an open mind to different perspectives that Americans might consider outdated. Cultural differences have largely not posed a problem for me, although I was an exchange student in high school, so I knew how to approach the conundrum of living abroad. You definitely have to be willing to be flexible and make the effort to assimilate into the culture, but if you manage to do that it is more than worth it. I think that most students would grow to adore Morocco as the alternative, transformative experience that it has been for me. I don't tend to exaggerate, but these last few months have been the best in my entire life, and it breaks my heart that it is halfway over already.

To find out more about global experiences for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.

Shana-Kay Hart

CIEE Santiago Dominican Republic Liberal Arts Spring 2016
Up one level
Shana-Kay Hart

Major: Communication Arts & Sciences, Spanish
Minor: Sociology
Hometown: Wynnewood, Pennsylvania

How did you learn about this opportunity?

Studying abroad has always been a dream of mine. When I began my college career, I knew immediately that it was something I wanted to pursue, so I began talking to my advisers very early on. They provided me with the information I needed to figure out where I wanted to go. I spent a lot of time researching different study abroad programs on Penn State's Education Abroad website, attended study abroad fairs and spoke to other students who studied abroad.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

I am studying abroad in the city of Santiago in the Dominican Republic. Since I am a Liberal Arts student, I am taking many classes that reflect upon the liberal arts aspect of a study abroad program. There are about thirty students in my program. I live with a homestay family, something I would definitely recommend for anyone who wants to learn a new language. Besides attending classes Monday to Thursday, my program offers excursions and field trips almost every Friday/weekend. These excursions offer us the opportunity to travel around the island and explore all that the Dominican Republic has to offer.

Throughout my time here, I have learned more about teamwork and interacting with people more than I ever had at any point in my life. 

How did this experience impact you academically?

Academically, this experience changed the way I view my education. Here in the Dominican Republic, they value collectivism whereas in the United States, individualism is more so valued. Throughout my time here, I have learned more about teamwork and interacting with people more than I ever had at any point in my life. I have learned the importance of asking for help, accepting help and working with others in order to achieve a goal or complete a task. Furthermore, because of the structure of the program and how our classes are scheduled for us, I have learned how to be flexible. It was a little hard at first to manage schoolwork with social activities, because we take many excursions and we are here to participate as much as possible in the Dominican culture. Eventually, though, I adapted and was able to balance my requirements.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

After completing my undergraduate studies at Penn State, I hope to attend graduate school or begin working. I hope to either work for the United Nations or Teach for America after graduating. Furthermore, I aspire to begin my own organization or education center, first in Jamaica and hopefully in other islands such as Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Last summer, I organized a fundraiser for an education center in Kingston, Jamaica. This encouraged me to further continue these activities in order to provide assistance to children who are struggling to finish their education due to lack of school supplies or the means to do so. After my time here in the Dominican Republic, seeing so many young children who are unable to access the education I believe we all deserve further encourages me to pursue creating my own education center (or something close) and to work for organizations that deal with providing and bettering educational opportunities for children around the world.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would definitely recommend this study abroad program to other Liberal Arts students. Too often, student choose places like Spain (or other European countries) for their study abroad experience and although there is nothing wrong with that, I think people should also consider places such as the Dominican Republic. Many people just think of the DR as a vacation or spring break spot, but the country is so much more than that. The people, the culture, the food, everything about this island is something I believe people should be aware about.

For more information about global experiences on Liberal Arts students, visit our website.

Sarah Ross

IAU Aix-en-Provence
Up one level
Sarah Ross

Major: International Politics
Minor: French and International Studies
Hometown: Jenkintown, PA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I learned about this opportunity through the PSU Education Abroad website. I checked out all the programs offered in France, and came across this one and thought it fit most of what I was looking for.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

This program has been the best experience of my life. Aix-en-Provence is a cute town, not too big, not too small, and there is easy access to all of the major cities. I highly recommend studying here. I live with a host family one mile away from the center. I get to live and breathe French culture. Studying French for eight years has extremely helped me in adjusting.

This program has been the best experience of my life.

How did this experience impact you academically?

This experienced has taught me more than I would ever learn anywhere else. Not only in the classroom, but we went on field trips and my eyes have been opened in such a better way. Learning about different religions and cultures and experiencing different religions in cultures has changed me forever. I could have never learned or experienced anything like this in the United States. I also have expanded my french. I can't even begin to explain how much my French has improved with this program.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

This has immensely impacted my life. I've always loved the French language and culture and I hope I can move back one day to a city in France and truly immerse myself so I can become fluent. This has also opened my mind in a way where I've changed some of my plans. I'm going to take some new classes next semester because of what I have learned here. Being here has also made me yearn for more traveling and cultural enrichment in other countries.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

Absolutely. IAU is a small school, so you really get to know the people around you. However, it is not so small that you meet everyone in the school over the course of a few months. You just become really immersed in the life and learn the quirks about the culture and the ability to adjust.

To learn more about Global Experiences for Liberal Arts students, visit our website

Daje' Johnson

IES: Study London
Up one level
Daje' Johnson

Major: Secondary Social Studies Education and History
Hometown: Pottstown, Pennsylvania

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I learned about this program through extensive research on the Penn State Education Abroad webpage. I spoke with both of my advisers to determine if this was the best program that would allow me to travel and complete my major requirements along the way.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

My experience has enlightened me on the British work culture. There are many similarities and differences between the two working cultures. Unlike my internship experiences in the U.S., I was able to contribute more in my internship abroad whether that be through market research or helping with the daily occurrences that arise in running a museum.  

How did this experience impact you academically?

This experience has positively influenced me academically. The program attempts to hybrid the American system of education with the British system of education. Once I got over the initial shock of finding out that my grade would be determined by two in-class essays, I changed my studying tactics. It was not easy to adjust academically but I have improved my writing skills over the course of the semester.

You will learn from places and people that you least expect to learn from. 

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

I plan to continue on to graduate school and earn my PhD in History. This experience has helped me to narrow down which fields in history I would like to study. Through my internship, I have become more comfortable working with a smaller institution. After interning at The Benjamin Franklin House, I have gained many skills that I did not think would be necessary when working in a museum.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students because London is such a diverse city. Everything is within a short walking distance of each other, especially in the center of London. You will learn from places and people that you least expect to learn from. After spending four months in this diverse city, I am convinced that I will apply for a job here after graduation.

For more information on global experiences for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.

Annabel Drayton

University Studies Abroad Consortium Chiang Mai, Thailand
Up one level
Annabel Drayton

Major: Anthropology
Minor: Sustainability Leadership
Hometown: Haverford, PA
Paterno Fellow

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I found out about USAC programs through online research. I knew I wanted to study in South or Southeast Asia and they offer very affordable programs.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

My time here has allowed me to really engage in a culture so different from anything in America. The combination of experiential and academic learning has helped foster so much personal growth for me and all the strong and beautiful people in my program. I'm getting the chance to travel to different countries and interact with different people and communities. I'm learning important life skills and a lot about myself. Most importantly, this experience is helping me value adventure and understand that no expectations can be the best way to enter the unknown. I'm so grateful for this experience and all the people who have helped me get here.

Most importantly, this experience is helping me value adventure and understand that no expectations can be the best way to enter the unknown.

How did this experience impact you academically?

I'm so grateful to be able to attend Chiang Mai University. Similar in size to Penn State, CMU is a massive institution for Thais and international students to study. My program has students from universities all over the United States in all different fields of study. Being exposed to people with different passions and different majors has taught me so much. I've learned so much from the other amazing people in my program and my Ajarns (professors). With classes in all different fields, I've had the opportunity to focus my anthropological studies specifically on northern Thailand. I'm involved in a field study program with the northern Hill Tribes and it's taken me to villages and to meet new people. This program is filled with opportunities for experiential learning and it has been so refreshing.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

I have a deep relationship with the natural world and a passion for helping the environment. I would love to start a career after college that combines environmental education, activism, and community engagement to promote positive social and environmental change. I'm open to all types of organizations and initiatives but my main goal is to share the same passions and goals as my employers. While I know my career will always be driven by my duty to protect our earth, I also have a love for teaching and practicing yoga and I know it is something I will continue to do. This program has helped me learn so much about people, social norms, human interaction with the environment and how it changes everywhere. I'm hoping to take what I have learned here and carry it with me through my future careers and plans.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would definitely recommend this experience to someone who is looking to step out of their comfort zone, experience a new culture, and meet different people with various passions and goals.

How has the Paterno Fellows Program had an impact on this experience?

If it weren't for the Paterno Fellows Program I wouldn't be at Penn State let alone living and studying in Thailand for a semester. The funding and guidance that Paterno Fellows has provided me with has directly contributed to my continuation of academic and experiential education. Without the opportunities they have provided, I wouldn't have gone through so much positive personal growth during my first three years at Penn State. I am so grateful for the opportunity they have provided for me and other students. Paterno Fellows has supported not just in my studies in Thailand but also in other out-of-the-classroom learning experiences I've sought out. This experience has greatly shaped my undergraduate education and will continue to help guide me in my future endeavors.

For more information on global experiences for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.

Kari Peterson

CIEE: Advanced Liberal Arts Seville
Up one level
Kari Peterson

Major: History and Spanish
Hometown: Berwyn, PA
Paterno Fellow

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I found out about this experience while researching study abroad opportunities online using the Penn State Education Abroad program search. I also talked with Spanish study abroad advisors to further choose which program I wanted to participate in.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

So far, my experience has been everything I hoped for and more. I am having an amazing time while also immersing myself in a culture and language I am interested and passionate about, Spanish. I have been given the opportunity to study in a Spanish University, the University of Sevilla, an opportunity that not all study abroad students are offered. My program also gives many options for cultural experiences and visits in our free time which I have taken advantage of. Furthermore, I have been able to travel throughout Spain and around Europe and learn from new cultures and experiences, a goal of mine when deciding to study abroad. Lastly, I have formed many great relationships with the amazing people directing, teaching, and participating in my program.

How did this experience impact you academically?

Studying abroad in Spain has greatly improved my Spanish language skills. Not only am I immersed in a culture where Spanish is the main language spoken, but I also have further immersed myself by studying at a Spanish University. All of my classes are taught in Spanish with the majority of the students being native Spanish speakers. Furthermore, I have had to do readings, research, and write papers in Spanish on advanced topics, often dealing with Spanish history or literature. This experience has been a challenge but my Spanish has improved and continues to improve each day. As a History major as well, I also am taking a few Spanish history classes which has been extremely interesting to me and a topic I had never learned about before.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

After graduation I hope to volunteer abroad in a Spanish speaking country through the Peace Corps or other program. I would want to either work with children or teach English. Studying abroad in Spain has improved my Spanish skills and is moving me towards fluency. I would be more prepared to move to a Spanish speaking country and volunteer. Furthermore, I am volunteering in the public school system here in Sevilla and working as a cultural and language assistant with Spanish children. This experience will also help prepare me for the type of volunteer work I would like to do after graduation.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

Yes, but only if you are a Spanish major because the program is indeed advanced and requires a higher understanding of Spanish. If I did not have my extensive background in Spanish I would have had a lot more trouble adjusting to being in Sevilla, due to the strong accent, and to my classes taught completely in native Spanish.

Volunteering in Spain has been one of my most memorable and rewarding experiences that I have taken part in so far during my time studying abroad.

How has the Paterno Fellows Program had an impact on this experience?

The Paterno Fellows Program has required me to participate in volunteer work for a certain number of hours, pushing me to volunteer as a Spanish and literacy tutor for children in the State College School District. This experience inspired me to continue this type of volunteer work in Spain with Spanish children. Volunteering in Spain has been one of my most memorable and rewarding experiences that I have taken part in so far during my time studying abroad. Not only have I been able to help students with their English, but I also have learned a lot about the Spanish culture as the students love telling me about Sevilla and what they do in school and in their spare time.

For more information on global experiences for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.

 

Corey Everley

Athens, Greece Program
Up one level
Corey Everley

Major: History & Anthropology
Minor: French, Classic Ancient Mediterranean Studies, and International Studies
Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA
Paterno Fellow 

How did you learn about this opportunity?

The Athens Program is one of the most advertised programs within the Classic Ancient Mediterranean Studies (CAMS) department. They have former students and representatives come to speak during CAMS courses every semester. However, I personally had 2 friends that I was very close with that did this program in previous semesters and had nothing but excellent things to say. As a History major with minors in International Studies and CAMS, this program allowed me to finish criteria in several of my fields. For other students, I would recommend talking to students who have previously attended a specific program while taking into consideration which program would benefit them the most in their academic and personal lives.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

The Athens Program is designed around the History and Archaeology of Greece. For the majority of my stay in Greece, the program was based in Athens, allowing us to study important sites such as the Acropolis, the Athenian Agora, and the Temple of Olympian Zeus as well as study at Museums such as the National Archaeology Museum or the Acropolis Museum. During the 90 days that we were in Greece, we traveled to major sites such as Delphi, Corinth, Sparta, Mycenae, Marathon, and Knossos, traveling several places on the main land, in the Peloponnese and on Crete. Of all of the archaeological sites, my favorite would likely be Acrocorinth, the Acropolis of Ancient Corinth that was later transformed into a fortress that was used all the way through the Crusades. My favorite town or city by far was Nafplio, a town right on the coast that, as a shipping town, was fought over repeatedly by the Venetians and the Ottomans.

How did this experience impact you academically?

As a History major with a focus on ancient and medieval Europe, I have spent my entire college career writing papers and essays about places that I had only been able to see on a screen or a page. By actually being able to go to the archaeological sites that I had read about and seeing many different artifacts gave me the opportunity to make my own references. This experience also allowed for me to hear from many different professors and professionals that all had different views and arguments for their theories on archaeology and history.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

After finishing my undergraduate career at Penn State, I plan on attending law school. As an honors student, I decided to write my Senior Honors Thesis on a topic that would aid me later on in my law career, focusing on the politics and law in Ancient Greece compared to Medieval Britain. By actually being able to study in Greece and focus greatly on Athens and its ancient democracy, I have been able to gain a more focused insight into politics and law that greatly influenced the rest of the world. In addition, this time abroad has given me more insight into the news around the world. While abroad, I did volunteer work with the refugees from Syria and other parts of the Middle East. This insight into the lives of other humans around the world has resulted in me rethinking what types of law I am interested in.

This insight into the lives of other humans around the world has resulted in me rethinking what types of law I am interested in.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would definitely recommend this program to any Liberal Arts student, especially those with an interest in History or Greece. This trip has allowed me to see life outside of the bubble that we live in within the United States, especially as college students at Penn State.

How has the Paterno Fellows Program had an impact on this experience?

When I originally began to consider becoming a Paterno Fellow, the biggest concern of mine was the requirement of studying abroad. I had only left the country once before and I knew that a semester living in another country would require a large amount of money. The first thing I did when considering whether or not to take the challenge was talk to my parents, who surprisingly said that if this was something that I really wanted to pursue, we would figure out a way to make this work. They knew the benefits of being a Paterno Fellow outweighed the costs. I know without being a member of the Program, I likely never would have had the opportunity to study abroad at all.

For more information on global experiences for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.

Haley Guay

IES Abroad - Madrid
Up one level
Haley Guay

Major: Psychology
Minor: Labor & Employment Relations; Spanish
Hometown: Roanoke Rapids, NC

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

Studying abroad was one of the best decisions I made in college. Not only did I develop my language skills, I learned how to navigate my new world and explore other cultures. I also gained an incredible amount of knowledge about Europe and the country in which I lived and made lasting relationships. While there was a lot to do in my host country, I had the opportunity to travel to many countries in Europe. I took advantage of the accessible public transportation and flexible class schedule.

Not only did I develop my language skills, I learned how to navigate my new world and explore other cultures.

How did this experience impact you academically?

My Spanish skills improved tremendously, and I learned a great deal about the culture of Madrid. My classes were tailored to the Spanish culture so I learned about important topics relevant to Spain, such as business etiquette, art, and history. I was also able to fulfill most of my Spanish minor credits. Overall, I think the advantage of studying abroad is learning from professionals who are accustomed to the country and have a wealth of knowledge. While I learned about the subject matter in the classroom, I also learned about the people and way of life in Spain through class discussions and debates. In addition, I developed my time management skills and traveling skills.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

Upon my return to the United States, I will be prepared to graduate. I will work as a Human Resources Generalist for a company outside Baltimore, MD. There I will develop my skills in the field and potentially go back to school for a Masters in Education or PhD. in Psychology. Studying abroad has impacted my career goals by helping me develop my language skills and understand my strengths and room for improvement. My business course taught me skills that I can apply to the workplace, such as reviewing a resume from a Spanish business perspective and interacting with other professionals in a Spanish speaking country.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

Yes, I would recommend studying abroad to other Liberal Arts students. However, I advise students to have a better understanding of how their credits will transfer back to Penn State and communicate concerns to their advisers.

For more information on global experiences for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.

 

Emily Montague

CEA
Up one level
Emily Montague

Major: Psychology
Minor: Business
Hometown: Churchville, PA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I found out about this experience through other Penn State students who participated in this program in past years.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

My experience has been absolutely amazing and life changing. It has allowed me to grow as an individual, as well as become more mature and independent. This was definitely a big step out of my comfort zone but I am so unbelievably grateful and appreciative that I have been fortunate enough to be able to take part in this experience. Living on my own so far from home has been difficult but taught me so much about myself. Additionally, having to manage my time, money, belongings, etc. has been a challenge, but the reward of traveling and being able to experience other cultures and lifestyles is indescribable and something I will treasure for the rest of my life.

The reward of traveling and being able to experience other cultures and lifestyles is indescribable and something I will treasure for the rest of my life.

How did this experience impact you academically?

Academically, this experience has been very different from the rest of my college experience. I have been fortunate enough to be able to take more hands on courses that teach me about the culture that I am immersing myself in, as well as a lot of history and explanation about my religion - being that the catholic faith is a very prominent and important part of the history of Florence, as well as Italy as a whole. It is refreshing to be able to learn so much about this subject area, something that I would not have the opportunity to do at Penn State in my current major. Additionally, being able to experience the amazing and historic art and architecture that is present all over Florence is something that cannot be experienced anywhere else.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

My career goals are to eventually receive my PhD in psychology and become a practicing psychologist. I believe this experience has impacted them because I have been exposed to so many new and eye-opening situations and individuals that have taught me so much. I have been put in situations in which I have been forced to think differently than I am used to, which will allow me to be able to better relate to many different situations that I may have to deal with in the profession of psychology. Meeting people from all over the world has taught me so much about why people are they way they are and how to relate to people of all dimensions.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

Yes I would 100% recommend study abroad to any college student, especially Liberal Arts students. The College of the Liberal Arts has been more than helpful and accommodating, for that I am truly grateful. Additionally, Liberal Arts students have a passion for the topics that are closely tied to the experience of new cultures, people, and ideas.

For more information on global experiences for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.

Natalie Guarna

IES: Barcelona - Liberal Arts & Business
Up one level
Natalie Guarna

Major: Psychology, Advertising
Minor: International Studies
Hometown: Newtown

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

My semester study abroad experience in Barcelona has far surpassed my expectations. Not only has it undoubtedly been the best four months of my life, but I have grown and matured more than I would have thought possible in this short period of time. Often when students speak of their favorite experiences while studying abroad, they go immediately to weekend travel. Most of my greatest experiences abroad, however, took place in my homestay. I lived with a Spanish host mom in her apartment with another American student. She speaks no English, and I am in Spanish level 2. Living in her home was the defining aspect of my experience abroad. It is amazing how much you can learn from someone who, upon first meeting, you couldn't speak more than 10 words to.

Not only has it been undoubtedly the best four months of my life, but I have grown and matured more than I would have thought possible in this short period of time.

How did this experience impact you academically?

After this experience, I am beginning to question the academic path I am currently taking. I had not much considered it before, but I am certain that I want to incorporate travel into my career, and I'll need to alter my academic path to facilitate that. Living in Spain has opened my eyes to different educational options, when previously I had only considered much more traditional options.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

Right now, I'm not completely certain about my career goals and plans. I know for certain that I'd like my job to involve travel, at least in the earlier years while I am young. I plan to pursue a higher-level degree, though I'm not sure what type or in what field. I am interested in consumer behavior research as it relates to both psychology and marketing. My study abroad experience opened my eyes to different possibilities, as I learned about cultures that define success in the same manner as Americans. This variation both consoles and inspires me.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would most certainly recommend this study abroad program to other Liberal Arts students. It was the best four months of my life, and I would give anything to live it over again.

For more information on global experiences for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.

Alicia Gencarelli

Arcadia: Perugia, Umbra Institute
Up one level
Alicia Gencarelli

Major: English
Minor: Film Studies, Italian
Hometown: Pequannock, NJ
Paterno Fellow 

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I heard about this experience through Scott Runner from the Penn State Education Abroad office. I told him that I was interested in studying in Florence, but he referred me to the Umbra Institute instead because he felt that I would be more immersed in the Italian culture in Perugia. I also spoke with one of the members of the Italian Department faculty who told me that if I really wanted to learn about the Italian language and culture, then I should study in Perugia.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

My experience thus far has been very positive. I came to Italy somewhat confident in my language skills and knowledge of the culture because my entire family comes from Italy. However, having been here for about three months, I can say that my language skills have improved tremendously. I interact with native Italian speakers everyday and have even become friends with many of the other kids who are from Perugia. The people here are friendly, and the atmosphere is welcoming. It was also a pleasant surprise coming here and seeing how helpful the people of Perugia are if you are having trouble with the language. They understand that there are many foreign students here, and they try their best to help us. Finally, Perugia is one of the most beautiful cities I have ever been to. It has some of the most incredible panoramas in Italy, as the center is situated on top of a mountain.

How did this experience impact you academically?

Because I am an Italian minor, one of the main reasons I chose to study in Italy was to learn the language and become as fluent as possible. With still one more month left, I feel as though I will reach that goal. The Italian professors here work hard to improve our Italian by conducting each Italian class in Italian. No English is spoken during those class periods, which has been incredibly helpful. Furthermore, it's always easier learning a language from a native speaker, which are the professors here at Umbra Institute.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

As of now, I would like to become an editor for a publishing house someday. However, I know that in the near future I would like to come back to Italy to either work for a journal publication or teach English for a while because I have fallen in love with this country. This study abroad experience has given me the opportunity to improve my Italian language skills and to learn, hands-on, about the culture and the way of life in Italy. Therefore, I feel much more confident now about coming back and working here after college.

This study abroad experience has given me the opportunity to improve my Italian language skills and to learn, hands-on, about the culture and the way of life in Italy. 

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would certainly recommend a study abroad experience to every Liberal Arts student because although college itself is a time to become more independent, nothing compares to living alone in a different, non-English speaking country where communication is actually something that becomes a struggle. Being here, I feel like I have grown independently more in these three months than I have in 2 1/2 years of college. I learned to adapt to a lifestyle and a culture that I had never experienced before for this length of time and although it was difficult at first, I have never felt more accomplished. The world suddenly becomes a much more interesting place because you aren't in a country where you know the accepted behaviors, attitudes, and habits--those become things you must learn over time. In addition, my love for traveling and my fascination with other cultures have grown tremendously. I can't wait to experience and learn about different cultures because I have developed such an appreciation for the incredible diversity that inhabits our world. It's beautiful and humbling; and I believe that any student who wishes to become more educated should complete at least one study abroad experience, in order to truly understand what it means to live in a global community.

How has the Paterno Fellows Program had an impact on this experience?

The Paterno Fellows Program has impacted this experience for me by challenging me to widen my boundaries and to pursue this study abroad program.

For more information on global experiences for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.

Shirly Mayer

IES Barcelona
Up one level
Shirly Mayer

Major: Labor and Employment Relations
Minor: Psychology
Hometown: Weston, FL

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I learned about this enrichment experience from various people at Penn State. My primary source of information was my adviser. She brought the idea to my attention. After learning about the opportunity from my adviser I talked to students who had previously studied abroad to learn more about the experience and lastly I researched through the Penn State Education Abroad search tool. All of this information really helped in making my decision to study abroad.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

My experience studying abroad in Barcelona, Spain has been incredible. I have learned so much about another culture and way of life and this has really helped me to learn more about myself. I have had the opportunity to travel to more than 10 different countries while studying in Europe and each trip has been better than the last. I have been given the opportunity to meet so many new people from the United States, Barcelona and from all around the world. This has been a life changing experience and one that I recommend to anyone who may be interested in partaking on this semester abroad.

I have learned so much about another culture and way of life and this has really helped me to learn more about myself.

How did this experience impact you academically?

This experience of studying abroad has impacted me academically in many ways. For starters I have been exposed to the Spanish educational system, which is very different than the educational system in the United States. Having to adapt to these changes has allowed me to learn better ways of studying and understanding concepts. I have learned to approach my academics with different perspectives. Likewise, I have been given the opportunity to take useful credits that I can use for my major in a different country.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

This experience of studying abroad has experienced me academically in many ways. For starters I have been exposed to the Spanish educational system, which is very different than the educational system in the United States. The ways that teachers teach the material is different, the grading system is different and the overall attitudes towards grades and GPA is different in Spain. All of these differences have allowed me to look at my academics with a different perspective. Having to adapt to these changes has allowed me to learn better ways of studying and understanding concepts that I will bring back with me to the Penn State to use for the remainder of my educational years.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

Yes, I would definitely recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students because it is an experience unlike any other. Studying abroad in a different country for a semester has allowed me to grow as a person both socially and academically. I have learned more about myself by learning more about the world. This is an unforgettable experience that everyone should have the opportunity to partake in.

For more information on global experiences for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.

Diane Feeney

CIEE Liberal Arts
Up one level
Diane Feeney

Major: Psychology
Minor: Spanish
Hometown: Hillsborough, NJ

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I knew many people who had the opportunity to study abroad before, and I knew that I wanted to go somewhere to enrich my Spanish skills. I first did research on all of my options in Europe and South America, and spoke with friends who went to different places. After narrowing my decision down, I spoke with a Penn State Education Abroad adviser who pointed me towards programs matching  my interest and what would transfer to count at Penn State, etc. Looking at other people's experiences helped me the most, and then my adviser helped me to bring everything full circle and decide on a city and a program.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

My time abroad was the most positive, awesome experience I could have ever wanted. I traveled to places I never dreamed of being able to travel to, and I learned more than I ever thought would be possible. I lived in a homestay with a Spanish woman and her granddaughter, and I took all of my classes in Spanish, so I spoke Spanish more often than I spoke English! My program gave us the opportunity to travel to places near Seville so I saw tons of different parts of Spain. They matched us with a Spanish student so that we can practice our conversational skills in a comfortable environment with a student our age. There are very, very few things that I would change about my experience, if any.

I traveled to places I never dreamed of being able to travel to, and I learned more than I ever thought would be possible.

How did this experience impact you academically?

My Spanish has improved tenfold. While I was able to speak it proficiently before arriving in Spain, my confidence while speaking is significantly higher now and I am able to have a conversation with anyone, regardless of the topic. My classes have also taught me a ton about Spanish politics and history, which are things I never thought I'd have the opportunity to learn, but they are now part of my daily life and I was even able to incorporate what I had learned into conversations with my host mom and my professors.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

I would like to work in human resources in my future career. I have an internship lined up in Texas this summer and I'm looking forward to incorporating my new found worldviews into my professional life. In the future, I would love to be able to work for a company and be able to travel and use my love for traveling in my professional life, helping companies in other countries to build up their staff and show them ways to improve. Incorporating my Spanish skills in a job would be awesome; I would love to keep being able to speak this much Spanish even back in America.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

Absolutely. My program has been extremely helpful. The move to a new country was very weird and confusing, and they were extremely helpful by putting us into orientation groups and acclimating us to the new culture we were in. My program makes us take our classes in Spanish, and at first I was very nervous for this, but it's one of the things that has made my Spanish improve so much. The amount of traveling that we are able to do is also amazing, and it's really a once in a lifetime opportunity that we are able to take full advantage of.

For more information on global experiences for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.

Jessica Chesloski

International Studies Institute
Up one level
Jessica Chesloski

Major: Political Science, Communications Arts and Sciences
Minor: International Studies
Hometown: Pennsburg, PA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

Studying Abroad is something that I have always wanted to do. Penn State makes it really easy to find out the information that you need to know. All you have to do is go to the PSU Education Abroad website.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

I studied abroad in Florence, Italy. Florence is a city in Tuscany; it is the perfect size for being a city. It is small enough so that you can get familiar, but it still offers a variety of places to explore and experiences. It is antique while being modern. I love Italy and especially Florence. Florence feels like home now. While studying in Europe, I took advantage of being close to other countries. My roommates and I traveled to many different cities within Europe. This improved our traveling skills, and opened us up to many different cultures. We tried different cuisines, and met new people.

How did this experience impact you academically?

During this experience, I have learned numerous things that one cannot learn in a classroom. Studying abroad pushes you outside of your comfort zone, which is when you really start to learn about yourself. Traveling to different places will bring up situations that you will not encounter in the United States. Other than leaving your comfort zone, it also gives you a chance to learn from other people. My professors in Italy were extremely knowledgeable and taught me about not only about the class material, but about Italy as well. I learned about food and the history of food in a way that was never taught to me before. I also got to learn a language in the country where it is spoke, and this helped me pick up the language faster and interact with the locals more.

Studying abroad pushes you outside of your comfort zone, which is when you really start to learn about yourself.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

I am interested in working with policy and going into governmental affairs. This opportunity allowed me to see other people’s way of looking at things. I also got to study Italian politics in Italy, and it is interesting to see how they deal with situations compared to how the United States does. Learning a different language will help me when encountering other Italians in the life and in the work force. If I ever decide to go into a job where international policy and politics is involved this experience will help me to better understand it. Traveling this semester has allowed me not only learn first hand but will help me in my future career.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would recommend every student to study abroad. It is an experience that pushes you in a way that you will not be pushed in the United States. There are also numerous places to see in the world, and one will most likely never get the opportunity or the time to travel. College students are at the perfect age to travel, and it forces one to become even more independent and develop as a person. A student who studies abroad will gain valuable life lesson and skills that cannot be taught within a classroom.

For more information on global experiences for Liberal Arts students, visit our website. 

Georgina Aguirre Lopez

Montpellier Intensive Track
Up one level
Georgina Aguirre Lopez

Major: Communication arts & sciences
Minor: Spanish, French
Hometown: Gettysburg

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I went to an PSU Education Abroad Fair to learn more about studying abroad in a French-speaking country. There, I got to speak to several people in the program.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

My experience so far has been wonderful. It is more than anything I could ever imagine. Life in France is so different from that in the United States, yet living her has been so enlightening. I have had the opportunity to learn a lot about the French culture and traditions, as well as the language of course. I have also had the chance of traveling often, which has helped with my social skills. I would definitely recommend studying abroad to someone that is looking into this option as it has so much more to offer than just taking classes in a different country.

Studying abroad has taught me a lot about myself and who I am as a person.

How did this experience impact you academically?

Academically, I can say that I have learned a lot about the French education system. I have enrolled in classes that I do not think I would have taken back in the US, which has really helped with my French. The classes I am currently taking are very differently taught to classes in the US. Teaching techniques vary from class-to-class, but I believe French professors, overall, have a different style of teaching. The classes themselves are going well. I think my classes are a bit difficult at times, but what would life be without a challenge?

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

As far as my career goal, I plan to finish at Penn State and head to law school, although I am not certain as to what type of lawyer I would like to be. I can absolutely say that this experience impacted me on a whole new level. I have worked on my social skills, bettered my writing, and overall I have had the chance to learn a bit of how France works politically and educationally, which is completely different to the American system.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would definitely recommend studying abroad to other Liberal Arts students. Studying abroad not only helps with academic goals, but it gives you an experience like no other. Studying abroad has taught me a lot about myself and who I am as a person. I also had the chance to meet several students from all over the world, which is great to have those kinds of connections.

For more information on global experiences for Liberal Arts students, visit our website. 

Leah Davis

Athens, Greece
Up one level
Leah Davis

Major: Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies
Minor: None
Hometown: Richmond

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I learned about this opportunity while researching study abroad opportunities on the PSU Education Abroad website.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

I have been in Athens, Greece for the past three months. I've attended classes such as Modern Greek, Ancient Greek Archaeology, Byzantine History, Herodotus and his World, and Athenian Mythology. Along with classes I've observed archaeological digs and ancient ruins. We visited ancient sites such as the Athenian Acropolis, Ancient Sparta, Ancient Olympia, and Mycenae. I’ve also been able to travel outside of Greece on weekends to experience other countries and cultures. On this trip I’ve been able to observe and experience things I never thought I would in my lifetime. If I could, I would do it all over again.

Actually visiting the archaeological sites while we studied about them in class was an enormous help in understanding the concepts we learned about.

How did this experience impact you academically?

Academically, this program has introduced me to some of the best professors I have ever had. Their knowledge and love for the fields they teach made me confident that I made the right decision majoring in Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies. Actually visiting the archaeological sites while we studied about them in class was an enormous help in understanding the concepts we learned about. Seeing the sites in person helped to compare them all rather than just looking at a slide show. Our group was a tiny group of eight students, which helped more with personal discussions in the classroom.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

My career goals after college include continuing into the field of either Libraries or Archival Studies. Athens was a wonderful place to get to know people in both of those fields. The director of the program took us to the Gennadius Library here in Athens, and we got to meet the Archivist and Librarians. The archivist currently working at the library gave us a presentation of different rare and important artifacts that are being preserved there. We also got to see some of the archives kept at the American School of Classical studies. I got to speak with the Archivists about further schooling, and what it entails to become one myself.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I definitely would. This program has taught me so much about another culture while also making me appreciate my own a little more. I visited places I never thought would be imaginable for me.

For more information on global experiences for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.

Laura Kastner

Umbra Institute - Perugia, Italy
Up one level
Laura Kastner

Major: Communication Arts & Sciences; Statistics
Minor: none
Hometown: Niantic, CT

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I browsed study abroad programs on the PSU Education Abroad website and spoke with two study abroad peer mentors who studied in Perugia and Florence. I decided on Perugia because it sounded like the most authentic experience I could get.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

Studying in Perugia allowed for a cultural immersion unlike any other program in Italy. Because we were the only Americans in the city aside from the occasional tourist, we were able to practice speaking Italian with the locals and have a more authentic experience overall. Aside from my time in Perugia, I traveled to Florence, Rome, Milan, Venice, the Amalfi Coast, and Cinque Terre. Outside of Italy, I visited Greece, Switzerland, and Malta.

How did this experience impact you academically?

This experience allowed me to complete my Paterno Fellows Program language requirement and improve my Italian skills in a way that studying at Penn State never would have. Aside from having the opportunity to speak with Italians, the Italian classroom itself was much more verbal and increased my fluency a lot. Additionally, I was able to satisfy my two general education art class requirements by taking Fresco Painting and Photography, and I can't think of a better place to take either of those classes.

My time here has helped me learn about myself in ways I never would have been able to elsewhere.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

This experience made me rethink my previous income-over-passion approach to careers, simply by presenting me with the time and the situations to learn more about myself. It also made me realize how many places there are to love in the world, and put finding a way to work in London on my radar for the future!

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

Absolutely! My time here has helped me learn about myself in ways I never would have been able to elsewhere. It taught me to put things in perspective, to roll with the punches, and to take risks by putting myself in initially uncomfortable situations. Aside from having so much fun, any student who studies in Perugia will come back a very different person!

How has the Paterno Fellows Program had an impact on this experience?

If it were not for the Paterno Fellows Program, I would not have chosen Perugia. I needed to find a program that offered classes that would allow me to satisfy the post-12th-credit-level language requirement, and the Umbra Institute's Intensive Intermediate Italian did just that! That requirement and class alone brought me here, and I'm so thankful that it did! I'm not sure that I would have felt as at home in many other cities.

For more information on global experiences for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.

Shannon Greenbaum

CIEE International Business and Culture: Sevilla, Spain
Up one level
Shannon Greenbaum

Major: Marketing and International Relations
Minor: Spanish, International Business
Hometown: Carlisle, PA

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

Since the beginning of the semester, I have been lucky enough to study abroad in Sevilla, Spain. While in Sevilla I take classes at a local university, live with a host family, and, on weekends, plan trips around Europe. Thus far I have been able to visit many different sites in Spain as well as travel to London, Italy and Morocco. The experience has been unbelievable, and I have made friends that I know will last a life time. I have also been using the time abroad to work on my thesis for Schreyer Honors College.

How did this experience impact you academically?

I have been able to study Spanish with native Spanish speakers, which has been extremely beneficial for my Spanish minor. I feel like my Spanish has improved immensely since being immersed in the culture. As part of my International relations major, I have been able to study the history of United States and Spanish relations and have also learned how to adapt to cultural differences while in Spain. The experience has not been an easy one, but I feel that learning to adapt to a different culture and language has been extremely beneficial.

The experience has not been an easy one, but I feel that learning to adapt to a different culture and language has been extremely beneficial.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

In the future I would love to work for a fitness company such as Nike or Reebok as part of their international marketing team. Obviously, this may include living abroad or, at the very least, a significant amount of traveling. Studying abroad has given me a taste of what that could possibly entail. I have been able to improve my Spanish which means that I will now be able to communicate for the business in Central American and South America as well as Spain. Overall, it has been an incredible experience that I will absolutely be mentioning in future interviews.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would recommend study abroad to ANY liberal arts student. I think it is very important to leave the United States and learn about another culture and language. It provides a lot of perspective.

For more information on global experiences for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.

Gregory Collins

Arcadia Study Abroad Perugia
Up one level
Gregory Collins

Major: Italian/Global and International Studies
Minor: None
Hometown: Mahopac

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I spoke with several individuals at a study abroad fair and also with my academic adviser at the time.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

I spent a period of four months studying Italian at the Perugian University for Foreigners, which meant intensely studying the language as well as the local and national culture. There were many instances of being able to travel throughout Italy to see what made each region unique from the others, and there were opportunities to experience the local culture during my time in the city. 

Studying abroad in Italy enhanced my understanding of many facets of Italian culture while helping to improve my established knowledge of the Italian language.

How did this experience impact you academically?

Studying abroad in Italy enhanced my understanding of many facets of Italian culture while helping to improve my established knowledge of the Italian language. Although the entirety of the experience wasn't so academically challenging, I was most definitely able to learn and experience things which would not have been possible back at Penn State.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

My career goal is to become a foreign language interpreter/translator with a focus on Italian, and possibly a focus on Chinese as well. I believe that this experience abroad has only made my desire to attain this job stronger. I was able to experience something extremely similar to what I believe that job would entail in the future and I found it just as enjoyable and rewarding as I imagined.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

Yes, but I would say that you should be well aware of what the experience entails, because it is very different from the typical American university system. If you were aiming specifically to learn more about the Italian university experience, then this will be a great opportunity, but I would otherwise recommend studying at the Umbra Institute rather than the University for Foreigners.

For more information on global experiences for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.

Katelyn Humphrey

IES Abroad- Rome
Up one level
Katelyn Humphrey

Major: Supply Chain Management; Communication Arts and Sciences
Minor: International Business
Hometown: West Chester

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I learned about study abroad in general when I came to Penn State and heard how popular it was. However, I learned about the process and program options through both the Education Abroad fair held in Alumni Hall and through the Education Abroad 101 meeting during my freshman year. During my sophomore year, I set up a meeting with the international advisor for Smeal. Maureen and I sat down one day and looked at many of the study abroad options for Italy, which included many different cities. I did do some other research online as well about the best cities in Italy to study abroad and read personal reviews written about the different programs. The IES program that I chose is affiliated with Penn State so it made the application and enrolment process easier. Thankfully I knew which country I wanted to study in, but my best advice for a future study abroad student would be take time sorting through each of the countries and then cities and then programs available to find the program that really fulfills your study abroad goals.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

If I had to describe my study abroad experience thus far in one word, I would say "unreal." However, I really am here and I know for sure that this is all real life. I constantly find myself looking at something with my mouth gaping open because of the beauty. Europe is so full of culture, history, and amazing sights to see that I feel like I could stay here forever and still never see it all. I am currently studying in Rome, but I travel to other destinations almost every weekend. In just my short time here, I have fallen in love with Rome. I am enrolled in 5 classes, all of which have a strong correlation to Rome itself. We take field trips multiple times a week and learn about the art or the architecture first-hand rather than through a text book. I have made great friends here already whom I know I will cherish forever. I also live with an Italian student who helped to make the acclimation process stress-free. She has been a vital resource in helping me to improve my Italian skills. Overall, my eye-opening and exciting experience in Europe has been everything I could have hoped for.

How did this experience impact you academically?

Being abroad has encouraged me to take classes that I never would have thought to take at home at Penn State. At first I was a bit discouraged that I could not get credits to count towards either of my majors; however, it ended up benefiting me overall as a student. Here in Rome, in addition to an Italian course and a business course, I am able to also take art history, religion and mythology courses. These classes are fulfilling my general education requirements, however more importantly, they are making me a more well-rounded student. After just two months of classes, I already have a greater appreciation for the subjects I am now studying since I never would have thought to take these classes at Penn State. In addition to broadening my class range, I am also able to work towards my international business minor while studying here.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

Upon earning my undergraduate degree at Penn State, I plan to earn my MBA in Supply Chain Management. During my final semesters, I will be applying for graduate school to further my education. However, in order to help afford graduate school, I plan to start my career in the Supply Chain Management field immediately following graduation. Hopefully having a beginning career while attending school will help me to gain experience in the field. Studying in Rome will benefit my future career plans because of my International Business minor. This coming summer, I will be interning with DuPont, a company that takes pride in its international endeavors. Having just come back from Italy when I begin this internship, I feel as though I will have an advantage because of my hands-on experiences in Europe. When I go into the work force full-time, I will have the opportunity to fulfill my long-term goals of working internationally since I will know about the cultures, lifestyle, and languages of overseas nations.

No matter where a student studies abroad, I think he or she will benefit from the courses, but mostly from the new experiences.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

Yes, I would definitely recommend studying abroad to all students. Not only am I being given the opportunity to take new types of classes, but I also am completely stepping out of my comfort zone. Before coming abroad, I didn’t like the city, was scared to take public transportation and had never been anywhere where English wasn’t the predominate language. Coming to Italy, I am no longer afraid to explore unknown places, I have improved my Italian speaking skills, and I have overall become a more confident person. No matter where a student studies abroad, I think he or she will benefit from the courses, but mostly from the new experiences. Many students hesitate about studying abroad due to their course load and finances, but I definitely think that any schedule can be worked out to include some time abroad. I also have seen first-hand how much putting the time into applying for scholarships can pay off to make it an affordable experience.

How has the Paterno Fellows Program had an impact on this experience?

The biggest way that Paterno Fellows Program has impacted my study abroad experience has been through encouraging me to learn a second language. I had already taken years of Spanish in high school, but the language requirement of Paterno Fellows encouraged me to choose a new language. As soon as I started taking Italian classes, I fell in love with both the language and the culture. As I learned more and more, I decided that I needed to experience Italy for myself— and study abroad seemed like the best way to experience it. Through the help of professors and extremely helpful advisors, I was finally able to make this dream a reality.

For more information on global experiences for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.

Megan Wisniewski

Research: Social Change & Democracy in America
Up one level
Megan Wisniewski

Paterno Fellow
Major: Sociology
Minor: International Studies
Hometown: State College

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I learned about this research opportunity by talking with my professor, Dr. Samar Farage. I visited Dr. Farage in office hours, and she explained her research interests. After we realized our research interests aligned, we decided to take on a research project together.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

Every week, Dr. Farage and I meet to discuss my research progress. I am writing a paper about social change and democracy in America. I analyze current news articles as well as read books revolving around the subject. One of the main focuses on the paper is the use of social media in regards to social movements, such as the Occupy Wall Street movement as well as this presidential election. The paper also touches upon public health, and how the use of social media can unite as well as alienate us as a society. Dr. Farage has conducted prior research in this area, so her insight and guidance is invaluable in this enrichment process.

Having a faculty mentor like Dr. Farage helped me shape my undergraduate career and my professional pursuits after college.

How did this experience impact you academically?

I earned three credits for independent research in Sociology for undergoing this research project. Through this research experience, I have established a strong personal relationship with Dr. Farage. She has guided me in the research process, which is critical to be successful in my undergraduate studies. The skills I have learned from this experience I have employed in other classes, including writing my honors thesis as well as my capstone paper. In addition, Dr. Farage has been a great career and academic advisor. Her advice has helped me mold my future academic and professional pursuits in Sociology. Dr. Farage also serves as a great reference for future employers and graduate schools due to her immense credibility in the field and our time spent working together.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

In the future, I wish to earn a dual PhD in Demography and Sociology. I want to focus on population studies. Research experience is critical for admittance to these programs, as well as great preparation for future graduate studies. This enrichment experience has increased my knowledge regarding sociological research. I have utilized software such as EndNote that will help me excel in my graduate work. Once I complete my graduate degrees, I aspire to enter academia and be a Sociology professor. I also want to mentor undergraduate students in hopes they can conduct a great research project similar to the one I conducted with Dr. Farage.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would absolutely recommend an undergraduate research experience to other Liberal Arts students. Research helps increase your credibility in your field of study, as well as truly prepare you for future academic and professional pursuits. In addition, my having a faculty mentor like Dr. Farage helped me shape my undergraduate career and my professional pursuits after college.

How has the Paterno Fellows Program had an impact on this experience?

I found out about the Liberal Arts Enrichment Funds through the Paterno Fellows Program (PFP). The PFP has brought to light so many undergraduate opportunities like the Liberal Arts Enrichment fund to enhance my studies. In addition, I would not have developed a passion for research if it was not for the PFP exposing me to various areas of undergraduate research pursuits through their weekly emails and student presentations. I also developed a close relationship to Dr. Farage by taking one of her honors classes in order to fulfill PFP requirements. All in all, PFP helped created this entire research experience!

For more information on research opportunities for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.

Alice Greider

IES Abroad: European Union
Up one level
Alice Greider

Major: International Politics, Global and International Studies
Minor: French, History
Hometown: Elizabethtown, PA
Paterno Fellow 

How did you learn about this opportunity?

During the annual Penn State Education Abroad Fair my freshman year I was looking for a program concentrating on International Relations. After talking with staffers at a few of the booths, I found IES' program focused on the EU and offered an internship component during the time abroad. I used their website and brochures to help me make the decision to go with the program.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

My semester has been entirely focused on the EU and Europe in general. While the program also offers more economic coursework, my classes are primarily focused on international relations, with specific classes on the structure and history of the EU, EU foreign policy, migration and multiculturalism, and global leadership. The program is located in Freiburg, Germany, so I also am taking a class in German. The location is ideal for travel, which IES takes full advantage of to incorporate 22 days of field study trips into the curriculum. Our first trip was to Berlin and Prague and focused on the history of EU integration. The second highlighted EU Institutions and took place in Luxembourg, Brussels, and Paris. The third was themed around regions of Europe and the group separated into trips to different member states; Northern Europe, Southern Europe, and Southeastern Europe. We've also had a few shorter day trips to nearby Strasbourg, Geneva, a refugee camp in Freiburg, and the Black Forest. I live in the University of Freiburg's student housing with other German and international students in shared apartments and have enjoyed talking with my flatmates about German schooling and politics.

The location is ideal for travel, which IES takes full advantage of to incorporate 22 days of field study trips into the curriculum.

How did this experience impact you academically?

All of my classes correlate directly to my coursework back at Penn State and to my interests. It's incredibly enriching to be able to learn from professors who study European politics specifically, as that is much more difficult at home. In each lesson I gain more insights about European integration theoretically, and during meetings with think tanks or government workers on our field trips I see the difficulties Europe faces in practice. Each of my classes is so heavily in depth that we now easily know more than any average European. It's made me realize that I certainly want to specialize in European comparative politics

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

I hope to work for the State Department, UN, a think-tank, or appropriately enough, the European Union. This experience is giving me a close up, critical view of the EU, in particular its deficiencies. Using knowledge and experiences gained during this experience I feel like I am prepared and equipped to apply to European Erasmus Mundus programs and universities as I've been planning to for graduate school.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would recommend this experience to other Political Science or Economics students in particular. It is a great program for an in depth analysis and understanding of the EU, but students focusing in other subjects may feel like the intense EU-concentration is overwhelming. It is a great program to deepen and gain understanding, not to be introduced to entirely new topics.

How has the Paterno Fellows Program had an impact on this experience?

The Paterno Fellows Program consistently helps enrich my interest in European studies and politics. This interest is what originally drove me to do a program like this in the first place.

For more information on global experiences for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.

Brendan Bernicker

Research Project on Greek Lawmakers
Up one level
Brendan Bernicker

Major: Political Science and Philosophy of Justice, Law, and Values
Minor: Music Technology
Hometown: Villanova, PA
Paterno Fellow 

How did you learn about this opportunity?

One of my professors approached me and asked if I would be interested in working with him on a research project. I had developed a good relationship with him while doing an honors option in his class, so I accepted.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

Over the course of the semester, I worked on two primary projects. The first project was helping Dr. Moore with some research into the legitimacy of myths surrounding the earliest Greek lawmakers and understanding how these myths fit with larger movements in Greek historiography at the time. This project culminated in a research paper that I wrote to help him develop a section in his book dealing with this subject. My research involved finding books, journal articles, and lecture transcripts on the subject and using them to craft a coherent argument about the way these myths formed and their purpose in promoting legal legitimacy. The second project was focused on understanding aspects of Classical Athenian culture that could improve American society today. I used a very similar method for researching this project, and it culminated in a presentation at the Undergraduate Research Exhibition.

How did this experience impact you academically?

This experience helped me to gain a better sense of what academic research is like, which will be invaluable as I begin researching for my thesis and deciding what kind of career I may be interested in. This project also helped me to become better acquainted with the methods of humanities research and to gain some experience with presenting research. While I had done various kinds of research projects in the past, this was by far the most comprehensive and the most similar to the kind of research I would do as an academic or graduate student. I anticipate that the skills I developed this semester will continue to be useful throughout my time at Penn State and beyond, particularly if I decide to attend graduate school.

I anticipate that the skills I developed this semester will continue to be useful throughout my time at Penn State and beyond...

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

I am not yet sure what my career plans are, but based on my interests I think I would like to pursue either public policy focused academia (as a professor or at a think-tank) or the law. If I decide to take the academic path, I would do a lot of projects very similar to the one I did this semester, so I was very curious to see whether I enjoyed this kind of work and whether I was capable of doing it at a high level. Now that I am nearing the end of my experience, I have decided that I do enjoy this work and I believe that, with a few more years of study, I could do it well. I am not yet positive that I prefer academia to law, but I at least now have a better sense of what it is like.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would highly recommend that all liberal arts students do a research project at some point because it offers an opportunity to delve deeper into a specific field of interest, teaches students the professional norms and standards of their discipline, and allows them to engage more meaningfully with other people’s research in the future.

How has the Paterno Fellows Program had an impact on this experience?

The Paterno Fellows Program had an impact on this experience in two ways. First, the entire project grew out of an honors option with one of my professors, which I never would have done had it not been for Paterno Fellows’ encouragement. Second, it was through Paterno Fellows that I learned about Liberal Arts Enrichment Funds, which was an important factor in allowing me to pursue my interest and participate in this project. This project will also impact my Paterno Fellows experience, since the skills I have developed will help me when I begin working on my Paterno Fellows thesis.

For more information on research opportunities for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.

Cydney James

IES Business & International Affairs, Paris, France
Up one level
Cydney James

Major: International Relations
Minor: Meda Studies
Hometown: Mt. Kisco, NY

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

My time in Paris has been incredible. I have gained a completely new perspective on life. Although some might think that life in Paris is similar to that of life in American cities such as New York, it's a very different culture. Whether it is customs, etiquette, fashion, social norms, these all impact everyday life. Not only have I been able to experience Paris, but I have had the opportunity to travel to other cities across Europe, which has been unbelievable. Plus, I have made incredible friends through this journey, people that I plan on staying in touch with. These new friends are from all over the country, so their social norms are different from my own as well, which is really interesting to see as we all try to assimilate into a completely new culture.

I have made incredible friends through this journey, people that I plan on staying in touch with.

How did this experience impact you academically?

My academic experience has been much different than the one that I am used to at home. I truly felt that I was treated more as an adult on campus at Penn State than I did while in another country. I thought, coming into this experience, that school might be more laid back than what I was used to and that the coursework might not be as heavy, but I was wrong about that. The teachers graded on a pretty tough scale for a lot of my classes. I know that academics in France are treated much differently than they are at public universities in America, especially ones the size of Penn State. It is taken much more serious here and the grading scale is very different.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

As of right now, I am not sure of my career goals and plans, so this is a difficult question to answer. I am currently thinking about a career that is different from my major. I am studying Political Science, and over the past couple of years, current events have swayed me in a different direction. My minor is in Communications and I believe that I would much rather do something in that field. It's much more creative and freethinking. I have loved learning how other cultures take in advertisements, news, music, fashion - everything.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would absolutely recommend studying abroad. It is a time unlike anything else. At what other point in your life can you guarantee that you will be able to take a few months and move somewhere else in the world. Wherever you want to study, you should do it. Paris, Tokyo, Rio, it doesn't matter, just take the opportunity. I believe it is more enriching than sitting in a classroom. We do that here too, but after that, we go to a museum or explore a new neighborhood, and on the weekends, we travel to other cities, like Munich, London, Copenhagen; it's unbelievable.

For more information on global experiences for Liberal Arts students, visit our website. 

Olivia Messina

HPA 499: Exploring the Health Care System in Costa Rica
Up one level
Olivia Messina

Major: Psychology
Minor: Health Policy and Administration
Hometown: Leesburg, VA

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

During my study abroad trip, I was able to learn about the Costa Rican health care system through a variety of hands-on experiences. We traveled to multiple locations throughout the country, including San Jose, Monte Verde, Los Juntas, and Heredia. My group had the opportunity to tour one private hospital, one general public hospital, one specialized public hospital, and three clinics. We were able to accompany five primary care providers, known as ATAPs, on home visits during which they took preventative measures against Dengue Fever, asked questions about recent health changes, and administered vaccines. Additionally, we participated in two community outreach events: we delivered a walker to an elderly woman’s house and a new wheelchair to a young man. We also met with the Chief of Health Affairs at the Costa Rican Ministry of Health, as well as a former director of a pediatric hospital who is now a presidential candidate. In addition to these invaluable experiences, we also participated in fun cultural activities that allowed us to understand Costa Rican culture. We went on a tour of a local coffee farm, spent an evening touring San Jose, walked through a cloud forest on canopy bridges, and went zip lining. Through these experiences, we learned about the tourism market in Costa Rica, which plays a large role in raising the necessary funds to support their health care system. This once-in-a-lifetime trip allowed me to understand the inner workings of a good health care system through both educational and cultural experiences.

 I now feel much more comfortable with the topic of global health and the inner workings of health care systems around the world.

How did this experience impact you academically?

Studying abroad in Costa Rica allowed me to apply the tools and knowledge I have gained throughout my college career. For example, multiple health care professionals talked about the infant mortality and vaccination rates in Costa Rica; I was able to apply my previous knowledge of epidemiology to have in-depth discussions about these topics. Through these discussions and hands-on experiences with a variety of health care providers, I was able to expand upon my previous knowledge of health care systems. Additionally, this trip allowed me to understand how health care works in a country outside of the US. I now feel much more comfortable with the topic of global health and the inner workings of health care systems around the world.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

The hands-on experience I gained during this program will help me accomplish my career and academic goals. After graduation, I will be working in the health department of a consulting firm whose clients are located in countries around the world. I believe my experiences in Costa Rica, particularly meeting with the Minister of Public Health, have broadened my perspective of health policy and improved my communication skills; this could help me interact with both local and global clients in the future. These skills will be beneficial as an entry-level consultant, potentially allowing me to work on higher-level projects with global clients. I also hope to pursue a Master of Public Health degree in the future with a focus on epidemiology. I believe this first-hand experience with a health system outside of the US has aided in my preparation for graduate course work.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

Yes, I would definitely recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students. This is an incredible opportunity to learn about the culture and health system in another country. The study abroad course assignments also helped me further develop my analytical research and writing abilities, which is helpful for any career path. It was also a great way to gain professional experience; meetings with Ministry of Health and medical professionals required business casual or formal attire.

For more information on global experiences for Liberal Arts students, visit our website

Ana Luiza San Martin

IES abroad - Granada, Spain
Up one level
Ana Luiza San Martin

Major: HPA, Spanish
Minor: International Studies
Hometown: Hudson, PA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

Penn State provides excellent ways of discovering study abroad programs. I began by speaking to advisors and peer advisers and from there decided that I wanted to study abroad in Spain. After doing research on the Penn State Education Abroad website, I decided that Granada was the best fit for me. Not too small, not too big, just right.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

First of all, I don’t think words can adequately describe how amazing studying abroad is which is why I believe every student should be given the opportunity to study in a foreign country. Going into my abroad experience I told myself I would continuously have an open mind and take every opportunity possible. Living in a homestay was one of the best decisions I have made in the abroad process; the family I live with is amazing. I have been able to create a relationship with incredible people and practice my Spanish. My Spanish family taught me so much about the culture and what it is truly like to live in Granada. IES was also a huge part of what made my abroad experience so amazing. Each and every faculty member did so much more than was required of them to ensure every student was able to get the most out of their time abroad. For example, I have a great interest in healthcare and IES was able to help me find a local pediatric hospital to volunteer at weekly. Overall, I was able to immerse myself in the lifestyle and learn so much about other people.

Overall, I was able to immerse myself in the lifestyle and learn so much about other people.

How did this experience impact you academically?

Studying abroad has allowed me to grow not only as a person, but also academically. Through studying abroad I was able to fully learn the Spanish language in a much deeper manner than just the simple (or not so simple) grammar and language. IES offers a diverse curriculum that impacts students academically. For example, I am enrolled in a course that studies the European Union, something I never thought to explore. Through this experience I have found that I am truly interested in different forms of government throughout the world. This experience has also taught me that there are various styles of teaching around the world and no one way is better than the other. I took a Spanish literature class at Penn State and one in Granada. They were both very different in many ways, but both beneficial to my academic learning process. Overall, I think abroad allowed me to realize that to be impacted academically students do not need to be in a classroom. I have spent many classes around the city of Granada, learning about the culture and I have learned more than I could even imagine.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

I am studying Health Policy and Administration and Spanish with a minor in International Studies. In a of couple years I see myself working in a hospital, but not how most people imagine it. I want to work as an administrator in the international pediatric department. This experience has impacted my career choice because previously I knew I wanted to be an administrator, but I did not specifically have a focus on international. I have always had an interest in international healthcare, but hadn’t studied it too much. However, through research and volunteer work here I have come to realize that many patients from European countries and other countries travel to the United States in seek of the best healthcare. This is an area I would love to work in, facilitate the transition for patients to seek the best medical care without having to travel across the world.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

1000%. This experience was absolutely amazing. I was able to see parts of the world that I would have never seen without IES.

For more information on global experiences for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.

Nicole Solano

Liberal Arts Alumni Mentor Program
Up one level
Nicole Solano

Major: Criminology
Minor: Sociology
Hometown: State College, PA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I learned of the Liberal Arts Alumni Mentor Program when a Career Enrichment Network adviser came to speak to my Criminology class. I asked the adviser more about the program after class and then went to a information session.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

I went to the information session and then applied for a mentor. I was surprised that my mentor was an English major since I was not. We talked on the phone and over email, she was especially helpful with my resume. She worked in D.C. which was one of my goal locations at the time, so her insight on the area was helpful. When I eventually got my internship with the Department of State working on the Secretary of State's protective detail, her knowledge of the D.C. area was invaluable. We also got to have dinner together while I was there, which was an extra treat.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

We set a plan for me to get an internship the summer going into my senior year. My mentor really helped me keep my focus on this goal. She would ask me what I was doing to reach this goal and would send me resources for internships and other opportunities. After completing my internship, our goal was to get me a job. She was also helpful in this regard, and was helpful when I made my final decision to start my career with Liberty Mutual. My mentor really helped push me to see what my priorities should be at certain points of my college career. Sometimes it is difficult to focus on getting an internship or a job when you are focused on school. Having a mentor really helps to keep everything in perspective, and gives you a 3rd party person (someone who isn't your relative or close friend) who you can go to for neutral advice.

My mentor really helped push me to see what my priorities should be at certain points of my college career.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

Yes. It is extremely important to get the perspective of those who have gone through all the same things you are currently going through. If there are any resources you could use to help you get ahead for internships or careers you should definitely be using them. The Career Enrichment Network offers so many free opportunities for students to get ahead, and everyone should be taking advantage of that if they can.

For more information on the Liberal Arts Alumni Mentor Program, visit our website.

Kristin Goett

Liberal Arts Alumni Mentor Program
Up one level
Kristin Goett

Major: Public Relations, Spanish
Hometown: South Salem, NY

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I learned about this opportunity from a College of the Liberal Arts email at the start of my sophomore year (2014). Don't ignore the emails from the College of the Liberal Arts... you never know the opportunities within!

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

I first got to know my mentor from a few phone calls. He came up to Penn State for a weekend and we were able to connect in person over lunch, where we talked about potential goals for me in my upcoming year as a junior (2015-16). He helped me think outside of the box and aim high, something I had neglected to do as a new Public Relations major. Then, this past summer, I was able to attend a Pittsburgh Pirates game where I shadowed in the Public Relations department of the Pirates for a home game. It was an amazing experience; I even got to sit in the President's Suite with my mentor for part of the game. This experience opened my eyes to all of the different avenues my majors can take me, as well as reassured me that my majors will never result in a "boring" office job!

How did this experience impact you academically?

My mentor has always encouraged me to make academics my first priority, but to remember that interpersonal skills and real-life experience are often just as valuable as what I learn in the classroom. My mentor has taught me to take everything I learn in the classroom and try to find its application in my field of sports public relations. With this perspective, I am more motivated in my classes because I have learned how to apply my learning in a more effective way.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

My career goals and plans are to work for a sports related company in its public relations department. This summer, I will be interning in the Team USA division of DICK'S Sporting Goods in Pittsburgh, a position that was brought to my attention thanks to my mentor and his network. My mentor has been an integral part in helping me secure this internship and to consider pursuing a career in the sports industry. Before this mentorship, I viewed the sports industry as needing to pertain to a specific team or organization, but my mentor has taught me to think deeper and pursue other fulfilling positions like my internship with DICK'S Sporting Goods.

The Liberal Arts Alumni Mentor Program has been the single most influential experience that I have had during my career at Penn State.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

The Liberal Arts Alumni Mentor Program has been the single most influential experience that I have had during my career at Penn State. Heading into my senior year, I can confidently say that I would not have the opportunities I do if I did not take that first step and apply for an alumni mentor. I look forward to continuing my professional relationship with my mentor post-graduation as well. It is truly a special bond and one I very much value in my professional career.

For more information on the Liberal Arts Alumni Mentor Program, visit our website.

Matthew Harvey

Alumni Mentor Program
Up one level
Matthew Harvey

Major: History and Broadcast Journalism
Minor: None
Hometown: Doylestown, PA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I learned about it from a Career Enrichment Network email that was sent to College of the Liberal Arts students. I looked more into the Liberal Arts Alumni Mentor Program online and appeared to be a great way to meet someone in the profession I'm interested in entering upon graduation.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

I emailed the advisor expressing my interest in the program. I then filled out an application to be a part of the program and was accepted into it. The next couple of months, my advisor looked for an alumni in my field of interest for me to be paired with. 

How did this experience impact you academically?

Academically, my mentor motivated me to work even harder in the classes that are shaped around my Broadcast Journalism major. It impacted me more around my extracurricular activities. I am now getting involved with school newspapers, online blogs, radio shows, and even television programs. All of these things were recommended by my mentor to acquire experience in journalism before graduating. I look forward to being heavily involved with them during my upcoming junior year.

I now have a great resource to help me navigate school and the real world, and who can give me great advice when I need it.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

My career goal is to enter the broadcast journalism field, specifically the sports industry. My dream jobs include being a sports reporter, analyst, journalist, anchor, or any type of commentator at sporting events. This experience impacted my plans greatly. I met with my mentor and through him talking about his experience in broadcasting, I learned an incredible amount that will help me immensely in my search for a career. My mentor works for the National Football League, so it was extremely interesting and informational for me to work with him! I now have a great resource to help me navigate school and the real world, and who can give me great advice when I need it.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

Yes, absolutely. It is not this easy to have someone in a field of your desired profession actually reach out to help you voluntarily. This is something that other people have to work hard for. My advice is to take full advantage of this program while you have the opportunity.

For more information on the Liberal Arts Alumni Mentor Program, visit our website

Sultan Kabiawu

Liberal Arts Alumni Mentor Program
Up one level
Sultan Kabiawu

Major: International Political Economy
Minor: Business
Hometown: Staten Island, NY

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I learned about this opportunity while interning at the Subaru of America corporate headquarters. Towards the end of my internship my manager informed me about the upcoming opportunity and I decided to give it a shot.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

My experience with Liberal Arts Alumni Mentor Program was quite unique. My mentor was very easy to get along with and had a lot of industry insight to share. We mainly communicated through email. My mentor and I met in person about two times during the school year and went over some things that might help while I was looking for employment as well as what I should focus on after I had obtained a job. I feel that everything my mentor taught me was quintessential in my learning process and will certainly serve as a tool throughout my career.

How did this experience impact you academically?

This experience impacted me academically in a positive manner because my mentor emphasized setting goals and working diligently to achieve them. Having an alumni to refer to when things were going well and when things got difficult provided me with a feeling of relief. I feel that this experience certainly had a positive effect on my academics and pushed me in the right direction early.

Having an alumni to refer to when things were going well and when things got difficult provided me with a feeling of relief.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

My short term career goal is to advance in Amazon as quickly as possibly. I would also like to pursue an MBA within the next few years and patent a few ideas. In the long term I would like to be a business owner with largely diversified assets that can influence different areas of my professional life.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students because there is no better advice than from those who have been through what we are currently going through.

For more information on the Liberal Arts Alumni Mentor Program, visit our website.

Ben Berkman

Liberal Arts Alumni Mentor Program
Up one level
Ben Berkman

Major: Economics, French
Minor: n/a
Hometown: State College, PA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

The Liberal Arts Alumni Mentor Program is visibly circulated throughout both Paterno Fellows and Liberal Arts e-newsletters. For me, I chose to pursue a mentor because I felt like I could use the guidance of a business professional in a field that I hoped to enter. Fortunately, my chosen mentor works at a company I am familiar with, and shares many similar experiences with me.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

My experience has been confined by the fact that I am studying abroad for the semester, and have not been able to physically meet with my mentor in person. That being said, my mentor has been very open to Skyping with me and answering any questions I have via email, despite her incredibly busy schedule. At first, I spoke to my mentor to learn more about her company, situated in the same field as my internship last summer. As our talks progressed, she helped me explore possible openings at her company for the coming summer. Though I won't be working with my mentor this summer, we'll stay in touch as I enter my senior year.

How did this experience impact you academically?

My mentor advised me on which courses she took to land her a job at a powerful commercial real estate firm. Other than that, my academic benefits have again been confined by the fact that I am abroad for the semester. I anticipate more benefits in the coming fall.

I was able to learn about a field I'm very interested in, and connect on a personal level with a professional who shares many of my experiences.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

I hope to couple my economic education along with my French education and abroad experience to work in an international business field. After speaking with my mentor, and completing a summer internship in a similar field last summer, I feel that economic analysis of commercial real estate and land use are incredibly interesting paths for me. My mentor helped me hone these interests, and learn more about the field.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

Absolutely. I think everyone gets a different experience from their mentor. For me, I was able to learn about a field I'm very interested, and connect on a personal level with a professional who shares many of my experiences. My mentor also thoroughly critiqued my resume -- having a critique from someone inside the business world, that frequently evaluates resumes -- was also extremely helpful.

For more information on the Liberal Arts Alumni Mentor Program, visit our website. 

Megan Kauth

Alumni Mentor Program
Up one level
Megan Kauth

Major: Political Science
Minor: N/A
Hometown: Wall, PA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

Reading the weekly newsletter from the political science department, my attention was immediately grabbed by an article on Penn State's Alumni Mentor Program. I had never had someone to call a mentor before, and here Penn State was ready to find me one. I had always thought I knew what I was doing, but never heard a bad thing about a mentor, so just in case I was missing out on anything, I applied. Because another helpful voice could never hurt!

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

My experience in the Alumni Mentor Program has proven to be only beneficial. I am taking part in a lot of different programs and activities thanks to my alumni mentor and all of the advice she has given me. These include both a study abroad and internship experience. On top of this, she has given her own advice on the classes I should take for each semester. She has provided me with different contacts to network with and boost my skills in communication and prepare me for the work force. She constantly keeps me updated on her thoughts regarding the different events held on campus, ones she thinks are vital for me to attend and so on. She has reviewed my resume with me and helped to make it stand out for future employers and interviews. We have put together my schedule for the fall semester and have plans to put together a “to do” list for my junior and eventually senior year.

How did this experience impact you academically?

I took a meteorology course during my freshmen year to fulfill a general education requirement and really hurt myself in terms of GPA. I was not even a meteorology major, so it was rough to get through the semester. Scheduling for the next semester, I still had one more gen ed to fulfill. I discussed with my mentor and she suggested courses that were really fun and interesting! She also provided insight on the different professors at Penn State that I was able to connect with thanks to her. Some of the teachers for the smaller classes I was able to draw an immediate connection with, because they remembered my mentor!

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

My hopes for the future include a career in diplomacy, preferably working for the state. With the many connections my mentor has gained as both a student at Penn State and in her career, I have not only networked with an employee who works for the state in DC, but I am going abroad this summer. Thus far, I think her most vital advice was for me to intern abroad, which I did not even realize was something you could do. I thought studying abroad was strictly to take classes, and now I am working for the largest LGBTQ association of Europe in their Rome offices with an office of my very own! That is something I HAVE to credit my mentor entirely for!

With the advice I have received from my mentor, I know I am getting the most out of my college years.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would absolutely recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students. It has provided me with a tremendously beneficial experience thus far and hopefully will continue in the future. With the advice I have received from my mentor, I know I am getting the most out of my college years.

For more information on the Liberal Arts Mentor Program, visit our website.

Bridget T Adduce

Liberal Arts Alumni Mentor Program
Up one level
Bridget T Adduce

Major: Chinese
Minor: Spanish; Linguistics
Hometown: Lititz, PA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I learned about this opportunity from the Liberal Arts Career Enrichment Network website.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

I had a very successful alumni mentor experience. Although my mentor, Juliana, and I have never met, we e-mail regularly and talk on the phone once every few months. Juliana has advised me through countless experiences including studying abroad in China, attending fall career days, interviewing for a new job, and even what to wear for my first week of work.

How did this experience impact you academically?

Juliana helped me find and obtain a job for post graduation. She listened to my interests and all of the jobs I wasn't interested in and always sent me job openings if she came across them. For the longest time I didn't know what I wanted to do with my major and Juliana helped me explore all of the possibilities.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

I plan to work as a Project Coordinator at a translating company in New York called Transperfect. My mentor actually worked in the same position for the same company for a period of time so she was very helpful in telling me what to expect and whether or not it was something that would match my interests.

The alumni mentors have valuable experience that can help all of us.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

Yes, I would recommend this experience to Liberal Arts students. Alumni have all experienced exactly what you are going through, whether you are a junior looking for an internship or a senior looking for a job. The alumni mentors have valuable experience that can help all of us.

For more information on the Liberal Arts Mentor Program, visit our website.

Kayla Conway

ISI Florence
Up one level
Kayla Conway

Major: Psychology and Criminology
Minor: Biology
Hometown: Port Washington, PA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I have always wanted to spend a semester studying abroad in Florence since I visited the beautiful city at 16. Upon entering my sophomore year at Penn State, I searched the Penn State Education Abroad website and searched for a program that would be offered in the spring semester and located in Florence. Most people look for the programs first and then the location, but it was very important to me to be in Florence so I found a program that would allow me to study in the city I love.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

My experience was incredible. I came into Penn State as a Biology major intending to minor in Psychology. While I wound up switching to a major in Psychology with a minor in Biology, and even tacking on another major in Criminology, I had never taken any classes that weren't specifically designated towards my major. In a sense, I "saved up" my Gen-Ed classes because I knew that I wanted to study abroad and my major classes may be difficult to take elsewhere. While abroad I got to take classes unlike any I had taken before. I got to take oil painting and photography. I got to capture and depict the beauty of Florence that I have always greatly admired. I also took an art history class that allowed me to learn about the rich history of Florence, while also getting to travel around the city with my class to actually see in person the paintings and buildings that we were learning about. It was unbelievable! Lastly, I took Italian. While I had taken one semester of Italian prior to my semester abroad, nothing could have prepared me for the amount I would learn while immersed in the language. My Italian class was by far my favorite because it focused equally on learning the Italian language and the Italian culture. We had many guests come in and speak to us (all in Italian of course!) and they ranged from Italian actors, to authors, to students our age that studied at local universities. We also had activities that got us out into the community. One day we were asked to go out into a piazza and interview strangers in Italian. I was terrified, but it was an incredible experience and I met some very kind and interesting people who were so appreciative that I was trying to learn their language. I also had dinner with Italian students at a quintessential Italian "osteria." But my experience was not limited to my academics. I also traveled around Florence, Italy, and much of Europe. I met so many wonderful people, all different but equally incredible. Every place, every culture was undeniably different but also very similar in some regards. As a psychology and criminology major, it was exciting to see the similarities and differences among people. I want to spend the rest of my life learning and working with people, their minds, and their behaviors. There is no better way to understand people than to observe them, and traveling allowed me to experience the diversity of the world first hand. I would not trade my experience abroad for anything, and I only regret that it came to an end. I am forever grateful to Penn State, the College of the Liberal Arts, and the Paterno Fellows Program for helping make this life-changing experience possible for me.

There is no better way to understand people than to observe them, and traveling allowed me to experience the diversity of the world first hand.

How did this experience impact you academically?

My study abroad program is one that is offered through Penn State. I chose a program that is offered through Penn State because I wanted my semester abroad to count. I did not want to spend a semester taking classes that would not help me get my degree. As such, my classes will all be transferred and the classes all go towards my GPA. That being said, while many people told me that classes abroad are much easier than those at Penn State, I did not find this to be true for my program. My classes were difficult. I not only had classes unlike those I had ever taken before, but there is also a cultural difference in how classes are taught in Italy. While my Italian professors followed the program's guidelines which were American based, there were certainly some difficulties in getting used to the grading, the way classes are taught, and understanding professors whose first language is not English. It was a challenge at first, but with time it became easier. Overall, I would say that studying abroad is not easier, it is not harder, it is just different. No one can truly ever be prepared for moving to a different country for 4 months. There were many challenges that I never expected to encounter, academically, culturally and socially. However, these challenges contribute to what makes the experience unique and incredible.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

As mentioned above, I am a Psychology and Criminology major. I intend to attend graduate school for Clinical Psychology before hopefully practicing psychotherapy. I would also like to specialize in forensic psychology one day and perhaps collaborate with government agencies to help prevent violent crime or help those who have suffered from it. As such, my future revolves around understanding people, their minds, and their behaviors. The problem with that, is that all people are not the same. Diversity is present within small communities, let alone throughout the world. How can I possibly hope to understand people if all I've ever been exposed to is only a small group of them? This is why I decided to study abroad. This is how my semester has impacted me. I have met people who speak many different languages, live in many different places, and hold many different values and beliefs. While one semester traveling Europe certainly does not expose me to "all people," if even a thing is possible, it undoubtedly opened my mind and my eyes.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

ABSOLUTELY! I had a once in a lifetime experience and I am so incredibly grateful. I would do it again if I could because honestly, 4 months was not nearly enough. I would encourage everyone to spend a semester abroad if they have the chance. Every country, every city, every place, is very different. Everyone should try to get outside their comfort zone and see other places and people. It helps your understanding of the world and will undoubtedly impact you in some way. Whether you decide to study in Florence or elsewhere, I highly recommend spending a semester, or even a couple weeks, abroad. You won't regret it!

How has the Paterno Fellows Program had an impact on this experience?

First and foremost, the Paterno Fellows Program has impacted this experience by making it possible. Studying abroad is not only a challenge culturally and socially, but also economically. There are many more program fees, travel fees, insurance fees, and personal expenses when you travel abroad than when you spend a semester at Penn State. However, this is experience has been worth it, and more. The Paterno Fellows Program was very generous in awarding me a travel grant that made my semester in Italy fiscally possible for me and my family. Additionally, the Paterno Fellows Program emphasizes the importance of such experiences. They not only provide funding, but they highly encourage their students to participate in programs such as ISI Florence which contributed to my decision to participate in it. I am very grateful to be a part of the Paterno Fellows Program and they have greatly contributed to my amazing experience.

For more information on global experiences for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.

Brenna Fisher

Alumni Mentor Program
Up one level
Brenna Fisher

Major: Criminology and Sociology
Minor: Russian and Military Studies
Hometown: Manassas, VA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I received an email about the Liberal Arts Alumni Mentor Program early my freshman year, through the Paterno Fellows Newsletter.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

The Alumni Mentor Program has been one of the best experiences I've had at Penn State. I have been able to work with different people who are professionals in my field, and explore different opportunities after graduation. I thought my major would be a one track field, but my mentors showed me that there are countless options to pursue once I finish at Penn State.

How did this experience impact you academically?

Academically, it encourages me to excel in my classes so I can be successful once I graduate. Seeing a professional in the field reminds me that there is a life after college, and the only way to get where I want is through working hard in my classes now.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

Currently, I either want to go to law school or the police academy after graduation. My alumni mentors have been a lawyer and the chief of police of a local township--so its easy to see where they have impacted my career goals. When I came into college, I was dead set on working for the federal government, but after seeing what my mentors do, I changed my trajectory because I realized that I liked their jobs more!

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would recommend that every single Liberal Arts student participate in the alumni mentor program. It is an opportunity that allows you to network, learn about different fields, and get tips on how to succeed while you are at Penn State and beyond. The time commitment is really what you make of it, so you don't have to worry about adding something new to your schedule, although I encourage everyone to meet with their mentors as often as possible!

For more information on the Liberal Arts Alumni Mentor Program, visit our website

Leah Bader

HESE Fieldwork
Up one level
Leah Bader

Paterno Fellow
Major: Anthropology
Minor: Global Health
Hometown: Easton

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I had previously traveled with the Humanitarian Engineering and Social Entrepreneurship in Africa (HESE) program last summer and enjoyed it so much that I decided to continue working with the HESE teams and doing research with them, despite completing the coursework for the program. I have now been part of the HESE team for about two years. Originally, I found out about HESE through older friends who were participating in the program when I was an underclassman. The research they were describing sounded very relevant to what I was interested in and actually made real impact, so I was eager to join.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

I traveled to Sierra Leone for 20 days in order to further the HESE Affordable Greenhouse Venture. The HESE program has partnered with the non-profit organization World Hope International to create a business called GRO Greenhouses, which sells affordable greenhouses to farming cooperatives and agri-businesses in Sierra Leone and Mozambique. This business operates on a half a million dollar grant from USAID. While I was in Sierra Leone, I was working with the World Hope staff on the ground that is currently assigned to the GRO Greenhouse project in order to standardize business operations. We created a quality control checklist to ensure the standard of the construction of our greenhouses. We also created a problem solving protocol that should be followed whenever one of our greenhouses faces an agronomic or organizational problem. Several research projects were also ongoing that included interviewing our greenhouse farmers, as well as other local farmers about gender equity, water savings, and nutrition. Part of our team also explored the viability of started a seedling business (growing seeds to the seedling stage in the greenhouse and selling seedlings to local farmers) and started a data collection system to document every aspect of the business.

How did this experience impact you academically?

The HESE program teaches students invaluable skills that just can not be taught inside a classroom. The ability to be flexible during a project, working with what you have, and pivoting from idea to idea until a successful solution is found are all skills that are integral to the HESE program. Some days we were faced with rolling blackouts, left without lights or internet or air conditioning. How do you run a sustainable business venture when 4 days out of week you haven't had access to wifi? These are situations that are often thrown at you during HESE fieldwork and the process of being creative and finding a solution to them is what helps HESE students grow both academically and as young professionals.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

After graduation I hope to attend graduate school to obtain either a Master's in Public Health or a PhD in medical anthropology. Either way I know that I would like to work in international health -- more specifically, ensuring that medical care and practices are culturally appropriate in certain situations, particularly during outbreak control when international health teams swoop in and rapidly challenge current healthcare practices. While this might not be directly related to affordable greenhouses, the HESE program allows students to develop crucial professional skills suited for international settings. This program has helped me reaffirm that international work is the right choice for me, particularly in low-resource settings. Seeing real impact come from an academic program motivates me to continue striving for the career I want.

Seeing real impact come from an academic program motivates me to continue striving for the career I want.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I think this is a great experience for Liberal Arts students. Many students from other majors think they can not participate in the HESE program because it's in the College of Engineering and Engineering is in it's name, but in reality, all majors are welcome. It's an interdisciplinary team where each individual brings their own unique perspective and set of skills to the table. Liberal Arts students are needed just like technical math and science majors are. Most of research surrounds human behaviors and cultures and I believe Liberal Arts students could find their own niche in the HESE program while gaining insight into other majors.

How has the Paterno Fellows Program had an impact on this experience?

While Paterno Fellows had no direct impact on my participation in this experience, I feel that the program has pushed me to find the best opportunities for me to further myself as a student and professional. HESE provides the unique opportunity of being an academic program, but also getting the chance to work outside of the classroom in a real low-resource setting. Paterno Fellows has encouraged me to find opportunities like HESE on campus that match my intended career goals while helping develop as a person while also having fun. Paterno Fellows provides Liberal Arts students with the chance to explore other majors and find programs outside of the College of the Liberal Arts to help expand their horizons. 

For more information on global experiences for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.

Natalie Guarna

LA 401: Professional Development for the Liberal Arts Student
Up one level
Natalie Guarna

Major: Psychology, Advertising
Minor: International Studies
Hometown: Newtown, PA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I learned about LA 401 through the College of the Liberal Arts Career Enrichment Network Listserv. I was going into my sophomore year and beginning to worry about my post-graduation preparation. The class sounded like a perfect way to improve my professional development skills.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

The class went above and beyond my expectations. By the end of the course, I had developed a thorough resume, written numerous cover letters, done multiple mock interviews, attended my first career fair, and much more. I felt much more confident as a young professional, and was at ease walking into my summer internship interviews. By sharing her wide range of professional experiences with the class, our instructor was able to foster a classroom environment of comfort, trust, knowledge, and growth.

"I felt much more confident as a young professional, and was at ease walking into my summer internship interviews."

How did this experience impact you academically?

An important part of being a successful student is having good communication skills. In this course, we practiced all kinds of different writing and speaking skills. I can say with certainty that my written and verbal communication skills benefited immensely from this course.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

This course had an impact on my decision to pick up a second major in advertising. After listening to a couple guest speakers who came into our class, as well as evaluating my skills through the StrengthsFinder Assessment tool, I came to realize my interest in consumer behavior and marketing strategies. Although I am not sure exactly where I want to work within this field, this class really forced me to explore and research my options. As a result, I even began to network within the field.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would absolutely recommend that any Liberal Arts student take this class, especially as a junior. This class is the best way to jump-start your career development. Plus, we're all going to have to make a resume eventually, so why not earn credit for making a really awesome one?

Bridgette Boody

DC Social Justice Fellowship
Up one level
Bridgette Boody

Major: Political Science and Women's Studies
Minor: Spanish
Hometown: Middletown, Delaware

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I learned about this opportunity through a listserv e-mail from the LGBTQ Student Resource Center. I got an e-mail that included the information and flyer about this opportunity as something to apply to if interested.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

For this fellowship, the spring semester consisted of meeting twice a week after spring break for a class that acted as a crash course in social justice topics and living in D.C., as well as learning how to teach, craft lessons, manage classrooms. The course itself was fun, with a lot of the learning coming from doing, i.e. in order to learn about discovery-based learning, we had to engage in it ourselves. It was great to be able to meet the people we would be working with in the spring before going to D.C in May.

Fellows were separated into five different broad topics: Race, Ability, Gender, Socioeconomic Status, and Criminal Justice. Each topic had two to three fellows assigned to it, and you crafted your lesson around smaller topics that related to the broad topic. Being in a group made getting into the classroom less intimidating, and it also helped to bounce ideas for lessons off each other. During the D.C practicum experience in Washington, D.C, we each led three lessons over the course of two weeks, with the other two fellows and a mentor in the classroom for support. We also had the experience to travel to another school and observe one of our peers teaching. Living and teaching in D.C, and having the opportunity to network with people from Georgetown Law, the Department of Education, the Department of Justice, etc. really helped me hone networking and professional skills.

How did this experience impact you academically?

I learned so much about myself- from learning to live on my own to navigating a metro system and foreign city- and an incredible amount about what it means to teach.

I do not say this lightly when I say that this experience changed my life. I learned so much about myself- from learning to live on my own to navigating a metro system and foreign city- and an incredible amount about what it means to teach, and the students that I was paired with. My students challenged my perceptions of what it meant to be an inner-city student, and the school challenged television portrayals of inner city schools. The students were polite, engaged, and really cared about their families and their futures. They were able to take a lesson about gentrification or the school to prison pipeline and apply it to what they saw in their everyday lives. In working in a classroom, I learned how to take things that I had learned in my own classrooms as a student and break it down to help high school students discover the concept themselves.

Additionally, the workshops and mentor meeting component of this program helped to facilitate conversation, foster critical thinking, and network with people who could potentially help me land internships or even full-time jobs. Each night, we participated in sessions with law professors, high school teachers, and government officials who lived and worked in D.C. Hearing about their experiences and challenging my own was eye-opening, and I really enjoyed the different perspectives I was able to hear through this experience.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

After graduation, I am planning on applying to some teaching abroad opportunities, as well as the Peace Corps. Ultimately, I would like to work for the United States Department of Education or for a think tank as a policy analyst. Prior to this experience, I knew I wanted to work in education policy but never thought I could be a teacher. The fellowship took a group of students, not all of whom were education majors, and taught them that they could teach. Having a brief experience in an inner city school solidified my desire to work in the education sector in some capacity, and gave me a taste of the experience "on the ground," so to speak. It pushed me to definitively apply to teaching abroad programs, and it gave me necessary experience.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would absolutely recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts student-- in fact, I would recommend it to any student. At college, we can sometimes find our niche and stick with it. The experience flipped that on its head. The people I met were people I would not normally get to meet, and the experience challenged me to grow personally. Furthermore, it provided great networking opportunities and the opportunity to speak with individuals who were working in fields I may be interested in. Finally, with all the growth and learning, I still had an amazing time. There was so much to do and see in D.C, and I made twelve amazing friends who I will still see after the program. The D.C Social Justice Fellowship has been a highlight of my Penn State career, and I strongly recommend it to any student looking to push themselves, to learn something, and to make lifelong friends and memories.

For more information on funding for enrichment activities, visit our website.

Odgerel Bat-Yeruult

Liberal Arts Alumni Mentor Program
Up one level
Odgerel Bat-Yeruult

Paterno Fellow
Major: Master of International Affairs, B.A. International Affairs, B.A. Economics
Minor: Spanish
Hometown: Ewing, NJ

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I received an e-mail from Liberal Arts my freshman year about the alumni mentoring program and I signed up.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

I was paired with my mentor spring of freshman year. Due to technical difficulties, my initial e-mail didn’t go through. Heather, the coordinator of the program, encouraged me to reach out again. Using a different e-mail, I tried contacting him again. I heard back the next day and we planned to talk on the phone in the upcoming week. I learned that Trevor worked in the finance department of a non-profit organization in Washington, D.C. Trevor helped me with my resume and referred me to different internships as I was looking for a summer internship. He also mentioned a communications internship position in his organization; however, I wasn’t interested at the time because I thought, "Why apply if I’m not a communications major?" The following month, I was visiting D.C. with an organization and I met Trevor for lunch. After our conversation, I decided that I wanted to apply for the position because as at that point, it was late May and I still didn’t have an internship. Trevor connected me to the intern coordinator and a week later, I had the position. That summer, I got lunch with Trevor a few times and we’ve stayed in touch since then. He’s always been so helpful in advising me and is a great mentor.

How did this experience impact you academically?

This experience has had a large impact on my academic career. Trevor is an alumni of Penn State’s School of International Affairs and received a Master’s Degree in International Affairs. As an international politics major in the Political Science Department, an IUG program with the School of International Affairs was advertised to me freshman year. I was originally interested in the program because I was going to graduate a year early. Over the summer, I talked to Trevor about his experience at S.I.A. and his thoughts on my situation. He encouraged me to apply and that was the final deciding factor for me. In the past school year, Trevor helped review and edit my personal statement for the Graduate School application and I’m happy to say I was admitted. I wouldn’t have made the decision without him and he certainly aided in my admittance.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

My career goals are to work in an international institution, diplomacy, or in the private sector in global markets. While all a little different, these all encompass international affairs. This experience aided in my admission into the School of International Affairs, which will prepare me for a future in all three. In addition, because I had an internship the summer of my freshman year, the internship search became easier and gave my resume a head start. I use my internship with the Maternal and Child Survival Program in many interviews and have been able to intern for the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office and will be interning for US Senator Robert Menendez’s Office in D.C. this summer. The first internship secured with the help of Trevor has aided in getting the following internships.

These mentors are people that want to help us Liberal Arts students and watch us succeed.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would strongly recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students because it's been such a great experience for me. These mentors are people that want to help us Liberal Arts students and watch us succeed. I never would've gotten that first internship without Trevor. An internship in the mentor's company will not be guaranteed with this program, but they can connect us to their colleagues and expose us to different fields, companies, and positions that we as undergraduates don't know even know exist.

How has the Paterno Fellows Program had an impact on this experience?

The Paterno Fellows Program was the reason I started my internship search, as it’s a graduation requirement for the program. Since I was originally going to graduate early, I knew I had to get serious about the internship search. This was more of an incentive to join the program and increased my level of communication with Trevor from the start. I think it’s great that the Paterno Fellows Program has various requirements such as an internship because it’s those experiences that really impact one academically and in the long run in our career. What seemed like just a requirement turned out to be one of the best experiences and jumping point in my career.

For more information on the Liberal Arts Alumni Mentor Program, visit our website.

Marlee DeBolt

LA 401: Professional Development for the Liberal Arts Student
Up one level
Marlee DeBolt

Major: Economics, International Politics
Minor: German
Hometown: Washington, PA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I had initially heard about the course from the Liberal Arts weekly newswire. During the fall of my sophomore year I had decided to start preparing myself for post-undergraduate opportunities, and this meant improving my professional skills. I thought that taking an in-person class would be more beneficial than just reading a book or an article because it would be more of an interactive experience.

"This class opened my eyes to the wide range of opportunities that are available after graduation for all majors."

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

Before I took this class, I had never attended the career fair at Penn State, I had only written a resume and cover letter once, and was not comfortable in an interview. LA 401 prepared me to do all of these things. Now, I have experience writing cover letters, resumes, going to the career fair, and interview etiquette.

How did this experience impact you academically?

I think that now I am more concise and descriptive with the words I choose to market myself on applications for internships, graduate school, jobs, or study abroad. The entire course helps improve your communication and this can be demonstrated in your resume, cover letter, or overall application.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

At the beginning of the semester, I was not entirely sure what career I wanted to follow, but I had a few ideas. One of our assignments was to hold an informational interview with someone in a career we would like to pursue or learn more about. After researching careers and holding my informational interview, I can 100% say that I am pursuing the career for me.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would recommend this course to any Liberal Arts student because this is the perfect way to gain the skills needed in the professional world. This class opened my eyes to the wide range of opportunities that are available after graduation for all majors. I think that any Liberal Arts student can benefit from this class because a resume, a cover letter, and an interview are all necessary when looking for internships or jobs.

Brandon Purnell

LA 401: Professional Development for the Liberal Arts Student
Up one level
Brandon Purnell

Major: International Politics
Minor: Security and Risk Analsysis
Hometown: Wells Tannery, PA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I had already discovered what a great resource the staff at the Career Enrichment Network are to Liberal Arts students, so when I read in a Liberal Arts newswire that they were offering a course on professional development, I jumped at the opportunity.

"While the course doesn't require a massive time commitment, it will provide impetus to the take necessary steps towards your career goals, and provide you with a breadth of knowledge you might not have sought out on your own."

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

The strength of Professional Development for the Liberal Arts Student is definitely in the diversity of experiences it has to offer. You'll work with your classmates and in close consultation with the instructor to outline your experiences and develop them as content for resumes and cover letters. But it doesn't end there. Probably my favorite assignment of the course required me to attend the Spring Career Days- great preparation for the larger event I'll be attending in the fall. Alumni are a great resource to Liberal Arts students and play an active role in the course, conducting mock interviews and providing worthwhile advice from their experiences in a panel discussion. Additionally, I had the opportunity to conduct an informational interview for the course with an alumnus, which allowed me to investigate career paths of interest even further.

How did this experience impact you academically?

The course helped provide me with the motivation to ration time for important professional development. I'm a procrastinator by nature, so having extra incentive to take time and develop a resume, draft cover letters, and investigate my strengths really proved invaluable.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

I am motivated to pursue a career in public service. As such, probably most impactful part of the course for me was the opportunity to talk and network with alumni who are serving in positions that are relevant to my interests. Through their input in the alumni panel and the further discussions it facilitated, I was provided with a better grasp on the opportunities that are available to me.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would recommend LA 401 to any Liberal Arts student who wants to get started on preparing for life beyond college; it's never too early to start. While the course doesn't require a massive time commitment, it will provide impetus to the take necessary steps towards your career goals, and provide you with a breadth of knowledge you might not have sought out on your own.

Haley Guay

Alumni Mentor Program
Up one level
Haley Guay

Major: Psychology
Minor: Labor and Employment Relations, Spanish
Hometown: Roanoke Rapids, NC

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I learned about the Alumni Mentor Program through various emails from the College of Liberal Arts. This opportunity was also posted on the College of Liberal Arts homepage.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

I really enjoyed participating in the Alumni Mentor Program. My mentor and I talked about decisions and plans that were pivotal to my career and college success. We were a perfect fit and I honestly learned so much from her and her professional experience!

How did this experience impact you academically?

My mentor helped me create goals and stick to them.

My mentor helped me create goals and stick to them. We touched base every few weeks to assess my progress and address any concerns. My mentor helped me realign my focus when we connected and advised me on a variety of academic decisions.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

In a few weeks, I will begin my first career as a Human Resources Associate for a company that I interned with last summer. My mentor certainly helped me prepare for the internship and job by reviewing my resume, offering professional working advice, and connecting me to other people in the field of Human Resources.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

Yes. It is important to learn from others who have a broader understanding of the working world and can give you advice on becoming a young professional.

For more information on the Liberal Arts Alumni Mentor Program, visit our website.

Kimmie Williams

LA 401: Professional Development for the Liberal Arts Student
Up one level
Kimmie Williams

Major: French and Francophone Studies; Global and International Studies
Hometown: Ellicott City, Maryland

How did you learn about this opportunity?

Upon entering my final year at Penn State, I became aware of my true lack of knowledge on finding a job, or finding the best opportunities once I graduate. Penn State Career Services is a great resource for all Penn State students, but I was looking for something that would help me market and utilize my Liberal Arts degrees. My academic advisor recommended this 1-credit course, as it touches every aspect that a Liberal Arts student needs to know for post-graduation life.

"This course had a huge impact on clarifying and outlining my career goals, encouraging me to explore unique career opportunities, and linking me with professionals with similar interests as me."

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

This course links you with experts in many fields to assist with many professional development topics, such as interviewing skills and mock interviews. I found the mock interviewers to be extremely beneficial, as practicing this allowed me to determine interview strengths and challenges I faced. The feedback I received from mock interviewers was always useful and well-thought out because of their vast experience in various hiring processes. I went into this course believing that I knew a lot about businesses and interviewing and resumes, since I had a previous internship experience. However, I was extremely surprised to learn that one can never be fully prepared for an interview/job search. For example, my professor, Heather Baruch-Bueter, told us that our resumes are never truly complete; there are always ways to improve and elements to update and customize for each job/experience.

How did this experience impact you academically?

Academically, it gave me more of a push to learn in my classes; to pay attention; and to improve my listening, learning, and people skills in preparation for post-graduation job searches. Since the workload in this course was very minimal, and it all helped prepare for cover letter and resume writing that I would need to complete anyway, I was easily able to fit it into my schedule. Heather and her team are always available and willing to help out any student, even after they graduate. I always valued them as a resource, and will continue to throughout my career.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

Since studying abroad in Montpellier, France, I have eagerly awaited a chance to return, so my short-term career plans included applying to a year-long teaching program, where assistants are placed in a high school in France to teach English. In the long-term, my goals are less concrete, as I hope to seek out future employment in France. This course had a huge impact on clarifying and outlining my career goals, encouraging me to explore unique career opportunities, and linking me with professionals with similar interests as me. The course becomes really personalized, as Heather tirelessly seeks to provide the most useful experience for each individual student.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would certainly recommend this course to any Liberal Arts student. Having a diverse classroom with students of all fields of study including Political Science, German, Economics, Psychology, among others adds such a valuable element to the course. Perhaps you will find a career path that you never thought of or a student to connect with that can help you find a job five years down the line. The possibilities are endless with a Penn State Liberal Arts degree, and this course helps all of us work toward out goals during the remainder of our studies and beyond.

Lisa Dubin

Internship with Kleinfeld Bridal
Up one level
Lisa Dubin

Major: Labor and Employment Relations
Hometown: Long Island, New York

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I learned about this experience through Linked In. I was in touch with many people about internship opportunities, but then saw that Kleinfeld Bridal had an internship program. I spoke with my family friend who works there and asked about this opening. Although I was in contact with other employers, this opportunity surpassed the others. Using your connections is a huge advantage in getting ahead. Expand your network as big as you can. It truly helps in the end.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

This internship consists of using a computer system for inputting all of the information about each bride. This includes their purchase, address, phone number, important details pertaining to the order, and anything else that has to do with the order and bride. I input information into the computer system. Additionally, I email designers to ensure that the order is going to be completed and shipped on time. My boss, Michelle is very helpful, dedicated, and hardworking. I hope that one day I am like her in my work setting and get to influence students as well. She influences me to work hard, excel at anything I am working on, and to always respect others. She is fantastic at her occupation and I believe one day I will have her work ethic because I am learning from her.

How did this experience impact you academically?

I know how to work hard, learn new things efficiently, and work with employees and employers.

This experience impacted me academically because it made me ponder whether or not my major is what I want to pursue. This internship did not have to do with my major, Labor and Employment Relations, but I truly enjoy working in this industry. I have been thinking a lot about whether to change my major or to pursue my major within the fashion industry. I love working with fashion and I learned so many things about it that I never knew of. I gained so much knowledge on fashion, business, and how a company works. This information is definitely going to help me further on in life when I start my career. I know how to work hard, learn new things efficiently, and work with employees and employers.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

My career goals and plans have definitely been impacted by this internship. My major is Labor and Employment Relations with a focus on Human Resources. This experience has nothing to do with my major as I work in the production department. I truly enjoy working in this field and it made me think about whether I want to continue my LER path or change it completely. To make this experience incorporated into my major, my career goal is to be in charge of a Human Resources department in a fashion company. This would combine my two passions, helping others and fashion.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students because everyone should gain as much experience as they can before acquiring a full time occupation. I believe that this opportunity would help them decide if Liberal Arts is what they want to pursue or to change their field. Also, this could help students decide what industry they want to work within. This opportunity truly helped me figure out what industry I want to be in for my future occupation.

For more information on internships for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.

Kevin

Internship with Liberty Mutual Insurance
Up one level
Kevin

Major: Economics, International Political Economy
Hometown: Park Ridge, New Jersey

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I learned about this internship opportunity from Indeed.com. However, when Liberty Mutual Insurance visited Penn State, I was able to reconnect following my interviews and set my interview date and time in the Saddle Brook, New Jersey office.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

As a personal insurance sales intern in the Saddle Brook office, my time in the office is split into thirds:a third of my time I spent dealing with administrative tasks within the office, such as uploading insurance policy documents to the online servers through scanning, front desk tending, and organizing the branch's entire life insurance policy collection (some of the policies dated back to the 70's and 80's!). Another third of my internship consisted of sitting it on conference calls which taught me how to sell insurance with Liberty Mutual, make a sell, find a target market, and classify who makes a target Liberty Mutual Insurance policyholder, along with all major points and strategies necessary to pass the Insurance Agent certification class. The final third of my internship consisted of shadowing one of the 13 other sales reps in the branch office, which included traveling to "on-sites," appointments made for companies and schools to purchase insurance policies at a discounted rate given their affiliation with the location of the on-site. An example of this is, in June I traveled to the Washington School in Union City, NJ to shadow an agent who was selling insurance policies to the faculty and staff of the school system.

How did this experience impact you academically?

Academically, this experience allowed me to really interact with customers on a daily basis who were interested in purchasing insurance. CAS137H (Rhetoric and Civic Life) specifically came to mind, as the teachings of that class gave me more confidence in my presentations and allowed me to really jump into a comfort zone when it came to calling and persuading people I have not met to purchase insurance policies. Overall, I learned more about financial services and how people decide to place their money, and a much more persuasive side to my rhetoric.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

I learned valuable tactics to complete a sale, as well as advertise a product well, all while learning how to correctly analyze business trends.

Career-wise, I would love to work in some type of Foreign Exchange setting, or perhaps even as a Sales and Trading analyst. While insurance sales is not exactly the same thing as working on the trading floor of a firm, I learned valuable tactics to complete a sale, as well as advertise a product well, all while learning how to correctly analyze business trends that could be deemed useful in any financial setting. This experience also helped me realize that a passion is absolutely necessary to perform at one's best in their profession of choice, given sales reps had both good days and bad days, some of which depended on the mood the reps would be in.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

Absolutely! What an experience it was to experience a sales setting with fun, motivated individuals five days a week. If you're looking to break into the business world, a sales internship is the exact stepping stone a Liberal Arts student needs to couple the degree with tangible experiences.

For more information on internships for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.

Bryan Wang

Internship with Office of Attorney General - Bureau of Consumer Protection
Up one level
Bryan Wang

Major: Sociology
Minor: Psychology
Hometown: Pittsford, NY

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I found this internship through Network Simplicity.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

So far, my experience at the Bureau has been smooth. The first week or so was the most difficult, which is understandable given the novelty of the situation. My "job" isn't terribly complicated; a consumer files a complaint with a business and I act as a mediator. Communication is the cornerstone of the internship; the mediation process requires discourse, written and oral. Although day-to-day tasks don't require a whole lot of complex thinking, the conversations with the businesses and consumers are what ultimately have the biggest impact. The mediator has a chance to resolve the case where both sides leave satisfied, without legal action having to be taken.

How did this experience impact you academically?

Interning at the Bureau has given me a small glimpse into being involved in government and law, but it's also opened my eyes to the structure of the organization (Office of Attorney General) as a whole.

I'm taking this internship for credit (LA 495), which I'm hoping to be able to take the place of a 400 level sociology class. Interning at the Bureau has given me a small glimpse into being involved in government and law, but it's also opened my eyes to the structure of the organization (Office of Attorney General) as a whole. The Bureau is just one small link on a much larger chain, and it really doesn't have much jurisdiction. In this context, with most complaints that are filed, it takes integrity on both the business and consumer's side for the case to be resolved satisfactorily because the chances are high that the Bureau won't pursue legal action. There has to be a reasonable amount of suspicion that a business is engaged in fraudulent practice to do so. The Bureau also isn't allowed to give legal advice, so in many cases if a consumer isn't able to get what he wants and still wants to pursue the complaint, the Bureau can only suggest the consumer to pursue legal action privately.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

At this point, I'm really not sure of my career plans. At the very least, this internship will have helped me explore the field of sociology a little bit. So far, I don't think I could see myself working at the Bureau in the future. The people there are wonderful, which makes working there enjoyable, but the work process itself can get a bit monotonous and predictable. I don't think I could sit at a desk and make phone calls and generate letters all day. I think I'd prefer a more hands-on vocation, but I'll have to stay open minded about it all.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would recommend this experience because one, it emphasizes communication, and two, it's an experience. Anyone can take something valuable away from interning here.

For more information on internships for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.

Zachary

Internship with Push To Walk
Up one level
Zachary

Major: Communication Arts & Science
Hometown: Kinnelon, NJ

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I learned about this enrichment experience through family friends. My supervisor was friendly with a mutual contact of mine and I was given the idea to apply for a position within the organization. After, several emails back and forth as well as an interview, I was offered a position.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

My experience thus far has been great. I have been kept very busy with numerous types of work. I am doing a lot of research for multiple purposes. For example, I am in charge of researching foundations throughout the country in order to decide whether or not we should write a grant proposal to them. I am also doing research on area hospitals and creating a database out of it. With this database, I am heading an outreach effort to connect with these hospitals.

How did this experience impact you academically?

I am using a lot of communication skills I have previously learned in order to successfully complete my tasks. Although I have not yet completed my internship, I can see how well it lines up with my goals and my previous studies. I am able to communicate on a higher level with not only my peers at work but with other people and organizations on the outside. With this, I am able to bring a higher level of success than if I were not familiar with such knowledge. When I go back for fall semester, I will know how to write better in a professional setting.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

I would like to work at a non-profit upon graduation. Specifically, I would like to manage a non-profit after going back to school. I plan on working for several years after I complete my undergrad education. Then I plan to go back to school and complete my Masters of Public Administration in Non Profit Management. I hope to work for an organization that makes me happy to work with that. I think this experience made me realize that if I work for a non-profit I would like to work for a global organization rather than a local grassroots org.

I would absolutely recommend this to other students. It gave me a jump start for the future.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would absolutely recommend this to other students. You are able to learn a lot before even graduating from college. It gave me a jump start for the future.

For more information on internships for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.

Andrew

Internship with Jones Lang LaSalle
Up one level
Andrew

Major: Economics
Minor: Business/Liberal Arts
Hometown: Denville NJ

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I learned about this enrichment experience through my LA 495 summer class. This is a three-credit summer class that goes hand-in-hand with my internship.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

My experience thus far has been very positive. My class has enhanced my internship and helped me better myself by giving me helpful advice. One example of advice my class has given me was creating rapports with workers at my company by introducing myself and asking to get lunch. Another great piece of advice my class has given me is to reflect on my successes and failures after a week of work. By writing them down I am able to clearly express and understand my actions.

How did this experience impact you academically?

I have become a master at creating task lists, whether it be on post it notes or on excel.

This experience has tremendously helped me become more organized. This is my first internship, so it made me understand how being organized makes my day-to-day operations less stressful and helps me be more productive. This will definitely continue into my school year when my classes begin in the fall. I am confident that my improved organization skills will help me produce better work and receive better grades for my senior year. For example, I have become a master at creating task lists, whether it be on post it notes or on excel. Having a go-to place to write things down to remind me to do them is a skill I would have only learned through a hands-on experience. I am excited to incorporate that into my academics next year.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

At this point of my life, I have not yet figured out what I want to do. I want to experience different things before I make a decision on a serious career path. I also might want to follow a passion of mine before jumping into the corporate world. I really enjoy music, movies, and making videos, so that is something I could see myself following. Having a job on Madison Avenue in New York has really opened my eyes to how the financial world works in the United States. Honestly, it’s not as bad as I originally thought. I enjoy the energy that comes with negotiating deals and making money. Is it something I could see myself doing for the rest of my life? Probably not, but I am happy this experience is helping me realize what I want to do.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

Yes, I definitely would. If you have the finances to take a summer class, and you are eligible for a 400-level econ class, then you really can't go wrong. They go hand-in-hand. If you stay on top of the class, you excel in your internship. If you work hard at your internship, you will have more than enough to write about for the class.

For more information on internships for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.

Edie Ye

Internship with Jin Rui Law Firm
Up one level
Edie Ye

Major: Psychology BS, Criminology BS
Hometown: Cupertino, California

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I met a representative of CRCC Asia at the fall career fair at the BJC last October (2015). I decided to apply to the program, was accepted, but my parents didn't support me monetarily. I paid for the program myself, and decided to apply for enrichment funds to help out with living expenses for 2 months in Beijing.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

As a legal assistant intern at Jin Rui Law Firm, I attended litigation meetings, researched environmental laws and regulations, and translated documents/proofread newsletters. I'm an Asian American who can speak fluent Mandarin, but haven't lived in Asia or visited China for any longer than 2 weeks. There are some colleagues who can speak a little English, but predominantly I communicate with them in Chinese. Although there is some culture shock that I experienced, when you come to China with an open mind, the lifestyle and city will definitely grow on you. The food is amazing (truthfully Beijing food is a little on the heavier side, the flavor and type of food is a little too spicy/salty for me) but a great place for introducing Asian food!

How did this experience impact you academically?

Academically, I translated law documents, and learned the Chinese "law jargon" and English "law jargon," and how to conduct myself professionally. Here, even simple business gestures like handshakes are different from America. In America, you want a firm, strong handshake when meeting both females and males in order to exude confidence. However, here in China, you want to shake the four fingers of a lady, and not include the thumb, which gives off the impression of gentleness, consideration, and care, because you are "looking after females". You learn to be proactive depending on the type of company you're interning at, and while you may not have work to do every single minute, you can take advantage of keeping a journal of what you accomplished, or setting a goal of completing one task a day (whether it be finishing one assignment, meeting a client, etc) which will definitely help you remember what you accomplished when you look back.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

I'm definitely going to be using this internship to strengthen my future opportunities.

I'm pursuing forensic psychology, and thus majoring in Psychology BS and Criminology BS. Although I'm not going to be a lawyer, it's extremely helpful to have a strong background in law. Thus, that was my reasoning with choosing an internship in the legal sector through CRCC Asia. Jin Rui Law Firm provided me with professional experience (definitely build up those soft skills like interacting with coworkers, getting used to the 9 hour work day, etc) but also try to soak in everything that you're exposed to everyday. I'm definitely going to be using this internship to strengthen my future opportunities.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

Yes, it was definitely tough living and working in an environment where it's 100% Chinese that's being spoken even though I'm fluent, but the entire experience was worth it. I love traveling, and gaining the professional experience in a Chinese workplace was a once in a lifetime opportunity. Even though I was there for 2 months, which may seem like a long time when you sign up, it flies by because the weekdays are packed with work and the weekends are packed with trying to see everything. Definitely take advantage of traveling and studying abroad during college-it is the best time to travel because you only have you to worry about, you are young, willing, and capable so try to see as much as the world as you can!

For more information on internships for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.

Skylar Korek

Internship at Columbia Presbyterian Children's Hospital
Up one level
Skylar Korek

Major: Psychology (in Neuroscience)
Hometown: Edgemont, NY

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I contacted an anesthesiologist at New York Presbyterian Children's Hospital who I worked for two summers prior, through an anesthesia internship program. The anesthesiologist was kind enough to connect me with another department in the Children's Hospital and help me secure this position.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

This internship consisted of shadowing three attending surgeons in the Pediatric Urology department as well as four Pediatric Urology residents. The surgeons I work with allowed me to observe surgeries in the operating room and clinic visits on the floor, and make rounds with them to check on patients. This experience has been incredible.

How did this experience impact you academically?

Working at CHONY has allowed me to see what the life of a surgeon really is like. This experience has given me great motivation to continue my pursuit of becoming a doctor. I know that the path to become a surgeon is a long one, but I am determined to work for it and will continue to dream big.

This experience has given me great motivation to continue my pursuit of becoming a doctor.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

I have always wanted to become a doctor and more specifically, a surgeon. Being able to see what the profession entails on a routine basis has been a great help in shaping my goals for the future. My experience has confirmed that the medicine is the right profession for me. Talking to patients one-on-one, working as a team, and allowing people to live better lives are what I love about this profession.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

Definitely. If you are interested in any profession the best way to see if it is right for you, is to do it. This experience has allowed me to do just that.

For more information on internships for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.

Doran Tucker

CIEE, Amman, Jordan / Summer Middle East Studies
Up one level
Doran Tucker

Major: International Politics, Geography
Minor: Undeclared: Middle Eastern Studies, Arab, Global Security
Hometown: Aaronsburg, PA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I learned about the program from fellow students in my Arabic class. Everyone I spoke with had great things to say about the program. The program was also easy to find because CIEE is the only company offering education abroad experiences in Amman, Jordan. I also spoke with CIEE representatives at the education abroad fair.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

My experience in Jordan was fantastic. I had wonderful time learning how best to flag down taxis, ordering food, and fulfilling my life long dream of visiting Petra. I lived in a pleasant neighborhood of Amman (I was surrounded by medical offices and embassies), and it was only a five-minute taxi ride to the city center. When I wasn’t studying for my classes or trying to find the best/cheapest restaurants in the city, my program coordinators had a variety of cultural experience activities for me to participate in (e.g. visiting a Mosque, participating in traditional arts and crafts, and cooking classic Jordanian food). All of these arranged events were great fun and gave my fellow students and me the opportunity to learn more about the Jordanian culture. In addition to the activities in Amman we also had several excursions out of the city. I got to visit Roman ruins, medieval castles, and an overnight trip to the ancient city of Petra and the beautiful Wadi Rum desert. During my trip I experienced the Jordanian hospitality that I had been repeatedly told of, and I truly felt welcome in Amman.

"In addition to being able to go from learning Arabic in the classroom to utilizing it on the street after class, I also had the opportunity to take a class looking at U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East."

How did this experience impact you academically?

I have been studying Arabic since my senior year of high school, so it made sense that I would want to travel to an Arabic speaking country. Jordan seemed like the obvious location, I had always wanted to visit the country and I could study Arabic. I was not disappointed. In addition to being able to go from learning Arabic in the classroom to utilizing it on the street after class, I also had the opportunity to take a class looking at U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. This was a highly enjoyable experience. To be honest it seems a little different talking about U.S. policies from the perspective of a different country. Personally I feel that studying in Jordan was helpful academically not only because I learned new things in my classes but also because being in a different country helped me look at topics and situations I had already studied and understand them from another perspective. For me this seems like the most important academic element of my experience in Jordan, I got to learn about familiar events in a way that often made them seem very unfamiliar.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

Upon finishing my undergraduate education I would like to pursue a graduate degree and then I hope to find a university teaching position. Given that throughout my college career my academic focus has been on the Middle Eastern politics and history, U.S. policy in the region, and Middle Eastern nationalist movements it only made sense that I should visit and actually spend some time in the region. Perhaps the greatest impact visiting Jordan had on me was that it made me realize how much more time I should spend there and moving forward my hope is that I can incorporate travel more effectively into my research. As I transition from undergraduate to graduate level education I think that trying to write about the Middle East from America is all too prone to the propagation of misleading stereotypes and I hope that by continuing to experience living in the Middle East I can more effectively contribute to my fields of interest.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would. Especially to those students who are interested in an experience that is something more than a reason to spend a month on a beach somewhere. I had a wonderful time in Jordan, but it was because I wanted to be surrounded by the culture and language I have been studying for years. For those of you who want to get out of your comfort zone and experience a new culture I highly recommend this program.

For more information on global experiences for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.

Aws Laaribi

Internship with Cantor Fitzgerald
Up one level
Aws Laaribi

Major: Economics
Minor: Business and the Liberal Arts
Hometown: Rye, New York
Chapel Executive Intern

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I found out about this internship through a friend. My supervisor is also from my hometown and we met each other through mutual friends. We have common interests, such as tennis, which helped us get along and form a good relationship.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

My supervisor was a great mentor who spent a great amount of time teaching me about the different types of financial computer systems such as Bloomberg Terminal and going through the responsibilities and expectations I would face during the course of the internship. Ron is a great person who really cares about his interns and making sure they understand what has to be done.

How did this experience impact you academically?

I will be able to connect the economic and financial knowledge acquired at Penn State with market insights.

Being exposed to the daily activities at Cantor Fitzgerald was highly valuable as my first experience in a financial service firm. The mentorship and training offered by Cantor Fitzgerald’s professionals allowed me to better understand the financial acumen needed to advise a wide variety of clients. Importantly, I will be able to connect the economic and financial knowledge acquired while at Penn State with the market insights of Cantor Fitzgerald.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

This internship exposed me to how this organization helps its clients build and implement new business strategies related to equity capital markets. I had the opportunity to participate in financial projects that are designed to help a variety of institutional clients. This internship helped me better shape my future educational and career goals as it exposed me the daily activities of a leading equity firm. Furthermore, I better understand how new technologies are used to provide sound financial services.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

Yes, if you are looking for sales and trading hand-on experience, then this is the internship for you.

For more information on internships for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.

Eshia Willingham

Internship with State College Police Department
Up one level
Eshia Willingham

Major: Crimnology & Spanish
Minor: Sociology
Hometown: Arlington, TX

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I heard about the internship program with the State College Police Department from several other Penn State students. There was also advertisement for it at my current job, Penn State Auxiliary Police.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

My first day I was able to sit in on an arraignment for a court case. I did several ride-alongs which were eight hours each. I was on the day shift and the night shift. I thought it was interesting that the department did not use radar when detecting speed, but they used a more manual process. I attended criminal investigations (CI) with some of the detectives. During CI, I was able to search a couple of phones for incriminating evidence that the detectives were going to use to prosecute the suspects. I also attended a memorial service for police officers in the state of PA and the surrounding area.

How did this experience impact you academically?

I feel that the internship gave me a valuable real world experience. I learned more about police work than I would have in a lecture class. I was able to see first-hand what police work is like,which will help me because I want to work in this area after I graduate. This internship increased my knowledge of the criminal justice field and I hope to also use what I have learned in my classes in the fall. Most of the criminology professors were not police officers before they became professors so being able to get instruction and advice from actual officers will help me guide my studies and research in the future.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

I have wanted to be a police officer since the 8th grade because I believe that I have the ability to make my community a better place. [...] I am close to obtaining that goal.

I believe becoming a Penn State police office will help me learn how to become a great police officer in a safer environment and prepare me for when I transfer to a bigger city. I also would like to broaden my network and gain more knowledge about the field of law enforcement as it pertains to working with college students. Working closely with the officers and detectives at that department allowed me to see first-hand how police officers deal with calls in and around the State College area. This allowed me to become even more familiar with State College and will make for an easy and fast transition into the Penn State Public Safety Police Officer position. I also would like to continue my education as well. I have wanted to be a police officer since the 8th grade because I believe that I have the ability to make my community and the world a better place. Working for Penn State Police Department has been a goal of mine since my sophomore year of college and I am close to obtaining that goal.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would recommend it if a student is staying in State College for the summer anyway, but I would strongly encourage interning at a bigger department. Other departments might pay and give the student more exciting experiences. I would highly encourage this internship if the student plans on working in this area after graduation.

For more information on internships for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.

Hannah Wolf

B Event Planning
Up one level
Hannah Wolf

Major: Communication Arts and Sciences
Hometown: Clarion, PA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I got involved with an event planning organization on campus and representatives from B Event Planning came into talk with us about wedding planning. They announced that they had a internship position available and so I took the initiative to apply.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

My internship has been going very well. I work Tuesday and Thursdays with clients/vendors and most weekends I work the weddings. This has been such an amazing experience so far. They really take the time to teach me and ask what I would like to get out of this internship. The planners have me make phones calls to confirm or place orders for clients as well as request information from vendors. My daily tasks are really diverse as I get to work with different venues, businesses, advertising, and more. I know I will get so much valuable experience through this internship.

"This internship has taught me a lot about what career I want to pursue and has inspired a new sense of focus for my senior year at Penn State."

How did this experience impact you academically?

Participating in this internship has really helped me to improve my work ethic. Investing my time and effort into certain work projects has carried over to my study habits as well. I really have a better understanding for the workforce and how competitive everything is. This makes me want to strive and excel academically in a lot of different areas. I am hoping to use the electives I have left to really start to narrow down my major because it is so broad. This internship has taught me a lot about what career I want to pursue and has inspired a new sense of focus for my senior year at Penn State.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

My career goal isn’t necessarily to be an event planner, but rather to manage and work with lots of different people. I am interested in pursuing a career in advertising or marketing and hope to be on the creative side of this kind of planning for a company. My end career goal would be to work for a fortune 200 company and be able to work my way up to the position of creative director

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would definitely recommend this to those who love to be on their feet, moving around, and most importantly, love to talk. This is by no means an easy job. You are always dealing with new people, vendors, budgets and the list goes on. You really become a better-rounded individual when working for a company like this. You see a lot of parts that it takes to run a business. You gain experience in a variety of areas, including the transportation of food or decorations/props, advertising, graphic design and so on. Another positive aspect about this internship is the opportunity to build your network and get to know more people.

For more information on internships for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.

Brian Adair

Global Connections
Up one level
Brian Adair

Major: French, Telecommunications, Global and International Studies
Minor: Arabic, Middle East Studies
Hometown: State College, PA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I first learned about this internship opportunity when I reached out to several of my Facebook friends when I was still applying to internships. One of my friends who I grew up with recommended that I apply for Global Connections because of her previous experience with the Conversation Partners Program. I then began corresponding with the Executive Director of Global Connections and arranged a meeting. After meeting with him, I was accepted for a summer internship.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

At Global Connections I was able to learn a lot about working for a non-profit organization. More importantly I was able to see first-hand how an organization such as Global Connections helps reinforce the international community in State College. During my time working with Global Connections, I was able to think of and implement marketing strategies using social media applications such as Facebook. I was also able to work with the Global Connections Conversation Partners Program and work on designing an updated guidebook for volunteers of the program using Microsoft Publisher, a program that was completely new to me. I was also able to hone my skills using Microsoft Excel which I used to keep track of my hours and to record for my supervisor the programs I was working on. My internship supervisor also allowed me to sit in on meetings and brainstorm marketing strategies for upcoming events. I also had the opportunity to work one on one with individuals within the international community. Throughout my internship with Global Connections, I helped several individuals find housing at various times throughout the summer.

"Global Connections has given me the chance to meet some extremely interesting people and broaden my cultural horizons through my interaction with them."

How did this experience impact you academically?

My time at Global Connections has given me the chance to learn what it means to work in a professional field within the human services industry. Although I am not taking classes during my time with Global Connections, I have found that I have acquired new skills that I couldn’t have obtained in a classroom. The most valuable lesson is that this experience has opened my eyes to an entirely new aspect of my hometown that I had never seen before. This next year I want to become more involved with the organization even after my internship ends this summer.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

My career goal is to obtain a position where I can help people from other communities adapt to life in a new location. I also enjoy learning about other cultures and ways of life. My internship with Global Connections was great because it fit with this career goals so nicely. Global Connections has given me the chance to meet some extremely interesting people and broaden my cultural horizons through my interaction with them. I can see from my time at Global Connections I would enjoy working in a similar field and hope to continue working with internationals in the future.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would most certainly recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students. Global Connections provides students with the opportunity to work with internationals in the community and to foster cultural diversity. Even if your concentration isn’t within the international scope, Global Connections is a terrific experience for any student who enjoys working with and helping others.

For more information on internships for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.

Sydney Mrozinski

Internship: Project Vote Smart
Up one level
Sydney Mrozinski

Major: Political Science
Minor: Agriculture
Hometown: Chalfont, PA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

One of my teachers mentioned this experience to us during class one day. So I took advantage of the opportunity!

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

For the summer, I took my life and moved it to Philipsburg, Montana. I am currently interning for a non-profit, no-partisan organization called Project Vote smart. I am in the research section of this project. My learning objective is to learn how to collect factual, non-partisan information about congressional candidates from each state. I’ve learned how to pull information off candidates’ websites based only on the information they personally put out there. This is the most important part of my job, to provide the public with free, factual, and unbiased information. I take the information of the candidates’ websites and pull information about their education, past political and professional experience, and their background. I then create a profile for each candidate running for office and post it publicly for American’s all over the country to see. Providing consistent, non-partisan information is the most difficult part of the job.

How did this experience impact you academically?

During this internship I am also taking two classes. One co-insides with the internship and the other does not. Throughout this internship it has been difficult to sit down and focus after an 8 hour day of staring at the computer but it takes determination to sit down and focus on school work for another 3 hours. This internship has taught me discipline to say the least. I feel I have become a much better student, by finding the ability to focus on my school work and be successful in my internship.

I feel I have become a much better student, by finding the ability to focus on my school work and be successful in my internship.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

This experience was very different for me. I am used to working with my hands and working on tractors and cars, so to completely change gears and pick an internship that's pretty much the closest thing to a desk job was very big for me. I have gained amazing research skills and added a lot of skills to me resume. I know now that a desk really isn't for me.I know I want to work outside with my hands. I love being a part of the land and learning how to work it. It's something that's in my blood.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

Yes I would. I think it makes you appreciate the internship and really take a step back and look at it in a different light.

For more information on internships for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.

McCall Mintzer

Internship at Chubb
Up one level
McCall Mintzer

Major: Asian Studies
Minor: Chinese
Hometown: Malvern

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I found out about the enrichment experience through my LA 495 course. I interned at Chubb this summer and I found out about the course through my advisor.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

I learned a lot more through this experience than I expected. The course helped me use all of my resources to their full potential in my internship. Through the lessons I reflected on my performance so far and find areas of improvement so that I can maximize my experience.

How did this experience impact you academically?

The fact that my internship also counted for academic credit helped hold me accountable on another level.

The fact that my internship also counted for academic credit helped hold me accountable on another level. I felt a stronger drive to perform well at my internship, make my deadlines and hand in my LA 495 assignments.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

I have gained a better understanding and perspective of how international companies run from a domestic standpoint. I also have been exposed to possible fields within the company where I could possibly use my passion and knowledge of Asian studies in an insurance setting.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

Yes I would because it has helped enrich my internship experience and I have learned a lot.

For more information on internships for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.

Yoav Poni

Internship: EBS - Brokertech
Up one level
Yoav Poni

Major: International Economy and Politics
Minor: French
Hometown: Herzliya, Israel

How did you learn about this opportunity?

During the career fairs, I tried to reach out to as many recruiters as possible. I followed up with each new network with an email sharing my resume. Nothing came up until I got an email from EBS - Brokertec mentioning that they would like to speak with me over the phone. The interview over the phone was pretty basic and straightforward but I had to do my “homework” like knowing the share price for the company. The second interview was more about why I was interested in working for them during the summer.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

Working in EBS Brokertec has been a great experience. I did not know a lot of the financial markets and since I started the internship I have learned a lot and gained a lot of experience in trading, reading and understanding how the financial markets work. My work in EBS Brokertec has varied but mostly I have shadowed the current employees. I attended meetings in banks and with other clients like hedge fund traders. People have been very nice regarding helping me understand how their day-to-day job works. I had daily tasks to complete and I stayed extra hours or came in earlier in the morning to complete tasks. In addition, I completed my internship in New York City which in itself was a great opportunity of experiences.

How did this experience impact you academically?

I had a lot of time to discuss and think about what I want to do when I graduate college. I tried to listen and understand those who are willing to give me their advice about school. From what I have learned about the business, I think that now I can better navigate my way to a career in international economics and politics. I have a huge affiliation to politics by my nature and economics has interested me since I can remember. After the internship I am able to see clearly what I want to do and how my degree from Penn State will benefit me.

After the internship I am able to see clearly what I want to do and how my degree from Penn State will benefit me.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

I want to keep studying and learning as much as I can about the foundations and concepts of economics so I could apply my education to future summer internships. These internships will provide me with strong experiences in the financial industry. I think my experience impacted my goals a little but from my perspective it only made what I always thought clear. I should work hard in school, get good internships to build my knowledge and experience therefore when I am ready to graduate I am more marketable to a variety of potential employers.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

Yes, EBS - Brokertec is a firm that is very different than any other financial firm out there. People are very relationship based and they are very respective of interns. 

For more information on internships for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.

Ian McCalister

Internship: Philadelphia Soul
Up one level
Ian McCalister

Major: Economics
Hometown: Philadelphia, PA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I found out about this internship through a combination of research and networking. I wanted an internship in the sports industry and my dad works with a man who was able to put me in touch with the COO of the Philadelphia Soul.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

I am a Group Sales intern with the Philadelphia Soul, which is an arena football team in the AFL. My responsibilities include selling group packages to a variety of groups in the Delaware Valley. These clients include non-profit organizations, dance studios, karate studios, youth athletic leagues, businesses, summer camps, churches, etc. I have learned how to use Salesforce CRM to keep up with prospects. After prospecting on my own, I reach out by making phone calls and sending out emails. When a sale is made, I go through the fulfillment process to ensure that they get their tickets. I also assist with game day and other events.

This experience has impacted me academically because I am learning different parts of how a business, more specifically how a sports team, is operated.

How did this experience impact you academically?

This experience has impacted me academically because I am learning different parts of how a business, more specifically how a sports team, is operated. I work as part of a small front office, so while I am working in sales myself, I also am exposed to the daily assignments of our employees who are working in operations, finance, public relations/communications, corporate sponsorship, etc. Being able to work the games has allowed me to learn about box office operations, game day activity, stadium management and fan engagement. I believe that my experience so far is helping me to learn the many skills that it takes in order to not only be successful in sports, but to be successful as a business person. I have developed not only my sales skills, but my communication skills, organizational skills, time management skills and my leadership skills.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

My broad career goal involves being able to work in the sports industry. I am interested in many aspects of sports and am not 100% decided on exactly what I'd like to do in the industry. This internship has helped me because it represents my first step into the industry, and sales is a fantastic start. A recent study showed that 56% of sports jobs available are in sales. Being able to sell is perhaps the most attractive skill for a person to have who is trying to enter the sports world. I think having this opportunity to sharpen my sales skills and learn about other aspects of business in a small front office atmosphere is going to be a great help for me in the future when applying for other positions.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

Yes, I would. It is a great way to intern and at the same time have the opportunity to sit down and digest everything that you are learning and achieving.

For more information on internships for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.

Cecelia Bruno

Internship: PeopleShare
Up one level
Cecelia Bruno

Major: Economics
Minor: Business
Hometown: Harrisburg, PA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I learned about this internship opportunity through the Nittany Lion Career Network. I applied online and was contacted shortly after by my mentor to set up an interview.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

My internship experience at PeopleShare has truly been an educational experience. I am majoring in economics, and although this internship has not exposed me to the economy or finances directly, I have been able to experience other aspects of the industry. This internship provided me with experience in an office setting and professional communication. During my internship, I was assigned many research, marketing, and analytical projects. Further building and improving upon these skills has helped me to realize what I desire in a future career.

How did this experience impact you academically?

This internship experience has helped me to achieve academically. My mentors for this internship program have all been very supportive and encouraging to help me complete my academic goals. Many of the people in my office either graduated from The Pennsylvania State University or have a degree in economics. They all have given me wonderful advice on how to reach my goals and how to make the most of this internship experience and the rest of my college years. They all want to see me succeed and help prepare me for the future. They encouraged me to put my academics first, but also helped me to realize that real life experiences are just as valuable and educational as what can be learned from within the classroom.

They encouraged me to put my academics first, but also helped me to realize that real life experiences are just as valuable and educational as what can be learned from within the classroom.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

This internship experience at PeopleShare helped me to better understand my career goals and plans. Before I began this internship, I did not really have an ideal career in mind upon graduation. I was hopeful that my future coursework would help me determine the correct career path for me. However, I have truly enjoyed all of the aspects of this internship. I enjoy working in an office setting, and I feel accomplished while working on the research projects at PeopleShare. I now clearly envision myself in a similar role in the future, most likely doing marketing research and analysis. This internship has allowed me to practice some of the skills I would need to use in a future career, and I truly enjoy the work.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would encourage Liberal Arts student to consider an internship at PeopleShare. The employees I work with are so supportive and encouraging of my academic progress. It is truly a great environment to be able to further develop any skills a student is looking to improve. This experience has helped me build my network, communication skills, research skills, and analytical skills. My internship at PeopleShare has helped to prepare me for real life experiences, and it helped to better understand my future goals.

For more information on internships for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.

Yash Tulsani

Internship: Credit Suisse
Up one level
Yash Tulsani

Major: Economics, International Politics
Minor: International Studies
Hometown: Mumbai, India

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I spoke to Penn State alumni who worked at Credit Suisse and also made use of the on-campus recruiting resources available. I spoke with my peers who have interned on Wall Street. Speaking to my peers as part of the Penn State Asset Management Group was very helpful in preparing me for the interviews and the internship.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

I have learned a lot during my time at Credit Suisse and I hope to learn a lot more about the capital markets. I have been able to experience closely the world of finance and it has given me a lot of understanding for my future career aspirations.

I have been able to experience closely the world of finance and it has given me a lot of understanding for my future career aspirations.

How did this experience impact you academically?

The experience was very helpful for me in understanding what I want to study for my senior year and my semester abroad. I will be spending my Fall semester in Spain studying European economics. Currently at Credit Suisse I cover European Technology companies so this experience helped me in deciding my study abroad plans. At the same time it has given me guidance on what I want to work in after graduation.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

My career goal is to be in finance after I graduate from Penn State and this experience will help me a lot. It is very hard to get a job in finance without prior internship experience so this helps me in crossing that hurdle and securing full-time employment.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would definitely recommend an internship to other Liberal Arts students because while a liberal arts education gives you a very strong set of academic and critical thinking skills it does not provide you with a set career path like a major in accounting or chemistry. An internship is an opportunity to explore the various potential career paths that you might be interested in post-graduation.

For more information on internships for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.

Lindsay Palmaccio

RG Apparel Group Corp
Up one level
Lindsay Palmaccio

Major: Psychology
Hometown: New York, NY

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I found out about this experience from my academic adviser.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

I was always interested in fashion. When I learned about this experience, there was no way I was going to turn it down. Even though being an intern does have its faults, I was excited to learn about the industry that has such a strong presence in my life. They have taught me so many useful things about the professional workplace including, but not limited to, organization, professionalism and relationships. Organization has been instilled in us since grade school, but I have never really seen how important it was until this internship. In the fashion industry there are deadlines, as there are with a lot of things, and in order for your product to stay on track, you need to be organized. My supervisor always says “Organization is the key to success” and I couldn’t agree with her more.

My experience has opened my eyes to the skills and expectations of future employers.

How did this experience impact you academically?

My experience has opened my eyes to the skills and expectations of future employers. It taught me specific skills that apply to both the real world and the world of school and education. These skills include organization, goal setting, timeliness, relationships, networking and so much more. These skills are ones that will guide me through life in the most efficient way possible. They are skills that are crucial to have under your belt while in school and after graduation. Through this internship, I have grown in so many ways, which will ultimately have an impact on my academic success.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

When I first went into this internship I had no idea what path I wanted to take with my career and future. It was a scary thought to believe that I was going to soon be a professional working adult that has bills and responsibilities other than deciding when I should do my laundry or what I wanted for dinner. I can honestly say though, that through this internship I grew in ways in which I never thought could happen. Of course I knew that at some point I would have to face the facts and “grow up” but this internship showed me that growing up was just another chapter in this book we call life and that it held so many other opportunities that I have not yet had the opportunity to experience. This made me excited and confident about my future and helped me see that a future career is something that I aspire to have, not something I fear.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

Depending on what they need academically, yes, even if you don't really need these credits I would still recommend it due to all of the rich and wonderful experiences and lessons you learn.

For more information on internships for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.

Melanie

Florida Office of Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinn
Up one level
Melanie

Major: International Politics
Minor: N/A
Hometown: Miami, FL

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I learned about this internship through the internet. I wanted to partake in an internship in my field of study while still being located in my hometown, thus I googled for such opportunities and stumbled upon an internship opportunity at the Florida Office of Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

My experience at the Florida Office of Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen has been unique. I am able to network,meet, and work with people who are not only interest in the same subject I am, but are experiencing it. For example, I have been able to go to events with multiple Florida representatives. I have also been able to work close to my community, Miami, by helping district constituents file their needs at the Florida Office of Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen. My time at the Florida Office of Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen has inspired me to apply to an internship at her DC Office for the 2017 summer. Hopefully by taking this step I will be able to begin networking with more politicians and begin learning more about the constitutional process of our country.

This experience impacted me academically by allowing me to put into practice what I have learned inside Penn State classrooms...

How did this experience impact you academically?

This experience impacted me academically by allowing me to put into practice what I have learned inside Penn State classrooms and by motivating me to work harder both, inside and outside the classroom. Through this internship I have learned why what I have learned is important; I have also experienced what I have learned. For example, after this internship I have been able to put into context why having Franklin Privilege is important and how it affects the lives of constituents. I have also seen why our founding fathers designed a political atmosphere in the matter they did and why all of the process we deem necessary is in fact necessary. Additionally, this internship has opened my eyes and inspired me to work harder in the classroom and outside the classroom in order to continue being eligible for opportunities similar to my current internship.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

My career goals and plans are focused in domestic politics. After this internship I would like to continue networking and meeting constituents of the district in order to one day be able to officially work with them as a member of their district. This internship inspired my goals and plans by allowing me to sit and work hand in hand with constituents through the Florida Office of Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen. This internship has also impacted my goals and plans by allowing me to see first hand how a Congressional Office impacts the daily activities of our community and how it keeps the wheel moving.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would recommend this experience to other Liberal Students who are interested in the domestic political field because it allows you to see how what you are doing is helping your community and how you change the lives of people in your community by allowing them to have a voice.

For more information on internships for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.

Shannon Lachman

Internship with Democratic National Committee
Up one level
Shannon Lachman

Major: Political Science, Communications
Minor: Spanish
Hometown: State College

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I found the internship online and applied online. I also had references from my previous Senate internship.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

In this internship, I was a political intern for the Democratic National Committee. I worked with the political department to produce the daily political guidance report and regional briefs. The briefs I wrote were read by the President, Vice President, First Lady, Second Lady, and Chairwoman. Working with the other interns and the Northeast political director was an educational, team building experience and I enjoyed the casual, but hardworking environment.

How did this experience impact you academically?

It taught me about the goals of a national campaign and important strategies behind it in a real-world way, expanding on my political science studies. It also developed my writing skills and my research skills.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

This experience solidified my goal to work in DC in the future.

This experience solidified my goal to work in DC in the future. I also learned what it is like to work on a campaign. I have already had a Hill interning experience, but the experience makes me want to get more campaign field experience.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

Yes, it is a great real-world experience.

For more information on internships for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.

Perry Gemmell

Internship with Allegis Group
Up one level
Perry Gemmell

Major: Economics
Minor: Business and the Liberal Arts
Hometown: Malvern, PA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

During my junior year, I applied for a mentor through the College of Liberal Arts Alumni Mentor Program. After I was paired with my mentor and he provided me with guidance and coaching surrounding my internship search, he became aware that his company was hiring summer interns. I interviewed for the position that I felt aligned most with my skill set and I ended up getting the internship. Without my alumni mentor, I never would've found out about Allegis Group or the internship opportunity.

"Working for a staffing agency this summer has been an invaluable opportunity to analyze the job market and basically do the homework for my upcoming job search."

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

I'm serving as a Corporate Strategy & Marketing Intern. I'm responsible for analyzing competitor financials, assisting the Director of Strategic Investments with M&A, analyzing competitor digital marketing campaigns, refining our company's digital marketing presence, writing blog posts, and creating marketing plans to leverage some of the company's partnerships. Initially, I was hired as a Market Research intern but my responsibilities increased significantly since then (a result of the head of Market Research leaving the company). Because my boss has taken on additional responsibilities, I have been able to work on projects that she would have to do otherwise if she didn't have me to assist her. Working on real projects, rather than filing papers and getting coffee has definitely been the most rewarding aspect for me thus far.

How did this experience impact you academically?

This experience gave me much more clarity on the academic courses that I was lacking. Before this internship, I was unsure of my career plans post-graduation. I now realize I want to focus more on investing. Since I'm not going to be an economist, I'm going to seek out the courses that will give me the most knowledge for practical application in the world of finance.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

My goal is to decide on the specific path within investing I'd like to pursue, whether that be investment banking, financial analysis, etc. Once I make that decision, I'd like to take as many courses as possible to prepare for my career, as well as join any clubs or organizations that will increase my knowledge of the sector. Working for a staffing agency this summer has been an invaluable opportunity to analyze the job market and basically do the homework for my upcoming job search. As a result of this internship experience, I believe I'll be able to position myself nicely to interview for a career in finance this year.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

Absolutely. I would recommend applying for an alumni mentor because you never know what will come of it. I also recommend applying for academic credit because it is a good way to break up your internship and be sure you're getting the most out of it.

For more information on internships for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.

Madeleine Hughes

CIEE - Seville
Up one level
Madeleine Hughes

Major: Global and International Studies, Comparative Literature
Hometown: Stroudsburg, PA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

My sister studied abroad while at school and was always encouraging me to do the same. Starting in my sophomore year, I began to look around the study abroad website and was able to narrow down my options based on which countries spoke Spanish, which cultures I was interested in seeing, which gave me freedom to travel to other places, and which was the best option financially. After talking some more to the advisers in the study abroad office as well as my previous Spanish professors at Penn State and teachers in high school, I decided that the CIEE Seville Language and Culture program was the best choice for me.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

I really felt that I grew during this trip. [...] I learned the value of independence and being able to enjoy your own company.

The first couple of weeks after my arrival, my study abroad experience was not going as I expected. It was still a little awkward with my host family because of the language barrier, the people in my group were not as I anticipated, and I felt like everyone else in the program spoke better Spanish than I did so I was worried about my class. However, after some encouragement from my parents and taking a day to wander the city by myself, everything turned around.

I was lucky enough with my program to get to travel to many different places. Every weekend, they had an organized trip for us to other cities in Spain, as well as other parts of Europe. It was so nice to be able to go and not have to worry about all the stress of organizing hotels and tours because they were already organized through CIEE. It made the trips so much more relaxing and let us focus on school during the weekdays. CIEE provided us with so many cultural activities in both these cities we visited, as well as throughout Seville. I loved going on all the tours and to the different activities to learn more about Seville. Because everything was through CIEE, we really had to push ourselves to get out there and immerse ourselves in the lives of the locals. I did not meet as many Spanish people as I had thought I would. Of course, that is obviously on me, but it was just something that went differently from how I expected.

I really felt that I grew during this trip. Although I did end up making some great friends, I learned the value of independence and being able to enjoy your own company. Some of my favorite days here were those when I went off by myself to explore the city. I actually ended up skipping one of the last weekend trips just to stay and enjoy Seville without classes. I learned that it is best not to form certain expectations because sometimes it's okay that they're not met. Things may have been different than I anticipated, but they were still great.

Overall, I loved my trip and am so happy with the program I chose. I felt that I got so much out of it and got to see and do so much. I've taken it as a learning experience so now I know for the future to take time by myself to immerse myself in the true culture of a place.

How did this experience impact you academically?

Through this experience, I was really hoping to improve my Spanish skills as well as broaden my knowledge of other cultures. Through living with a homestay that spoke no English, I was forced to practice the language. Although it was frustrating at times, it helped me to improve and also taught me to understand others when they have trouble communicating in English. Through taking a class that was taught fully in Spanish, with all the exams and papers in Spanish, I was forced to practice the language even more. It is sometimes easy to get lazy when trying to learn a language, but having to focus on everything my professor was saying and really doing my best to understand the language, helped me immensely to improve and learn about the Sevillano accent.

The subject matter of my classes also taught me a lot about other cultures and customs. My first class was Culture and Cuisine. Although it was a gastronomy course, we learned a lot about the three main religions of Andalusia and their histories and incorporated them into what we learned about the food. It helped me to see what influenced Seville throughout the years and made it what it was today. The second class I took was about arts and architecture. Being able to point out certain characteristics of buildings can tell so much about the history and is a skill I am very happy to now have. When my parents came to visit, I was able to show them all I learned about the history without needing an audio guide. Taking classes in another culture was very enlightening because although all my classmates were American, my professors were from Spain and had different customs, like no snacking in class!

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

I am still unsure of exactly what I want to do as a career, which is why I am in a major that gives me many options. After graduating, I would really like to work either for a publishing company, or a non-profit organization. Having the chance to live in New York and try to move up within a company excites me and is something I have a lot of interest in for right when I get out of school. Working for a non-profit would give me so many opportunities to help the world as well as travel. Through my study abroad experience, I have gotten the chance to interact with people very different from myself and come to understand a new culture. I believe that being understanding towards people different from ourselves is an important quality no matter what job we have, but especially for my goals it is a necessity.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would absolutely recommend studying abroad to other students, specifically those within the liberal arts. Understanding others is an important quality to have no matter where we want to go in life. I think an important goal that everyone should have is to become more worldly and this experience can help that. College is the perfect time to have this kind of experience and study abroad is a great way to immerse yourself in another culture rather than just spending a week somewhere on vacation. Study abroad has been an incredible, eye-opening experience that I would recommend to anyone.

For more information on global experiences for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.

Katherine Alexandra Sims

Internship with the Jefferson Center
Up one level
Katherine Alexandra Sims

Major: International Politics; Economics
Minor: Security & Risk Analysis
Hometown: Oakland Park

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I learned about this opportunity through a student email.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

During my internship I was responsible for assisting in the development of community engagement activities related to the deliberative democracy work of the Jefferson Center on climate, healthcare, and other issues. This internship consisted of research, outreach, event planning, and many other duties. I had the opportunity to assist and even start many of my own projects. The one I am most proud of is an application I created using Python, a programming language, to automate their participant selection process; thus turning about a three day process into something that takes about two minutes.

How did this experience impact you academically?

From the experiences and conversations I had this summer I have been able to make many decisions that will impact my future. For example, before I began this internship I was considering law school; because of this internship, I have decided not only do I wish to gain my J.D., but also my LL.M (Master of Law) degree. Further, it also expanded my own personal interest in programming because I was able to make use of it in a manner that was very helpful to the organization. This following semester, I now wish to take more courses for programming.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

Spending the summer here has allowed me to build my network and possibly secure another internship for next summer.

After I finish my undergraduate degrees, I plan on attending law school. I would like to get my LL.M in National Security & U.S. Foreign Relations Law. I hope to be able to work for an NGO, helping people and eventually the U.S. federal government. Spending the summer here has allowed me to build my network and possibly secure another internship for next summer that will hopefully lead to a full time position.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would absolutely recommend this experience. It was extremely enriching.

For more information on internships for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.

Leah Bader

BBH 390B: Global Health Minor Fieldwork
Up one level
Leah Bader

Paterno Fellow
Major: Anthropology
Minor: Global Health
Hometown: Easton

How did you learn about this opportunity?

The Global Health Minor is an extremely competitive minor at Penn State University Park that students are only able to apply to during their sophomore year. Every year the minor holds several information sessions in the fall to recruit and publicize the minor for the application process in the spring. Two years ago, I attended one of these information sessions after hearing about the minor from an upperclassman. After attending this session and meeting with the then director of the minor, Dr. Klippel, I decided to apply to the minor, which requires 6 weeks of international fieldwork - my abroad experience.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

My experience took place in Mbour, Senegal. Located on the coast, my home for six weeks was directly on the beachfront making for relaxing afternoons and nights after work. The minor has a partnership with the local hospital that allows students to shadow the doctors and medical students on rotations there. Most days, I chose to work in the emergency department, shadowing one of the two doctors there. When we weren't in the hospital, we were out in communities conducting screening days. The aim of these screening days was to take people's vital signs, mainly blood pressure and blood glucose to reveal hypertension and diabetes in populations that do not have regular access to healthcare. Our group also conducted a hygiene project in the emergency department to speak with doctors and nurses in the hospital and brainstorm solutions to the lack of resources and sub-standard conditions.

How did this experience impact you academically?

While I have both studied public health and conducted research before, this experience combined all areas of academic interest into one.

While I have both studied public health and conducted research before, this experience combined all areas of academic interest into one. Not only was I able to observed the clinical side of healthcare and learn about the challenges healthcare professionals face when treating low-income populations, but I was also able to conduct a public health project with my group that lead to fruitful discussion and could lead to real solutions that would improve the sanitation in the hospital. Being present for the screening days was also informative, because even though I could not help with the clinical work (taking vitals), I was able to observe the organizational and logistical work it takes to implement a small intervention, like our makeshift pop-up clinic, in rural areas.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

After my upcoming graduation in December, I hope to attend graduate school. While I am particularly interested in working in the field of public health as have been for the past three years of my college career, this experience and the people I worked with during it helped me narrow down the degree programs and the schools I am going to apply to this fall. The guidance of my professors, Dr. BeLue and Dr. Naughton, helped me greatly. The perspective I gained during my time working in Mbour hospital also helped point me towards a more holistic, Liberal Arts minded degree in medical anthropology, rather than a straight public health degree.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would strongly recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students. Liberal Arts students tend to get pigeon-holed and stereotyped into a few majors, but there are those us that are interested in working in the health field. There are other opportunities for health careers besides being a clinician and this is often lost on people. I would encourage any Liberal Arts students interested in healthcare administration, medicine, or the disparities in the health sector, especially in an international or global sense to apply to this major and experience this fieldwork.

How has the Paterno Fellows Program had an impact on this experience?

While the Paterno Fellows Program did not have a direct impact on this experience, the program did encourage me to reach out to different programs on campus in order to find the best one for me. My global health minor satisfies the extended minor requirement for Paterno Fellows and I must admit, that was one of the main draws to the minor initially. Now I am grateful I chose this minor for my requirement because of the amazing experience I was able to have.

For more information on global experiences for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.

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