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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.

Erica Buonomo

Internship with Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
Up one level
Erica Buonomo

Major: Spanish Business Option
Minor: Health Policy Administration, International Studies
Hometown: University Park, PA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I found out about this enrichment experience through my boss. The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia informed me that I was able to receive school credit for my time at CHOP. I took the appropriate steps to enroll in LA 495, which allowed me to receive credit for my internship.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

I worked as an International Medicine/Patient Services intern at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. During my time at CHOP, I completed data analysis projects focused on individual patients, data integrity and validation projects, and upkeep of patient files. My experience was amazing. I got my feet wet in a professional environment and learned how multiple departments come together to work as one business unit. My time at CHOP broadened my horizons in both the health care and international business industries.

How did this experience impact you academically?

It confirmed my choice of major and made me excited for the real world.

I am a Spanish Business major and Health Policy Administration minor at Penn State. My dream is to do international work. My experience at CHOP allowed me to officially say that is exactly what I was looking to do in the future. I was emerged in an international work place. There were more than 20 languages spoken in the office. I was able to experience such diversity while going into work every day. Additionally, my main work was business related; however, as I was in a medical field I had the awesome opportunity to have both fields incorporated in my work. It was an overall amazing experience. It confirmed my choice of major and made me excited for the real world.

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

My career goals include working in an international setting. I am more business oriented, so having the experience to do business work in a hospital setting was absolutely amazing. I do not know any technical information about the medical field; however, my experience made me want to be able to help people through my work and feel the impact of personally interacting with people, like I did when I worked with the patients. I like the direct relationship my work had for the patients of CHOP. I hope to be able to work in an environment where I see an impact.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

Yes, I would recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students. Having an internship is an amazing opportunity. Being able to gain experience from the real world before graduating is the best thing to do.

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

Sean Peyton

Internship with HPM Partners
Up one level
Sean Peyton

Major: Economics
Hometown: Collegeville, PA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I learned about my internship by reaching out to an old neighbor of mine whom I knew worked in the finance industry. I am hoping to work in the finance industry upon completing my studies at Penn State at the end of next year and I decided there was no better way to start my potential career than interning within the industry. I contacted my former neighbor before Christmas break (2015) and after catching up and sending a copy of my resume, he set up an interview for me with his firm, HPM Partners, at their New York City office. The interview went well and I was hired to my unpaid internship by May 2016.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

In the first three weeks alone, I learned more about the finance industry than I had expected to learn through the duration of the internship. Everyone was extremely pleasant and more than willing to help me with any projects or material I struggled with as I am new to work in the finance industry. I sat in on countless investment strategy meetings, created spreadsheets with bond and stock statistics, and wrote one page client summaries for multi-slide PowerPoint presentations. As my knowledge continued to increase, I was challenged to new, increasingly difficult, tasks.

How did this experience impact you academically?

As an economics major, I came across numerous common themes from my economics classes which are used on a daily basis in the finance industry. My background in economics helped prepare me for some of the practices and terms used at my internship, as macroeconomics (in particular) plays a huge part in the investment strategies utilized by the firm I worked for. Moving forward, I am very confident that the knowledge I gained from my internship will improve my performance in my economics classes because I have witnessed how important having an understanding of the economy is to the finance industry.

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

There is no better way to get introduced to a potential career in an industry than to participate in an internship offered in that industry. 

My goal after graduation in 2017 is to pursue a career in the finance industry. My internship provided me with a great base understanding of the day to day practices of the finance industry and provided me with my first consistent job schedule (it was my first office job). This knowledge will strengthen my performance in my economics classes and my experience working in the industry will make my resume more appealing to potential employers after graduation. For lack of better words, this internship has gotten me hooked on the finance industry, and I intend to build a long and successful career in this industry.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would absolutely recommend an internship experience to any Liberal Arts student. There is no better way to get introduced to a potential career in an industry than to participate in an internship offered in that industry. I enrolled in LA 495 to receive credits for the time I am spending at my internship this summer. In addition to the credits I received upon completion, I gained priceless knowledge of the industry, experience being interviewed, and real world job experience. With that being said, I cannot find a reason I would not recommend an internship experience to another student.

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

Brian A. Davis

AFAM 497: Course in Race, Culture and Religion in Cuba Crim 499: Amsterdam, Netherlands: Dutch Criminal Justice
Up one level
Brian A. Davis

Major: Sociology, Criminology, African American Studies
Minor: International Studies, Civic and Community Engagement
Hometown: Philadelphia

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I learned about this study abroad program from the education abroad fair as well as searching through the global programs website.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

When traveling to a “poor” country like Cuba you will notice that you do not have the luxuries you have back at home. In Cuba, my roommates and I did not have a working shower and when the shower worked, minimum water was released out the shower head. We also had to pay for Wi-Fi, which kept me off my phone and connected with the world around me. In America I often find myself saying that I am struggling and I don’t get paid enough for the work I do, but that changed after hearing that well-off Cubans make at most $25/month. I realize I didn’t have a real struggle; it was socially constructed. In Cuba, people were not concerned with trying to impress other people and I realized that many social constructions of gender performance in the U.S did not exist in Havana. The most enlightening part about being in Cuba was being exposed to the conditions that many Cubans live through, such as minimal access to food and water, which forces many Cubans to buy goods in the black market. This gave me a more in-depth understanding of international conflicts and how the blockade has affected the lives of many Cubans.

My experience in Amsterdam was an eye-opening experience. Because Amsterdam is a tourist city I noticed people from all backgrounds, and I saw a huge expression of religion and culture as well. This study abroad was amazing, with various lectures on the Dutch criminal justice system and how it is juxtaposed to the United States criminal justice system. While I was in Amsterdam we had freedom to travel on the weekends so I went to Brussels, Paris, and Berlin.

I believe every student should study abroad because any form of engaged scholarship enriches the student’s college experience and changes his or her view.

How did this experience impact you academically?

I realized that I must take a holistic approach to education. Taking notes in the classroom is what is expected of you, but when you value your education you start to ask yourself questions such as “How does this apply to my life?” You even seek more information about something because you know it is a part of your make up and why you are in the position you are in today. This experience has impacted me in so many ways that I will be doing two more abroad experiences before I graduate. I believe every student should study abroad because any form of engaged scholarship enriches the student’s college experience and changes his or her view.

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

My career goals are to work for the United Nations, preferably for the UNHCR. From all of my experiences abroad doing humanitarian work this is what I have a passion for. During my adventures on both of my study abroad I completed this summer, I had the opportunity to meet a few refugees from Bosnia, Iraq, and Afghanistan along the way. Their stories were truly heart breaking and were a call to action. I also would like to be doing public speaking domestically and globally; this experience is a huge motivation for that because I want to be the voice for these individuals. So many people want to speak up about their unfortunate and unbearable conditions but don’t feel like they will be heard or anyone is listening. Because of this, I will advocate them anywhere I go.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I believe that the more you see the world, the more you'll understand the world. When you immerse yourself in a unfamiliar culture or area you begin to find your identity, and you realize that many of the social constructs of the world do not exist. You are less ethnocentric and appreciate everyone for who they are and the plight they have to endure to live.

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

Emily Hall

Internship at Appian
Up one level
Emily Hall

Major: English
Minor: Technical Writing, IST
Hometown: New Bloomfield, PA
Chapel Executive Intern

How did you learn about this opportunity?

My aunt used to work there and when she found out that I was looking for a technical writing internship, she referred me to Appian.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

Appian is a software company that specializes in software that allows companies to design their own software. In other words, their software creates software. I worked as an Information Developer intern in Appian's engineering department. I worked one-on-one with software engineers, as well as the head Information Developer (Info Dev, for short). I had several projects over the span of my 10 week internship, spanning from documentation bug fixes (all their documentation is housed online) to a complete revamp of their documentation site. I worked with the head Info Dev to create the Quarterly Documentation Deliverables (QDD) that the company puts out each quarter with the release of new updates and bug-fixes. The QDDs encompass any new documentation or changes to existing documentation that occur at this time. I learned a lot about the technical writing field, as well the software one. The job is challenging - all your errors will be pointed out and when you're not on your A-game, it's noted. But overall, I really benefited from this experience and I've come out of this internship a much wiser and stronger person.

Having set foot in the professional world, I'm anxious to get back to it. In my internship, what I did mattered.

How did this experience impact you academically?

If anything, it's given me a new way to look at how I write. I've learned to write for clarity, not length. I'm excited to apply this in my upcoming classes. However, having set foot in the professional world, I'm anxious to get back to it. In my internship, what I did mattered. My documents helped the company and its users, my documentation site changes helped the users navigate the site with more ease. I learned a lot and the work I - and the Info Dev team - did was valued. At school, the work is mostly for personal gain - to pass a class, to get a degree. So, while I'm excited to apply what I learned in my classes, I also will miss doing work that benefits others.

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

My career goal is to become a technical writer in the software field. This summer, I got a taste of that. I worked as an Info Dev (another name for a Technical Writer) at an up-and-coming software company. I learned from people who had recently interned, but were now working full-time and people who had been out of school for years. The experience was an eye-opening one, and has made me more excited than ever to return to the field after I graduate.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

Yes, absolutely. Working in a business environment is tough at times, but so rewarding. The experience is something you shouldn't pass up if you have the opportunity.

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

Alexandra Makover

Internship with Global Brands Group
Up one level
Alexandra Makover

Paterno Fellow
Major: English
Minor: Business and the Liberal Arts
Hometown: Dix Hills, New York
Chapel Executive Intern

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I learned about this internship through a personal connection.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

I interned with Global Brands Group in their New York City office. As part of the women’s apparel division, I worked within the production team supporting Jones NY and Ellen Tracy. Before beginning my internship, I had no experience in the fashion industry and had never heard of production as a department within a corporation. My team was so supportive in teaching me the nuances of the business, and I quickly learned that production is essential in making sure a garment’s journey from the designers to the showroom is smooth and problem-free. I was in charge of the product samples that go in and out of the New York office, ensuring that they are tracked accordingly between the U.S. and headquarters in China.

How did this experience impact you academically?

This experience has enhanced my liberal arts education. As an English major, I am comfortable with reading, writing and communication, which none would doubt are all vital parts of a business. However, in terms of hard business skills, such as using and understanding Excel spreadsheets and navigating SAP and other systems, I am certainly lacking. My business minor has provided a base understanding of finance, accounting, marketing and other broad-based business functions, but I have not had a lot of exposure to data analytics. In addition to teaching intangible lessons of how to operate in an international corporation, my internship at Global Brands Group offered me training in various operating systems, which enhances my education.

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

While I am unsure of what direction I want to head my career, my internship with Global Brands Group was great exposure to an industry and size of business in which I had no prior knowledge. My internship last summer was with a small haircare company in a downtown Manhattan loft-style office, which has proven to be a completely different experience from that at GBG. Global Brands Group is located in the Empire State Building, with thousands of employees and offices around the globe. While I am not convinced that I want to pursue a career in fashion specifically, I am positive that GBG’s fast-paced and internationally driven culture is the baseline for which I hope to find a future job. The relationships with my team, mentor and fellow interns will surely be of use as I enter the corporate world upon graduation.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

While liberal arts majors are not vocationally-based, [...] a liberal arts education has provided me with the broad-based background to work effectively within a business.

While I am the only liberal arts student in the group of forty interns hired by Global Brands Group this summer, I would definitely recommend the program to other liberal arts students. My favorite part of the internship program was the summer-long project in which groups of seven interns, plus a mentor, developed a new product and presented a prototype and business plan to a panel of company executives in August. I felt that my liberal arts background and experiences within small, Schreyer Honors College classes prepped me well for this endeavor. The majority of this project was not about the specifics of design or financial spreadsheets but how to communicate one’s thoughts clearly, compromise ideas and collaborate effectively. All of these skills have been reinforced through countless of my discussion-based honors classes. Listening to my peers and respecting their opinions, even if I disagree, has been emphasized in so many of my English courses. I think liberal arts students have more experience with communication and team-work than those in many other majors. While liberal arts majors are not vocationally-based and direct translations into specific departments, like so many other domains are, I feel that a liberal arts education has provided me with the broad-based background to work effectively within a business.

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

I feel that the Paterno Fellows Program, and its subsequent honors courses, shaped me as a candidate for this internship program. Small honors classes that house room for group discussion and provide interaction with professors are such a step above regular classes. I feel the group work within small classes and an overall more intimate class environment has challenged me academically and prepped me well for business collaborative work. Additionally, the Paterno Fellows Study Abroad requirement changed my view of international business. I studied abroad in London, which was largely pushed by PFP. My experiences in Europe totally changed my perspective of culture and global relations. I love that Global Brands Group is in fact a global company in not only name but nature – its headquarters are in Hong Kong. Two of my coworkers were from Hong Kong and on a daily basis I was in contact with people in Shanghai and London. GBG provided such a culturally enriching experience that I so appreciated, especially after my semester abroad.

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

Sophia Yang

Biology 498A Tanzania study abroad
Up one level
Sophia Yang

Major: African Studies and General Science
Hometown: McLean, Virginia

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I heard about this study abroad course from my academic advisor Dr. Jensen as we were discussing my dual major in General Science and African Studies.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

The study abroad experience was more than I imagined it to be. I was simply amazed by the richness of the environment around me. I thought I had some understanding of ecology but through the experience I realized my knowledge is such a small percentage of what this course had to offer. The intricacy of the animals and their specific behaviors, the types of trees and plants that vary from ecosystem to another, and the vast ecological issues that arise between humans and nature was something that I could not have fully understood if I had not set foot and experienced and saw myself. Also, looking back on my stay when I was alone, I haven't realized the amount of people I've grown attached to and the environment that I've just gotten used to. Speaking “asante"(thank you) and replying "poa"(cool) or "nzuri"(good) has become second nature to me. It was such a treat to hear different tongues in chatter, smell the unique blend of spices wafting out from snack shops, shake hands every morning with the bus conductor, taste the jaw-clenching sweet tea, and exchange greetings with people on the street. As I tried to connect and develop a relationship with the locals, I regret not learning the language and going without knowing any Swahili. Through it all, even though it sounds cliche, I've learned a lot and experienced things that I would not have been able to if I hadn't left the United States.

How did this experience impact you academically?

This opportunity allowed me to grow academically in the field of ecology; it also expanded my knowledge of the rich culture and the beliefs of the people in Tanzania. Through this study abroad, I learned so much about different wildlife and plants in a special way. For example, I got to see and hear the different animals and right on the spot, the instructors spoke and taught us about the behaviors and distinctions that make each animal unique. This dynamic learning method allowed me to better grasp and fully comprehend the differences between animals. Furthermore, this experience expanded my understanding of the indigenous Maasai in Tanzania. This experience was amazing because I’ve read many papers and articles about the Maasai but being able to speak with them and be invited to their village was just absolutely special. Meeting and immersing in their culture and traditional norms, I felt the culture is something that needs to be felt and experienced.

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

The experience abroad not only solidified my aspirations and hopes but also gifted me with another passion for education.

My career goals and plans are involved with the dual major of General Science and African Studies. I hope to become a physician's assistant and get to serve in Africa whenever given the opportunity. My desire to serve in Africa crystallized when I got to see the local hospitals, the condition of the small clinics and shortage of staff during my stay in Tanzania. Also, my aspirations to work in the health care field became so much more pressing after conversing and being with the local people.

My time in Tanzania sparked an interest in the importance of quality education, which is a field that I have not even considered myself delving into. Seeing the schools and the stark contrast between different schools - international schools, private schools and public schools - I found a great appreciation of education as it equips future generations with the knowledge set that will be further tested, developed and improved by themselves and/or with their peers. Volunteering at a small school allowed me to see the sparkling eyes of the students as they eagerly wanted to learn and the joy they got out of attaining new information. The experience abroad not only solidified my aspirations and hopes but also gifted me with another passion for education.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would definitely recommend this course to another Liberal Arts student. The course is something that I could make a presentation and give a talk about full of embellishments and appreciations of the experience, but if it’s not felt by actually being there, I cannot attempt to describe the greatness. It is an intensive ecology course; however, through the experience abroad, ecology is shown in such a different light that even someone that was weary of the subject would find enjoyable. Furthermore, the study abroad is something that has many different facets, as you not only learn about ecology in the great diverse land of Tanzania but also gain so many wonderful experiences. Honestly, this experience is something that one can only gain from.

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

Jessica Goldstein

Internship with the Better Business Bureau
Up one level
Jessica Goldstein

Major: Labor and Employment Relations
Minor: Sociology
Hometown: Roslyn, NY

How did you learn about this opportunity?

In the beginning of the fall semester, I was extremely determined to begin my internship search process. I utilized the advisers at school and grasped an understanding of the internship I should be looking for. Through the great tool of networking, I found the Better Business Bureau Internship program and immediately knew I had to apply. I was determined to get the position and interviewed in November during Thanksgiving break, and received notice of my acceptance not too long after.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

The first few days was an intense training process where we learned everything about the Better Business Bureau. I learned my position as a Dispute Resolution Analyst, and mediated marketplace disputes between consumers and businesses. This mediation took place via email, phone, and in person if necessary. I utilized reflective listening techniques which contributed to the diffusion of conflict and made communicating between the two parties extremely easy. If necessary, I was able to provide consumers with government agencies in cases that were beyond the Better Business Bureau's scope. Overall I was able to successfully close 800 cases.

How did this experience impact you academically?

Academically, this experience enhanced a lot of what I have learned so far in my studies as a Labor and Employment Relations major. I learned the importance of communication in the workplace, as well as the usage of analytical and critical skills. Throughout my future courses, I hope that they continue to enhance.

It was really a great foundation for me since I was exposed to various types of industries and consumers.

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

After graduation I hope to work in a corporate office working as a HR generalist, and eventually down the road as a President of Human Resources. This was my first internship and I think it was a perfect fit for me because a lot of what I did, did in fact relate to HR and skills that are necessary to strive as a generalist. It was really a great foundation for me since I was exposed to various types of industries and consumers, and I was able to understand a lot about the marketplace and its issues before entering an exact industry. This helped me shape my future career direction for sure!

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I definitely would recommend this experience for a first year internship. Like I had said, it's a great internship to be exposed to various types of industries, get a great hold on skills that are necessary in future opportunities, and understand the marketplace.

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

Cecilia Mabilais-Estevez

Psych 472H: Human Development, Health, & Education from a Global Perspective
Up one level
Cecilia Mabilais-Estevez

Paterno Fellow
Major: English & Economics
Minor: Business and the Liberal Arts & Italian
Hometown: Devon, PA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I found out about this experience from a friend who had previously gone to India (she spoke during SHO TIME's study abroad panel).

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

We spent a month in India - we went to Delhi, Dahanu, Pune, and Jaipur. We started off in Delhi, where we collaborated on a project with students from SRCC. Then we worked with a school for children of tribal families in Dahanu, discovered the bustling and young city of Pune, and ended in Jaipur, where we met students from IIS University. Delhi was a kaleidoscope of colors and sounds, Dahanu was rural, quiet, and beautiful. While there we hiked, planted rice, and saw a part of India we had never heard of. Pune was vibrant, small, and very clean. Jaipur was bustling and beautiful.

How did this experience impact you academically?

I want to dedicate my life to social issues and seeing the amount of poverty in India has inspired me to look for ways that I can begin to contribute to the world as soon as I can.

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

I never thought I would want to study agriculture, but after this trip I really would love to work with small farmers abroad.

I want to write children's books that explain social issues very simply and can help children understand these issues in a way that will inspire them to help when they are older. I also want to write novels. This experience has impacted my career goals in that I have also been considering studying agriculture - the chaperones on the trip were all pursuing PhDs in agriculture and I was inspired by one of the chaperones to look into Rural Sociology and International Agriculture. I never thought I would want to study agriculture, but after this trip I really would love to work with small farmers abroad and study the most efficient ways to farm. I also would like to study the economies of cacao and coffee and the impact of these crops on both developing and developed nations.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

YES! India has opened my eyes in so many subtle ways. I think now is the time to travel to non-Western nations and discover the other half of the world before we are set in our ways.

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

The Paterno Fellows Program had a huge impact on my experience in that the enrichment funding provided by the Liberal Arts College and PFP helped me go to India. Without my enrichment funding, it would have been very difficult to justify leaving the country for a month instead of working. The enrichment funding helped me to not worry about paying the program fee. Paterno Fellows also hosts lunches where speakers come and talk about places abroad and listening to speakers talk about other nations inspired me to want to go and see these nations for myself.

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

Jonathan Muth

Liberal Arts Alumni Mentor Program
Up one level
Jonathan Muth

Major: Finance, Accounting, Spanish
Hometown: Ellicott City, MD

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I received an email about the experience, and although I knew nothing about what I would receive from the Alumni Mentor Program I knew I had nothing to lose by at least attempting to attain a formal mentor.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

The experience began with sending an email to my mentor after being accepted into the program. I received a short description of her background, which included her current aspiration to attain an MBA from IE Business School in Barcelona. I had previously looked into receiving my MBA in Spain to differentiate myself from other Americans, so Laura and I quickly let Spain and business take over our conversation. I had the pleasure of speaking with Laura via FaceTime since we were both in Spain at the time of our first call, but throughout talking about our interests, she also gave me numerous points of advice on how I can also attain an international experience like herself, specifically in Madrid, with KPMG, a Big 4 Accounting firm I hope to work for after Penn State.

[My mentor] emphasized how important it was for me to take advantage of Penn State's resources.

How did this experience impact you academically?

Laura emphasized how important it was for me to take advantage of Penn State's resources, such as incredible professors with extensive backgrounds, Spanish classes to improve my knowledge of specific areas of interest, and the large population of international students looking to exchange with American students during their experience. She also connected me with Penn State alumni with international opportunities in order to assist me in learning more about how they attained their goals to work abroad and what I can do at Penn State now to prepare myself.

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

I hope to one day have the opportunity to work in Europe at KPMG, a Big 4 accounting firm, and I now understand that Madrid would be the best European city for me. The largest barrier preventing me from working in Madrid previously was unsurprisingly the Spanish language, but after speaking with Laura about her experience in Barcelona I have the confidence in my Spanish-speaking ability to be able to apply for the summer internship rotation opportunity in Madrid, as well as the possibility to take a rotation in Spain for two years with KPMG. Therefore, I will be able to combine my technical background in Finance and Accounting with my liberal arts background in Applied Spanish to truly prepare myself to make an impact at KPMG.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

Absolutely because it is an opportunity the College of the Liberal Arts offers to Penn State students with nothing but benefits to come from the program. I can only speak for myself because I have not met any other students participating in the program, but I was matched with a mentor that was a perfect match for my career aspirations. I will be able to reach out to Laura any time I need help, especially with upcoming tasks such as applying for the KPMG Global Internship Program where Laura will have the most extensive background to help me.

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

Rana Mohamed

Liberal Arts Alumni Mentor Program
Up one level
Rana Mohamed

Major: International Politics and Global and International Studies
Minor: Business
Hometown: Belleville, NJ

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I found out about this mentorship through the online Liberal Arts Newswire. Also, I received an email about this program from Heather Baruch-Bueter. After learning about the benefits and opportunities I was immediately interested.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

My experience in the Alumni Mentorship Program has been beneficial in more ways than one. The support I have been receiving for both my resume and cover letter have been endless. I am finally confident with these papers and am ready to turn them in to an internship position. My mentor provides me with her opinions during our phone calls to help boost my experience and showcase my skills. Having a mentor who listens to me and supports my decisions has been tremendous.

How did this experience impact you academically?

Academically this experience has helped me open more doors. With my upgraded resume and cover letter I am confident that I can qualify for more opportunities. These opportunities include internships both domestically and internationally and study abroad. Also, while talking to my mentor I have been able to view the classes at Penn State in a new light. Penn State offers courses beyond a bachelors degree. This means that while a student graduates with a bachelor's from Penn State, they have experience equivalent to Master's courses from other universities.

Having a mentor allowed me to ask questions about what I should be doing in my time at Penn State to reach the career of my choosing.

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

After graduation I have two paths in mind. The first path is to go straight to graduate school, whether that be at Penn State or somewhere else. The second path would take me to a career either in government or non-government for a few years before returning to graduate school. I am still not sure which area I would like to go into, but my mentor has helped me realize that my skills can be translated to either one.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

Absolutely! This experience helped me network with a professional in the career I want post-graduation. Also, having a mentor allowed me to ask questions about what I should be doing in my time at Penn State to reach the career of my choosing.

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

Khushali Patel

Alumni Mentor Program
Up one level
Khushali Patel

Major: Economics
Hometown: Mars, PA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I had first learned about the Alumni Mentor Program during transfer student orientation when we had to attend the College of the Liberal Arts Dean's Welcome Meeting. There was a presentation from the staff at the Career Enrichment Network and it caught my attention. Later on in the semester I looked out for emails that contained more information about the Alumni Mentor Program that were regularly sent to students in the College of Liberal Arts. After that I just looked more into it and thought it was a great way to help me learn more about what I want to do after graduation.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

When I received my first email telling me who my mentor was, I immediately looked her up on LinkedIn because I was so excited to get in touch. My first meeting was via phone. We introduced ourselves and mostly talked about what it was like transferring to Penn State. We even connected on LinkedIn! My mentor was very great at giving not only professional but also life advice, which I really liked! She even offered to look at my resume and we soon scheduled another meeting to discuss it, along with what my career path would be, people I can get in touch with, and much more! My overall experience has been great. It's gratifying to know that I have someone who has succeeded professionally that I can count on to give me honest advice.

How did this experience impact you academically?

Academically, my mentor really showed me what working hard in school can really do! She has her MBA, which has always been a goal of mine. So talking to her I really learned how much work I will have to put in to get there someday, and I am looking forward to each minute of it.

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

My career goal is to go business school to get my MBA. My dream jobs include working as a financial consultant or a real estate agent. This experience affected my goals and plans because I always thought I would go to business school right after my undergrad. However, after talking to my mentor I learned that it's important to get real world experience in different fields before going to business school so you are able to get more out of it. My mentor works in Washington DC so she has many connections to professionals and in multiple careers and has offered to help me get in touch with them so I can continue to explore and discover my own career path.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

Absolutely! One of the hardest things in today's society is to find someone in the career you see yourself in, who is willing to take time out of their busy schedules to help you voluntarily. When given the opportunity, it's important to take full advantage because you will not only gain a resource to help you navigate school and the years after, but also someone who can give great advice when you need it.

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

Diane Feeney

Liberal Arts Alumni Mentor Program
Up one level
Diane Feeney

Major: Psychology, Business Option
Minor: Spanish
Hometown: Hillsborough, NJ

How did you learn about this opportunity?

Through the Liberal Arts newsletter that gets emailed to the students. I was in my junior year and just starting to look at internships, study abroad programs, and even full time jobs, and was feeling overwhelmed and a little lost. I needed some more in-depth guidance than just meeting with an advisor would be able to provide.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

After answering questions about what I'm looking for, what my interests and career goals are, etc., I got paired with the perfect mentor. My mentor's major is the same as mine, and she began her career in the same field I am interested in: human resources. As my mentor lives in North Carolina, we set up weekly phone calls to set goals for myself, talk about how to better my resume, career search tips, and discuss the progress I've made in all of that. Our weekly phone calls helped me map out what I needed to do next, and change anything that I had an opportunity to improve on.

How did this experience impact you academically?

My mentor and I focused mostly on my professional work as I searched for an internship, but this indirectly helped me as a student. Setting goals for myself helped me to look into the future and see what needed to be accomplished and how I could really exceed in that. I learned organization tactics that spilled over into my academic life, and I ultimately became a better student for it. The first semester that I had the help of a mentor was the first semester that I finally reached my personal goal of making dean's list.

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

After having an internship, which my mentor helped me to prepare for, I know that I am interested in working for a large corporation in the Human Resources department. More specifically, I would love a position in Talent Acquisition or Learning and Organizational Development for a company. My goal is to be fully prepared for the upcoming career fair with my research and top companies I'm interested in, to have a job settled by the beginning of spring semester, and to be confident and excited about my career choice. My mentor helped me to set these goals through my internship search, and they worked so well that I am carrying them over to my full time career search.

My mentor taught me things that I am not able to learn in a classroom and I was able to use what we worked on together in my professional and academic life.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would 100% recommend all students to get a mentor, no matter the program, and whether it is a formal mentor or an informal one. My mentor taught me things that I am not able to learn in a classroom and I was able to use what we worked on together in my professional and academic life. Above the actual work we did, my mentor inspired me to bust my butt and go after that dream internship/job even if I thought it was a little out of reach. Just having someone to talk through my whirling thoughts and stresses helped me, and my mentor helped to keep me grounded and realistic.

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

Ilene Parker

Study Abroad in Besancon, France
Up one level
Ilene Parker

Major: French and Francophone Studies with the French-Business Option
Minor: Teaching English as a Second Language, Smeal Business Certificate
Hometown: Bala Cynwyd, PA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I was told about this program in one of my French classes, and then attended an information session in which past participants were present.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

The combination of living with the best host family [and] taking intensive French classes with students from all over the world truly made this the best summer I have ever had.

My experience abroad was more than I could have ever asked. The combination of living with the best host family in the beautiful town of Besancon, taking intensive French classes with students from all over the world, and meeting other Penn State students with similar goals as myself truly made this the best summer I have ever had. Although classes were sometimes tiring, I have become almost fluent in French in the most fun method and met amazing people that I would have never met otherwise. I even had the opportunity to travel to seven different European countries during my time abroad!

How did this experience impact you academically?

Before this program, I felt as though I had reached stagnancy in my French studies and did not know how to further my French learning and knowledge. The French language and culture has always been a passion of mine, yet I was unsure how to further this while in America. Thanks to this experience, I have overcome this and am now nearly fluent in French, and have learned a great deal about France that I would not have learned otherwise. I am excited to return to Penn State and take as many classes as I can in the French department in order to learn as much as I can!

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

I have always wished to work abroad, yet was not sure if my French knowledge was enough to work in France. After this summer, I am determined to work for a non-profit in France and use my connection between France and America to my advantage in order to help others. I wish to travel a great deal as part of my job, and I know that studying in Besancon has prepared me to do so successfully. I now know much more not only about France but other European cultures, and I strive to employ this knowledge to help others.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

Yes, I would definitely recommend this program to other Liberal Arts students! In my opinion, studying in Besancon was the best thing I could have done for my French studies and future. As a French major, this program was ideal for me, and I am positive that other French majors or minors will benefit greatly from this program! The immersion aspect truly sets this program apart from the others, and I hope that other Penn State students will benefit from this program as much as I have!

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

Ryan Winthrop

Alumni Mentor Program
Up one level
Ryan Winthrop

Major: Psychology
Minor: Spanish, Business
Hometown: Dix Hills, NY

How did you learn about this opportunity?

In my search for internships and other career opportunities on the website, I came across the Alumni Mentor Program through the Career Enrichment Network. Intrigued by the description of the program and eager for the possibilities, I decided to apply to the program and was accepted.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

Prior to applying to the program, I had attended an alumni picnic in my hometown, where I met a Penn State alumnus. We had a wonderful conversation and wanted to keep in touch. After being accepted to the program, I was assigned a mentor, who happened to be the person I met at the picnic. We started to send e-mails back and forth regularly, and then began our usual phone calls. We learned a little more about each other and then started to formulate my goals and objectives.

How did this experience impact you academically?

The information gained through this experience has been plentiful and greatly helpful to my academic endeavors. After my mentor outlined the paths I could take and the tasks that needed to be accomplished, I set out to bolster my academics and my resume. I took certain classes that would correlate with the careers that I am interested in. I also utilized the information to obtain a research assistant position in the Center for Language Science to utilize my Spanish skills.

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

The relationship between the mentor and the mentee is one that will be very beneficial for networking and career advice.

I am currently exploring my options for different fields in psychology. I am considering a career in Child Psychology or School Psychology, as I enjoy working with children. However, I am also considering a career in Industrial Organizational Psychology where I can utilize my business skills. My mentor, being a former school superintendent, was able to advise me how to learn more about the field of school psychology. I set up meetings with school psychologists in my district in order to learn more about what the job entails and what is needed to pursue this career. My mentor utilized his contacts to help me connect with the administration.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would absolutely recommend the Alumni Mentor Program to any Liberal Arts student seeking information about their intended careers. The relationship between the mentor and the mentee is one that will be very beneficial for networking and career advice. This program provides mentors who care about the role they are given and want the students to achieve their goals. I speak both from experience with my own mentor and other mentors I became acquainted with during a program luncheon. The information and advice you obtain is invaluable.

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

Madeline Strasser

Alumni Mentor Program
Up one level
Madeline Strasser

Major: International Politics
Minor: Business and the Liberal Arts
Hometown: Rockville, MD

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I found out about the mentor program through the Career Enrichment Network website.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

My mentor was a huge help in guiding me while I was applying for summer internships. He was always willing to give me advice and look over my application materials like resumes, cover letters, and writing samples. We even did a mock interview together and he gave me valuable advice regarding study abroad and networking. Sometimes we talked once a week or sometimes we only talked once a month but he always went out of his way to ensure I was equipped to fulfill my professional goals.

How did this experience impact you academically?

There is a lot of flexibility in how active you are in the program, but ultimately your mentor is another great resource for you to use at Penn State.

My mentor helped me talk through my professional goals and shape my course load around them.

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

I am interested in working in public affairs after graduation. My mentor gave me advice on internships I should apply for and provided support throughout the entire application process. He was also always willing to talk about my career goals and gave me valuable advice on achieving them.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would recommend the mentor program to everyone. Being in the program has helped me create career goals and actively work towards achieving them. There is a lot of flexibility in how active you are in the program and what you use your mentor for but ultimately your mentor is another great resource for you to use at Penn State.

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

Sara

Study Abroad, Arcadia Summer Internship Program
Up one level
Sara

Major: Economics
Minor: Political Science, Business
Hometown: Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

How did you learn about this opportunity?

Whenever any of my friends studied abroad, they always came back with wonderful stories about their experiences. I never thought that I would want to go, because I did not want to leave Penn State for an entire semester. After taking classes relating to international politics and international development, I realized that not only did I want to develop my understanding of the world, but I wanted to see how the world saw me, as an American. One day over winter break, I made the decision that I wanted to study abroad, and so I went on the PSU Global Programs website, and started searching for opportunities there. It didn't take me long until I stumbled upon the Arcadia Summer Internship Program in London, and after doing some research and speaking to an advisor, I came to the conclusion that this program was the best fit for me.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

My time in London was absolutely incredible. In the first few days of the program, all of the students that were a part of the Arcadia Summer Internship Program went through an orientation that introduced us to British culture. After that, I attended a class about the Global Business Environment that met about once or twice a day for two weeks. This really focused on the British political economy, and how it has developed over the past 400 years. In the third week, I began my internship with an economics consulting firm, Europe Economics. During my six weeks with them, I helped develop multiple cost-benefit analyses for our clients. Outside of work and class, I "traveled" a bit throughout London and the rest of England, and even got the chance to visit a friend in Geneva, Switzerland. The most interesting part of this experience came when the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union. The U.K. Referendum (more commonly known as the Brexit) was a historical moment for the U.K. and the rest of the world, and to witness this major decision firsthand was amazing. My favorite part though has to be joining a Korfball team (it's a sport similar to basketball), and meeting a really great group of people who welcomed me into their club for the summer!

How did this experience impact you academically?

It is always encouraging for me to see the connections between the classroom and the workplace, and be able to use those connections to add value to my work.

During my internship, the projects I worked on dealt with financial services regulation. Last spring, I took a class about the financial crisis of 2008, and the factors that lead to the Great Recession. Many of the topics we reviewed in class also came up in the projects I worked on during my internship. It is always encouraging for me to see the connections between the classroom and the workplace, and be able to use those connections to add value to my work. Additionally, I also took a course about the Political Economy of the U.S., and it was really interesting for me to take that same course, just about England.

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

Prior to me leaving, my career goals included me moving to Washington D.C. or North Carolina to work for two years, and then get my MBA at UNC. This experience completely changed that. I absolutely loved London, and because of that, I am determined to eventually move back and work there for a few years. Additionally, I really enjoyed working with banking regulatory policy, so I would like to continue with a career in that either in the private sector or the government.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

Yes. Why? You're young, you have the time, and you may never again get the chance to do something like this. Even if you are "on the fence" on whether or not to go, just go-you won't regret it.

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

Angelique Santiago

Internship with Publicis Groupe Re:Sources
Up one level
Angelique Santiago

Major: Political Science, Communication Arts and Sciences
Hometown: Peekskill

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I emailed my resume to the VP of Re:Sources who then forwarded my resume to the Senior Talent Acquisition Consultant located at a branch office in Chicago.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

I believe this internship was a great experience. I experienced commuting on the subway, working 9-5 at my own desk, attending corporate meetings, and working the occasional overtime. At Re:Sources, I learned about the job of a media payables analyst, which consists of running reports, trying to match invoices with the system, and reaching out to vendors like Google, Amazon, and Twitter in order to obtain the required information to process payments. I got to work with a lot of different people, and learned how to use systems I had never heard of before like MBOX and Prisma. This internship has definitely helped me acquire new skills that I will be able to use in school, and in other professions.

How did this experience impact you academically?

Learning the job of a Media Payables Analyst has forced me to pay more attention to detail which I feel can help me in array of classes I may take at school. Also, I can say that I am proficient in Microsoft Excel which will come in handy for any math or science general education courses that I am required to take. Moreover, with procedures always changing I had to take good notes and be an active and engaged member of corporate meetings to ensure the job got done properly in a brand new way.

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

I have had the experience of using different systems and communicating with people to deal with payments. This experience is something I can build off of until I have a position in my desired career.

I aspire to get involved in a career that is hands-on and interactive. With a Political Science and Communications Arts and Sciences background I aim to get involved in the Public Diplomacy division of the Foreign Service. The Foreign Service is unique because it requires well-rounded individuals who know a little bit of everything, ranging from history, economics, pop culture, and so on. Publicis Groupe may be a PR/ Advertising corporation, but it has given me basic skills that I can use as a foundation and can apply to my field of interest. One of the many things that Public Diplomacy Officers do is manage people, programs, budgets, and resources. While being a Media Payables Analyst and a Public Diplomacy Officer are very different, I have had the experience of using different systems and communicating with people to deal with payments. This experience is something I can build off of until I have a position in my desired career.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students because it is a great way to get your foot into the corporate world, and learn a different part of the PR/Advertising industry that most people forget about.

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

Julia Stolarski

Summer Internship Program, University College Dublin
Up one level
Julia Stolarski

Major: Economics
Minor: Business and the Liberal Arts, Sociology
Hometown: Conshohocken, PA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I learned about this enrichment experience through the Education Abroad Fair. University College Dublin had their own table, and I spoke to the representative about the program. I asked many questions and looked on their website for further information.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

I spent eight weeks living and working in Dublin, Ireland. I stayed in the University College Dublin campus in an apartment-style residence hall. There were about 100 students in the program, and we all took an elective course (Irish History, International Business, or Business Analytics) for the first and last week of the program. For the middle six weeks, we were each placed in a company for our internship. I was placed at the Bank of Ireland located in the Financial District, just four blocks from the city centre. In my internship, I worked in the Mortgage Arrears Resolution Strategy (MARS) unit as a business process analyst intern. However, the internship placements were based on your major and interests, so other students were placed in finance, marketing, and human resources internships in companies such as Deloitte, PwC, KPMG, and start-ups. We all worked Monday-Thursday 9am-5pm, so it gave us time on the weekends to explore Ireland and other countries. During my time, I visited many parts of Ireland, Northern Ireland, and took a trip to London.

How did this experience impact you academically?

During my program, I took the Business Analytics Finance Project module. In this course, we learned about various methods to analyze stocks in Excel, and we applied these methods for a project we completed for the course. In addition, we had an opportunity to use the Bloomberg Terminal and complete the Bloomberg Essentials. For the second project, we used the Bloomberg Terminal to monitor our stock portfolios in which each team had “$1,000,000” to invest in five stocks and see how they performed over a two-week period. With this course, I am able to transfer three credits to Penn State.

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

I feel that I truly immersed myself in the culture of Ireland and made the most out of my time there.

My career goals are to become a business analyst for a financial service company or a travel agency. I have a passion for traveling, so this experience was perfect for me because I was not only able to travel and experience what it is like to live on my own but also able to gain experience in an internship as a business process analyst. By the middle of my program, I could easily navigate Dublin without the use of Google Maps and even help tourists with directions. I feel that I truly immersed myself in the culture of Ireland and made the most out of my time there.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would definitely recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students that have a business related major such as Economics, Human Resources, and possibly Public Relations, or are minoring in Business and the Liberal Arts because it is an internship program run by the UCD School of Business, and the internship placement is business-related. I would recommend this experience because there are three components to the program: the internship, the academic, and the cultural. Each component teaches you so much, and you get a lot out of your eight weeks in Dublin. For more information and testimonials, check out the following link: http://www.ucd.ie/quinn/internationalstudents/summerinternshipprogramme/.

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

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


Haydn Hornstein-Platt

Study Abroad in Amsterdam, Netherlands
Up one level
Haydn Hornstein-Platt

Major: Sociology (BA), Psychology (BS)
Hometown: Narberth, PA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I was always interested in studying abroad, and I was particularly interested in Amsterdam because of their reputation of being particularly socially progressive. As a Sociology student, I was really interested in learning more about their social policy and comparing it to US policy. I met with Scott Runner at the University Office of Global Programs and we discussed the program, and he assisted me throughout the process.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

Studying abroad was a rewarding experience. There are the obvious rewards, like getting to live in a new place and learn about another culture, try new foods, and travel, but I think the best reward comes out of the difficult parts of the experience. Arriving in Amsterdam, I knew no one. I decided to go to a place where none of my friends were going because I was interested in that experience, and I'm glad that I did. It was lonely and challenging. The things that I was so used to doing with friends every day like eating, studying, and grabbing a drink were suddenly a time to either engage with someone new or spend time alone. That process was emotionally exhausting. By the end I had made some great friends, but most importantly I had a better understanding of how to spend time with myself. I even traveled to London by myself for the weekend, and it was one of my favorite parts of the experience. Having the skill of spending time alone makes me feel exponentially more confident about graduating college and moving somewhere new next year.

How did this experience impact you academically?

University courses in the Netherlands are fairly different than in the US. We spent less time in class, but there's a lot more work to do on your own. For one course, I had about 300 pages of reading to do a week. For Dutch students, this was a breeze, but for me and many of my American peers it was difficult to get used to. Despite the difficulty, adjusting to the new structure was a fun change of pace, and helped me to feel generally more prepared to write my thesis and continue on to graduate school, as I have more experience now with self-directed academics.

My studies and experience abroad did not directly relate to my career goals, but I feel more confident that I could move to a new country or city for a job. 

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

I would like to work as a counselor, either as a social worker or a psychologist, and work in the field of integrative mental health care. My studies and experience abroad did not directly relate to my career goals, but I feel more confident that I could move to a new country or city for a job. Studying abroad confirmed for me that I want to leave room in my life for travel, ideally as part of my career.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would not recommend studying abroad to everyone, but for many people I believe it is a wonderful and enriching experience. I am glad that I went, and I would choose to go again if I had the opportunity, but I do want to acknowledge that studying abroad is not all fun. It's challenging socially, emotionally and physically. Depending on where someone is in their life, that type of challenge may not be the best option. However, I think that anyone can benefit from leaving their own world for a few months and experiencing something new.

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

Ashlyn McKee

Internship with Control Risks
Up one level
Ashlyn McKee

Paterno Fellow
Major: Mandarin and International Relations
Hometown: Singapore
Chapel Executive Intern

How did you learn about this opportunity?

After asking a family friend who works in consulting if he knew of any international consulting firms, he gave me the contact information for Control Risks Singapore. I emailed the Head of the Compliance, Forensic and Intelligence department asking if the company was accepting summer interns and attached my CV and a cover letter. I think it's a good idea not to limit yourself to "internship programs", sometimes putting yourself out there and just asking can work too.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

Working at Control Risks this summer was certainly the most hands-on and intensive internship I have ever participated in. Because Control Risks doesn’t have a developed internship program, when I arrived on my first day, I was essentially thrown into the work. I was treated much like the way I imagine they would treat new hires—no coddling, minimal explanation. I was given a project within twenty minutes of setting up my computer. My first project was for a client interested in investing in an Indonesian conglomerate. The client ordered a report including a media profile, background check and litigation check on the Indonesian firm, its key management and its main shareholders. Having never worked in consulting before, I was pretty much clueless on how to conduct the research or write a due diligence report.

Being thrown into the project work with little to no guidance actually helped in the long-term because I had to use my own judgment to complete my work.

It definitely took about a month for me to learn the ropes— which were the best databases to use for litigation checks? What is the fastest way to perform a media profile check? What writing style provided an unbiased summary of the company? That being said, I think being thrown into the project work with little to no guidance actually helped in the long-term because I had to use my own judgment to complete my work.

How did this experience impact you academically?

I think my experience at Control Risks impacted me significantly in terms of academics. I conducted in-depth research and wrote due diligence reports during most of my time at Control Risks and as a result, I honed comprehensive and efficient research and writing skills. In addition, this internship absolutely increased my ability for time management. At any one time, I was typically working on three to four reports. In addition, I had to manage my time wisely as occasionally I would have to take on urgent work needed to complete a project for a client. I also learned how to access litigation databases, corporate records databases and media profile databases, as well as how to use I2 Analyst to create organizational charts.

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

Having grown up in the United States, Singapore and Moscow, whatever occupation I find myself in, I hope to be able to live and travel abroad extensively. In addition, for several years now, I have been interested in the consulting industry due to its research and problem solving-based work. My summer internship at Control Risks solidified my interest in working in the consulting industry and perhaps even narrowed it down to a specific field, as I primarily focused on compliance, forensic and intelligence risk consultancy. Next summer, I hope to work in another consulting firm abroad, preferably in Asia again, so I can continue to immerse myself in Chinese language and culture.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would definitely recommend any Liberal Arts student interested in consulting to consider compliance, forensic and intelligence risk consultancy. It is an extremely interesting and fast-paced field with many high-profile cases.

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

The Paterno Fellows Program had an impact on my summer internship experience at Control Risks because the program has challenged and supported me in my academic endeavors from the start of my education at Penn State. In addition, the demanding academic environment the Paterno Fellows Program provides translated into my ability to work well in the intensive, fast-paced and stimulating environment of risk consultancy. The strong work ethic, perseverance and communication skills the Paterno Fellows Program so often demands in my academic career allowed me to produce high-quality research, due diligence reports, subcontractor screenings and organizational charts to my supervisors in a timely manner.

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

Brandon McCormick

Internship at the State Correctional Institute - Pittsburgh
Up one level
Brandon McCormick

Paterno Fellow
Major: Psychology, Criminology
Hometown: Zelienople, PA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I learned about this internship opportunity through a personal friend who works for the company, she also facilitated my application and acceptance.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

My internship experience was on the Mental Health Unit at the State Correctional Institute in Pittsburgh. The MHU is an acute treatment unit for inmates who have been deemed to pose a significant risk to themselves or others. From the first week of my experience, I was allowed to complete a wide variety of clinical tasks. These included completing intake assessments, attending therapeutic large group (5-10 inmates) discussions, assisting in one-on-one groups focused on wellness recovery action plans, prevention plans, and open discussions that would benefit a specific inmate, and participating small group (2-5 inmates) activities, including art/music therapy, cognitive behavior therapy, and open discussions. I also learned how to write clinical progress notes for each inmate, complete diagnostic assessments, set clinical boundaries, and build rapport. I was allowed to observe treatment team sessions on the MHU and on the Secure Residential Treatment Unit, as well as emergency admissions, a sex offender group, and therapeutic groups on the Residential Treatment Unit and the SRTU.

How did this experience impact you academically?

My internship experience has given me hands-on experience with the things I learned about in my psychology and criminology courses. For example, I have learned about certain types of mental illness in multiple courses, but it is quite a different experience to see how these disorders manifest themselves in a variety of people. Also, it has given me the confidence to work in corrections, which can be a very stressful and difficult work environment.

Although I was only at my internship for a relatively short period of time, I found [it] to be a extremely rewarding experience.

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

This internship experience has allowed me to recommit myself to pursuing a graduate degree in clinical forensic psychology, so that I can devote my career to learning about, and helping those with, mental illness in corrections. Although I was only at my internship for a relatively short period of time, I found my internship to be a extremely rewarding experience. I witnessed first hand, and even participated in, some very inspiring success stories. For example, an inmate that was on the MHU when I arrived was overtly psychotic and spoke only in a bizarre, tangential, disorganized, and delusional manner. During this time, I was one of the few people he was willing to talk to, fearing that other members of the staff were cannibals, or escaped from death row. Many members of the staff believed that he was a hopeless case. However, after a medication change, this inmate's schizophrenia seemingly went into full remission; his delusions fled and he regaled the staff and other inmates with stories from his time in Vietnam, his work as a police officer, and his vast prison experience.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would recommend this experience to other students, as it can be very rewarding. However, the job can be acutely stressful and difficult at times as corrections is a very unpredictable environment.

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

The Paterno Fellows Program played an important role in my internship experience. The internship requirement of the Paterno Fellows Program forced me to search high and low for a internship experience related to my career field of choice, and I could not be more thankful for it. This experience has given me the drive to further pursue my career goals, and it may give me an advantage over other graduate school applicants.

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

Natalia Ruggiero

Internship with Esperanza Immigration Legal Services
Up one level
Natalia Ruggiero

Paterno Fellow
Major: Criminology and International Politics
Minor: Italian
Hometown: Philadelphia, PA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I learned of this internship through a Paralegal I worked with at my previous internship. She knew I was interested in immigration law and so she put me into contact with the Executive Director of legal services at Esperanza Immigration Legal Services (EILS). From there, I sent her my resume and a cover letter and interviewed in May, at the end of finals week.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

One of the best aspects about my summer internship was the change in daily routine. Every day at EILS encompassed new clients, different cases, and interesting research questions. My main task was to fill, complete, and mail immigration forms (such as naturalization and DACA applications) to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, known as USCIS. To do so, I met with new clients to make sure they qualified for our services and then asked them a variety of questions pertaining to their specific cases. Being located in North Philadelphia, most of our clients were Hispanic. Therefore, the majority of my work depended on my bilingual skills, and I interpreted and translated just about every day in the office. Other noteworthy tasks included researching immigration questions, acting as an interpreter at a naturalization interview, screening clients, registering new citizens to vote at a naturalization ceremony, attending an immigration press conference with the mayor of Philadelphia, and communicating with court systems to obtain necessary documents.

How did this experience impact you academically?

This experience impacted me academically because it reassured me that this is the field I would like to continue with in the future. I have always been interested in the legal field and as a pre-law student, have taken courses at Penn State relating to my interest in law. It was amazing to actually experience working in the field, at a non-profit. Interning with EILS also helped me with balancing work and deadlines, which is obviously important to maintain during the academic year. EILS also taught me the importance of networking and staying in contact with other co-workers.

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

This internship experience instilled the confidence that I needed before beginning the law school application process.

My current plan after graduation is to attend law school. I aspire to be an immigration attorney working in a major city. This internship experience instilled the confidence that I needed before beginning the law school application process. I learned that it is truly a field that I enjoy working in and that I have the necessary skills and traits that will help me in the field. I also was able to improve my writing and my Spanish speaking and interpretation through my daily tasks at EILS.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would definitely recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students, specifically those interested in law and immigration. The staff at EILS was very willing to teach me and get me up-to-date on new immigration bills. Also, I believe everyone should experience what it is like to work at a nonprofit. The staff is very passionate about what they do and are always very willing to help their clients as much as possible.

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

The Paterno Fellows Program always encourages us, Penn State students, to strive for more and to push ourselves outside of our comfort zones. I believe that through the program, I have gained more confidence in my academic performance to reach for high goals, such as attending for law school. Without being a part of the program, I do not think I would have pushed myself to apply and interview with such a great organization.

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

Megan Flaherty

Internship with Textron Systems
Up one level
Megan Flaherty

Major: Labor & Employment Relations
Minor: Psychology
Hometown: Pittsburgh

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I found about Textron Systems at an information session that the School of Labor and Employment Relations held last fall. I attended the information session and learned about the various internship opportunities they were offering for the summer and was informed on how to apply. I also attended their interview day at the Nittany Lion Inn to learn more about their internship opportunities. I was then extended an offer a week after interviewing.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

During my internship I was presented with significant work that provided true value to the organization.

My experience at Textron was extremely beneficial and I truly enjoyed my time working for my team. I was working as an Human Resources Business Partner intern and supported a team of senior HR Business Partners. During my internship I was presented with significant work that provided true value to the organization. I was also able to shadow other HR teams to learn more about their roles and responsibilities in the organization, and how they contributed to the company's success. I networked with top talent who really embraced interns, and worked hard to maximize our experience while at Textron.

How did this experience impact you academically?

My internship experience impacted my academic career in that it gave me insight on what classes to take to excel in the workplace after graduation. I realized that some courses would be beneficial to take so that I could apply the course concepts effectively to my first full-time job. If I noticed any gap in the knowledge I've attained in school and what was needed in the workplace, I took note of it and enrolled in the appropriate classes for the next semester.

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

Working for a senior leadership team shed light on my overall career aspirations. The talent development team of Textron has resources available where they outline career paths of people in your particular field. I was fortunate enough to have this resource available for my review so that I could gain a better understanding of how people in my field grow and develop. Shadowing top talent also helps you gain a better understanding of how some people paved their own career paths and give information on how one could do the same. I now know where I see myself professionally upon graduation.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would certainly recommend that students take advantage of internship opportunities prior to graduation. Having the chance to apply the concepts learned in the classroom to the real world is extremely beneficial towards professional development. Internship opportunities can also confirm students' interest in the career path they are pursuing. Internships can also provide insight on what additional interests students may have that they would have never been exposed to unless they worked in their program. I had the ability to learn about the different facets of my major (Human Resources) and identify my interest in a specific facet of HR. I was able to achieve this understanding through my internship experience.

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

Brian Aamoth

Liberal Arts Alumni Mentor Program
Up one level
Brian Aamoth

Major: Economics
Minor: French and History
Hometown: Oakton, VA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I learned about the program through an email from the College of the Liberal Arts. I completed a short application and not much later, I was assigned a mentor. The process could not have been any easier.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

After I found out who my mentor was, I sent him a quick email just to say hello. He immediately replied, and said he was looking forward to working with me and helping me figure out what I would like to do career-wise. We then met at the Alumni Mentor Banquet at the Nittany Lion Inn, and he told me all about himself and how his career went in a direction he never thought it would. Since then, we've been in touch regularly, and he has given me advice on my resume and cover letters. He also gave me suggestions on where to look for internships and jobs.

How did this experience impact you academically?

For the most part, my mentor and I have just focused on the internship/job search. However, he mentioned that while academics are very important, experience and extra curricular activities are just as important, if not more so.

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

I’ve learned from talking to [my mentor] that your career can go in many different directions, so finding the absolute perfect job out of college isn’t a necessity.

I'm not 100% sure what I'd like to do yet, but after spending this past summer interning at the State Department, I know I would like to work for the government at some point. In the short term, I’m just focused on finding something that will give me solid experience in a field that I’m interested in. My mentor has worked for many different places, so he's been able to help me figure out what I would and would not like to do going forward. I’ve also learned from talking to him that your career can go in many different directions, so finding the absolute perfect job out of college isn’t a necessity.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would 100% recommend participating in the Liberal Arts Alumni Mentor Program; you have absolutely nothing to lose and potentially a whole lot to gain. It’s especially useful for us liberal arts students, as we often don’t have a set career path compared to an engineering or accounting major. The program is great because it puts you in touch with somebody who knows what you’re going through and can give you advice. At the end of the day, you can never have too many contacts, and your mentor could really help you figure out what you want to do or find the job you’re looking for.

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

Kerry Donnelly

Internship with Bayer HealthCare
Up one level
Kerry Donnelly

Major: Economics
Minor: Business in the Liberal Arts
Hometown: Millburn, New Jersey
Chapel Executive Intern

How did you learn about this opportunity?

During my sophomore year, I visited Bayer HealthCare and met with a few well regarded professionals to discuss my future career plans. One of them told me about his upcoming internship program, and during the spring semester of my sophomore year I applied through the Bayer job board online, had an interview, and accepted my offer. Bayer will be recruiting at PSU in the future for this internship.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

I was fortunate enough to have an incredible experience during my internship. My various projects allowed me to become familiar with SAP, Microsoft Office, and the inner-workings of a procurement organization. I learned so much about professional development and how to network with a purpose. During my internship I was able to tour a Bayer manufacturing plant in PA, and a supplier manufacturing site in NJ. This was such a unique and interesting experience that I was very lucky to have. I would recommend this internship and company to everyone! My program was designed carefully to allow me to step outside my comfort zone and get as much out of the internship as I put into it.

How did this experience impact you academically?

Do not be taken aback if a job description prefers a certain major, always apply and explain the benefits of your specific degree.

I was a bit nervous at the start of my internship because being that this is a procurement internship, the other two interns were supply chain majors, and I am an economics major. I quickly learned that all technical terms I needed to know I could learn on the job. My liberal arts degree helped me to be able to think strategically and adapt to new situations easily. I want to continue to pursue a career in procurement, and I am now grateful that I have a unique background because it will show employers that I can learn on the job, and apply my critical thinking skills.

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

After graduation, I am looking to embark on a Leadership Development Program in Procurement. I am looking at 2 to 3 year programs because they will offer me the opportunity to rotate in procurement or supply chain and learn about different functions. I am interested in either continuing on at Bayer, or starting fresh at a new company. I am eager to see where the next chapter in my life takes me! I am fortunate that my internship has prepared me with the skills and confidence to succeed in future programs and this demanding career path.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students. Do not be taken aback if a job description prefers a certain major, always apply and explain the benefits of your specific degree. I think that my Economics background really helped me succeed in my Procurement role. Bayer is a great company to work for; even as an intern my ideas were implemented and I felt I contributed great value to the company. Bayer also offered a lot of great perks that are not standard in all internships.

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

Megan Cichocki

Study Abroad in Freiburg, University of Freiburg
Up one level
Megan Cichocki

Paterno Fellow
Major: Economics and International Politics
Minor: German
Hometown: Zionsville, PA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I have known that I wanted to study abroad since I started applying to college, so when the time came to decide on a specific program, I did a lot of research to make sure I was choosing the best one for me. First, I attended the Office of Education Abroad’s Study Abroad fair, which was really helpful because I had the chance to talk to representatives from almost all of the programs I was interested in. As a German minor, I knew I wanted to go to Germany and I wanted a program that offered classes in German. From there, I researched the programs on the Education Abroad website and talked to an Education Abroad advisor. I also met with a professor in the German department to learn how the classes would transfer back to Penn State. Finally, I spoke with students who had studied abroad, and based on their advice I chose the program that I thought would be best for me.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

I studied at the University of Freiburg in Freiburg, Germany, which is a beautiful city on the outskirts of the Black Forest. My program was a direct exchange, meaning that I took classes with German students at the University. Through my program I had the chance to meet and interact with students from all over the world, which I really enjoyed. Because of the diversity in the international population at the University, I had the chance to learn not only about German culture but about cultures from all over the world. For example, one of my courses compared German culture with each student’s home culture. We learned how the Japanese education system worked and compared it to schools in Germany and the United States. It was also really interesting to see how students interacted with each other, and I learned how to effectively communicate with people from a multitude of countries. I took five classes at the university, and through school and conversations in everyday life, my comfort level while speaking German improved exponentially.

My favorite part of the experience was going to the daily market and ordering a Wurst in German or going to the pharmacy to pick up medicine and conversing solely in German. It became second nature to me, and I loved being able to talk with my language partner. I also traveled extensively, and I explored over thirty cities during my time in Europe. Traveling allowed me to see and experience the cultures of ten different countries, and I also became much more independent and confident as I navigated through foreign nations. I saw Les Miserables on the West End in London, toured the Parliament Building in Budapest, ate lasagna in Como, Italy and I boarded the plane back to the United States with so many memories and an entirely new perspective on the world.

How did this experience impact you academically?

Studying abroad was a unique but incredible complement to my academic experience at Penn State. By studying directly at the University of Freiburg, I was able to see firsthand how the German university system functions and it was really valuable to me to learn in a different type of environment. German classes are very different than American classes in that the students take much more responsibility for running lectures, giving presentations, and leading discussions. Each one of my classes required students to give a lengthy presentation and to lead a discussion, and the professors took more of a back seat. They would contribute to the conversations when necessary, but for the most part the students decided how they wanted to run the class. This forced me to become more of an active learner. Instead of being told the important information, I had the responsibility to pick it out on my own and share it with my classmates. Additionally, my German improved considerably and I became confident enough to give in depth presentations in German. I learned to work in teams with people from other countries and cultures, and the global perspective that I gained will be invaluable as I continue my studies in the United States.

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

I would like to be an economic analyst for the federal government, which is a position where foreign language skills are highly-valued. In order to be successful in my career, I will need to understand how foreign economies function, how world events and politics affect economies and how economic conditions affect the stability and prosperity of nations throughout the world. Studying abroad, I had the unique opportunity to witness a foreign economy firsthand. Through Germany’s economy is fairly similar to the United States, I learned a lot about German opinions on how economies should be run, the embrace of globalization by many Germans, and how American companies have expanded throughout the world. In one of my classes, we discussed the impact of American capitalism in the twentieth century which provided me with an international perspective that I would not have gained by staying in the United States. Having the chance to meet and interact with people from all over the world was really valuable and will positively impact my career goals.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would definitely recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students, especially for people who would like to improve their German language skills. So many people have told me that immersion is key to really feeling comfortable speaking a foreign language, and after immersing myself in the German language, I wholeheartedly concur. Simple tasks like going to the bakery and ordering a pretzel became so much easier for me, and after a couple of months I was able to carry a substantive conversation with native German speakers. The experiences I had while in Europe helped me to become much more confident, independent, and adventurous. Additionally, by leaving the United States for a little bit I gained an entirely new perspective on how people from other countries see the world, which was really eye-opening and beneficial for me.

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

One of the goals of the Paterno Fellows Program is to prepare students for citizenship, and I now feel more prepared than ever to be a citizen both of the United States and the world. 

The Paterno Fellows Program has been an integral part of my Penn State experience and my study abroad experience more specifically. The program has challenged me to become a well-rounded liberal arts student and has provided me with funding that has allowed me to take advantage of several incredible opportunities. One of the goals of the Paterno Fellows Program is to prepare students for citizenship, and I now feel more prepared than ever to be a citizen both of the United States and the world. Thanks to the generosity of the College of the Liberal Arts and the Paterno Fellows Program, I was able to travel and see more places than I could have ever imagined. I was able to immerse myself in the German language and feel comfortable enough to carry and understand conversations with native speakers. I learned about the incredible cultures of other nations and appreciate the American culture even more than I did before. I met people from all over the world and developed connections that I will hopefully maintain for a long time to come. The Paterno Fellows Program had an extremely positive impact on this experience, and I am incredibly grateful for the opportunities given to me.

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

Sabrina Evans

Internship with Lippincott Massie McQuilkin
Up one level
Sabrina Evans

Major: English, Print Journalism
Hometown: Binghamton, NY
Chapel Executive Intern

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I found my experience with LMQ Literary Agents after researching several different agencies and applying via email to their general info inbox.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

LMQ is a mid-sized literary agency representing literary fiction and non-fiction writers. My main responsibility during my time there was to go through the queries inbox and write up reader reports detailing why I would or would not recommend a query for representation. Additionally, I was given the opportunity to work closely with one of the agents to edit and evaluate work from existing clients. We were also welcomed to participate in agent lunches, where the agents would tell us about their work and how they got to their current position. Although a lot of the work felt mundane after a certain point, I felt like I learned a lot about how the publishing industry works and identified my particular strengths as a future member of the publishing community.

I learned a lot about how the publishing industry works and identified my particular strengths as a future member of the publishing community.

How did this experience impact you academically?

As a double major in English as well as Print Journalism, I thought my skills and experience as an editor and writer would make me an ideal candidate for a publishing job. Although these things definitely helped me, it was what I learned as an English major and reader that helped me most. Rather than focusing on line-editing, I was forced to look at the big picture and really dig into why I do or don't like something I've read. I think this experience has given me a new take on what makes for a good piece of literature and will help me evaluate what I'm reading differently.

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

Before this summer, I planned on going into a career as a journalist. However, after this summer, I want to become a part of the publishing community. The biggest qualification is whether you love to read, and as a result of this summer, I've regained a love of reading I lost after years of slugging through the classics. Not only did I discover that I want to be in publishing instead of journalism, but I also learned that there is more to publishing than being an editor at a large house like Penguin or Simon and Schuster. I learned enough about the industry to know that there are numerous different positions that are equally important in producing a published work, and I would be interested in experimenting with any of them, even becoming an agent, which I never planned on pursuing full-time until this summer.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would definitely recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students. I can't say that literary agenting is for everyone -- it's very specific and time-intensive -- but for those that love to read, write and work with incredibly intelligent and savvy people, this is the experience for them. LMQ is a highly regarded agency with a well-respected list of clients, and the opportunities afforded during and after the internship are invaluable.

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

Benjamin Rowles

Internship at U.S. Department of State
Up one level
Benjamin Rowles

Paterno Fellow
Major: English
Hometown: Chester Springs, Pennsylvania
Chapel Executive Intern

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I received an email about the U.S. Department of State's student internship program from a Schreyer Honors College newsletter. I applied during the application window for summer (open approximately in September and October) through https://www.usajobs.gov.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

I interned for the State Department's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, in the Cultural Programs Division. The Cultural Programs Division engages in cultural diplomacy; that is, it aims to promute mutual understanding between citizens of the U.S. and of other countries through cultural exchange programs. I provided administrative support for cultural exchange programs including American Music Abroad, the Arts Envoy Program, the International Writing Program, Center Stage, and American Film Showcase. I had the opportunity to help assemble grant packages, write speeches, and conduct research on new exchange program opportunities. Additionally, I was able to see the results of my work when exchange programs took place in Washington, D.C. For example, I met an Algerian reggae band called Democratoz, which participated in Center Stage. That was just the best.

How did this experience impact you academically?

This experience has made me interested in international education. I have taken some education and tutoring-focused classes on campus, and hope to take others with an international bent. I am also interested in learning more about U.S foreign policy.

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

My career goals and plans are to combine my interests in urban and international education, first through a degree in comparative and international education, and then through a research career focused on bringing insights from other countries to U.S. urban education, and vice versa. I am continuing my experience in international education this academic year, when I will be e-tutoring Ecuadorian college students majoring in English through the State Department's Virtual Student Foreign Service program.

I absolutely would recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students. You get to do real work in foreign affairs and meet amazing people who are shaping U.S. diplomacy. 

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I absolutely would recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students. You get to do real work in foreign affairs and meet amazing people who are shaping U.S. diplomacy. I was able to volunteer at events where I saw Second Lady of the United States Jill Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry, and other big names speak, and my division colleagues were wonderful.

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

Paterno Fellow enrichment funds helped me participate in international experiences including a development economics venture in rural Kenya through an embedded course and a human rights excursion in rural Panama via Global Brigades. Both experiences led to my interest in working with the U.S. Department of State.

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

Xiaohe Wang

Alumni Mentor Program
Up one level
Xiaohe Wang

Major: Psychology
Minor: LER
Hometown: Beijing

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I learned about the enrichment experience through several ways: emails, advisor, and posters.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

I applied for the Alumni Mentor Program when I was in my sophomore year. Getting into the program requires nothing more than showing your thoughts and of course, your own information and expectations. A week later I was introduced to my mentor and thus my valuable experience began. Basically, we contact with each other every week. To be honest, she is the best mentor that I could ever imagine. She not only gives me guidance as a mentor or as someone who is more experienced, but she also treats me like a friend.

How did this experience impact you academically?

With a clear goal, I am able to choose more relevant classes and fill my schedule with more important alternative options.

I had been thinking of having a minor but just couldn't figure out what to learn and what would be the best for my future career goals. After listening to my thoughts and based on what she knew about my background, we finally came up with a plan which suits me the best. With a clear goal, I am able to choose more relevant classes and fill my schedule with more important alternative options.

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

Originally, I felt like getting into HR or PR field for my later career. I actually know nothing about PR and haven't taken any courses related to it either. However, as for HR, I'm a psychology student and I'm doing the business option; thus, I have some basic knowledge about HR. After discussing these options, my mentor suggested that HR would be a better option for me. So during summer time, I went to Ketchum, a PR company, and I was admitted to HR & Admin group. This was definitely a win-win. This 3-month internship helped me to get a quite thorough understanding of both HR and PR and makes me aware that HR is more suitable for me.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would definitely recommend the Alumni Mentor Program to other students. We look for short cuts in every aspect of our life, and the mentor program could help you achieve your goal if the communication between you and your mentor is efficient and smooth.

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

Malyke Partlow

Internship with Ernst & Young
Up one level
Malyke Partlow

Major: Criminology/Security & Risk Analysis
Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA
Chapel Executive Intern

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I learned about the enrichment through an email to my webmail that mentioned you could receive funding from the College of Liberal Arts. Nobody told me; I just saw the information through an email and looked it up for myself.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

My experience working with Ernst & Young was great. I had the opportunity to work with three different clients during my internship. I had the chance to travel to Chicago for a week to train with hundreds of other interns. The culture was amazing and the teams I worked on really made me feel welcomed. The opportunity was great and definitely make me attractive to future employers.

How did this experience impact you academically?

I learned a lot of things that you wouldn't learn in the classroom. I had the chance to analyze data, test security controls, use different databases, and a whole list of other relevant things.

Academically I learned a lot of things that you wouldn't learn in the classroom. I had the chance to analyze data, test security controls, use different databases, and a whole list of other relevant things. I brushed up on my project management, and professional skills during my internship that is hard to learn in the classroom. I had the opportunity to really work and see what it is like to deal with multiple projects at a time. I have grown a lot due to my internship.

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

My career plans and goals are to work for the federal government. I am pursuing criminology and information and cyber security to give me an advantage to someday work for the government. I spent two years in Naval ROTC and I currently work for the Auxiliary Police. I am always trying to find ways to make me stand out. My internship really allowed me to gain relevant work experience that would better me as a professional in IT and cyber security.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

Yes I would. I understand how difficult it is for Liberal Arts student to find find internships or study abroad programs that provide funding for them. The College of Liberal Arts and Chapel Executive Program really gives students the ability to complete programs without the financial pressure of not being able to afford the program. It was a big help to support my summer internship.

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

Sarah Malanoski

Internship with Price Waterhouse Cooper
Up one level
Sarah Malanoski

Major: Information Sciences and Technology; English
Hometown: Westport, CT
Chapel Executive Intern

How did you learn about this opportunity?

The College of IST has a plethora of career resources which I utilized greatly in my search for an internship. The career fair was a huge assistance, especially as I was on the Pro Expo committee which allowed for a closer look at companies. Another important aspect was the online database of internships which allowed a vast understanding of what type of internships were available to an IST major and where I extensively dropped my resume.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

PwC has a very structured organization that sections off their employees into certain work lines. For this summer, my official title was IT function transformation tech consulting in financial services, specifically asset and wealth management. The main project that I was assigned was an anti-money laundering project for a major wealth management firm. The firm was transitioning their sanction screening system - the system that screens the firm's transactions to ensure that the company is not supporting sanctioned, or dangerous, entities. These systems need to be programmed to generate alerts of entities from global sanctioned lists and to suppress false positive alerts. This saves the company time, money, and legal issues. As a compliance project, my team was in charge of writing the rules for the new system. This was the most rewarding, as it was extremely technical. The nature of the assignment also allowed me to work closely with my team, allowing me to build extremely positive and strong relationships during my short time with the firm.

How did this experience impact you academically?

My English degree was crucial in making me stand out among the 200 other interns. In such a technical field being able to write and speak well was highly coveted.

This experience impacted me academically by being able to utilize my dual majors. Though IST is my primary major, my English degree was crucial in making me stand out among the 200 other interns. In such a technical field being able to write and speak well was highly coveted. I was also able to provide a different perspective through what I had learned through my English classes. The well-roundedness that a Liberal Arts degree has gifted me gave me the ability to succeed.

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

This internship was extremely enlightening as I look toward my future and career goals. PwC has always been a reach for me throughout my college experience as I understood that I wanted to pursue consulting. The opportunity to be able to have this internship experience prior to committing to a career path has been incredible. It has set me up for success, as I now not only have experience and an established network, but the beginning of a career. While I may not have my dream job figured out, PwC has always been the goal post-college. It is a great starting step as consulting allows tremendous experience and growth in a short period of time. As I continue on my career path I will use the knowledge I obtained with this internship, and PwC, to expand my network and knowledge of the corporate world.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would definitely recommend that other Liberal Arts students experience this opportunity. With PwC being such a big firm, there are many positions where a liberal arts degree can truly shine. This internship also allowed for real project experience and an amazing initial network.

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

Jamie Ranalli

Internship with Stryker Sustainability Solutions
Up one level
Jamie Ranalli

Paterno Fellow
Major: Anthropology and Sociology
Minor: CAMS and Jewish Studies
Hometown: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Chapel Executive Intern

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I went to the Stryker Booth at the Penn State Career fair and then went online to submit the application. Paige White is the East Coast recruiter for Stryker and is a great person to reach out to if you are interested in getting an internship at Stryker.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

I was the Human Resources Intern at the Stryker Sustainability Solutions located in Lakeland, Florida. Here I was given the chance to really explore the many different sides of human resources. I was able to practice my interviewing skills by conducting the conversion interviews for our temps. I also learned how to conduct exempt interviews. I planned many events, such as a 5K and Habitat For Humanity Day, in order to increase employee engagement and community awareness about our company. Finally, I was given the chance to revamp the Job Interest Form, which allows employees to switch positions within the company, as well as create a program called iBuddy that helps new hires integrate into the Stryker Community. Both of these programs were aimed at increasing employee retention.

How did this experience impact you academically?

I can't properly put into words how much this internship has helped me. This experience of course really helped me hone my time-management skills and work ethic, as well as allowing me to see what working in human resources is like. However, what really surprised me was that it also really helped me understand a lot about my strengths, my opportunities, my passions, and myself. By knowing these things, I can approach every assignment or task with a different perspective. I now know what I can do quickly and what things will take me more time to complete.

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

If I had not done this internship, I never would have known how interested I would be in HR.

Even though I am majoring in Anthropology and Sociology, I found out this summer that those majors help prepare me for working in human resources. Therefore I would love to pursue a career in Human Resources, eventually becoming a HR Business Partner or Director. One day I also hope to go to grad school to obtain my masters in HR or Global HR. If I had not done this internship, I never would have known how interested I would be in HR, nor would I have known the many opportunities that are out there in this field. It truly helped me understand what I want to do with my life.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would most definitely recommend this experience for any one who has an interest in HR! Stryker is a wonderful company with a great culture and values. Also, I believe internships in general really allow you to get the feel for what you could be doing one day and let you see if you would actually enjoy it. Stryker definitely lets you get a full feel for what you could do straight out of college and where you could go if you continue down that career path.

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

Being a Paterno Fellow has not only inspired me to become the best me I could be by taking advantage of these different opportunities that I may not have done originally, but also it has supported me along the way. They have shown me just how many opportunities are out there for me to take advantage of and given me the means to do it while I am here at Penn State. This has instilled in me a desire to continue taking advantage of the amazing opportunities life hands me and not be afraid to try something new (like internships or study abroad).

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

Porche Maloney

Internship with AIG Insurance
Up one level
Porche Maloney

Major: Human Resource and Employment Relations
Minor: Organizational Leadership
Hometown: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Chapel Executive Intern

How did you learn about this opportunity?

In February, AIG held their Penn State information session in the Forest Research building. Thankfully, the cold weather did not come in the way of me attending the session that opened the door to my phenomenal 2016 work experience. University Relations Recruiter Theana Angelus and her rotational program team presented what AIG does and how young professionals like myself would benefit from working there. Needless to say, I applied that very day!

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

With all things accomplished and considered, I can say that this journey was certainly worthwhile. I can say that I have a real taste in what it is like to work in quite a few of the HR specialties and can identify my passion areas. I stepped out on a leap of faith by moving from Pittsburgh to Houston to live out my corporate dream and it would not have been possible without Chapel Executive Internship Program. The funding provided allowed me to find housing, transportation and live comfortably during my stay; all of which ensured that I approached my assignments with my best foot forward.

How did this experience impact you academically?

It’s not all about your title or job grade; having a variety of workplace experiences can be key in expanding your skill set.

Most of our time was dedicated to the Compelling Careers project. Compelling Careers was an initiative launched in an effort to reshape the way employees think when trying to advance their standing in the organization. Traditionally, employees are driven by working toward promotions and higher status; however, AIG is asking them to think about the bigger picture. During the summer, the PE team participated in rigorous focus groups, conference calls and innovation days to change our employees' mindsets from position-based to experience-based achievement. This means, the employee is more concerned with the varying types of expose they have throughout the company, making it easier for them to understand how it works both in and outside of their respective departments. I too benefited from this project because it even reshaped the way I look at my career progression. My takeaway is, it’s not all about your title or job grade; having a variety of workplace experiences can be key in expanding your skill set.

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

As of right now, my career goal is to be apart of the AIG University Relations team as a project leader/recruiter and enroll in their rotational program. My AIG experience provided opportunities and work variability that is endless because of the AIG universal networks I was able to work with. Moreover, it is unique because it allowed me to develop my skills in all facets of the HR field (recruiting, compensation, training) while allowing me to collaborate with HR specialty areas (HR supply chain) that I never knew existed. By being exposed to all the varied HR functions, I was able to gain valuable skills that as a result will be the most important moment in respect to my future career goals. Considering that I am motivated by opportunities that challenge me, I know that I do not want to stay in one area my entire career. Therefore this experience of letting me branch out to explore will allow me to asses my areas of interest, strengths, and opportunities for growth.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

Absolutely, housing, transpiration and overall relocation cost can be covered with the assistance of this program. Without it, I would not have been able to afford the cost to relocate from Pittsburgh, PA to Houston, TX.

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

Julia Gray

Internship with Dream Careers London
Up one level
Julia Gray

Major: Advertising, English, Philosophy
Hometown: Potomac, MD
Chapel Executive Intern

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I did a lot of research on my own and spoke to the Education Abroad office. Reading online reviews about different program experiences helped guide my decision.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

I interned at one of the top Entertainment Public Relations firms in London. The company does PR for Naomi Campbell, The Who, British Summertime (a huge London music festival) as well as many other rising and established musicians and public figures. With a lot on their plate, I had a lot to work with and gain experience from.

How did this experience impact you academically?

This internship helped further narrow my career goals as well as my academic focus. I realized that I could see myself working in Public Relations rather than getting a job in my major.

I am so happy I had the chance to intern at a renowned company while exploring another part of the world.

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

I will continue my job search and find a job in an exciting city like London that will help me reach my creative potential. I may even go back to London and work for the company I interned at.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

Yes! The internship and the program were both fantastic. I am so happy I had the chance to intern at a renowned company while exploring another part of the world.

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

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

Sarah Jordan

Internship with Macy’s Inc.
Up one level
Sarah Jordan

Major: Labor & Employment Relations (IUG) /Business Management
Hometown: Amityville, NY
Chapel Executive Intern

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I came across this enrichment opportunity by checking the College of the Liberal Arts website for summer funding/grant opportunities. During this time, I also received emails from the career and recruitment coordinators within the college about these opportunities made available to students.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

This summer I had the amazing opportunity to accomplish one of my short term career goals of working within the fashion industry. I quickly learned that working within the world of fashion was not the same as working within online startups, corporate healthcare, or media entertainment where my past experience lies from prior internships. Simply put, working in the fashion industry was truly amazing! Being able to work for Macy’s, the number one fashion apparel retailer in the U.S out of the world’s fashion capital, New York City, was life changing. I was able to immerse myself in all functions of the company, including store management, merchandising, vendor relations, store visual, and so much more.

I was in charge of managing the women’s shoes and designer handbags/accessories departments of a 40 million dollar business. There were a total of 30 associates which I directly supervised and although this was a challenging role I learned how to grow my team by providing them with responsibilities to increase engagement and commitment. I was able to help run the store with department specific tasks, collaborate with designer brand vendors to analyze trends to influence merchandise selections, styles, SKU’s and assortments, and research competitive retail prices to compare trends on online/mobile shopping platforms. I had an amazing experiences creating the “Magic” at Macy’s.

How did this experience impact you academically?

I have a different, more in-depth perspective on leadership, employee engagement and marketing analytics because I have actually experienced these topics in the real world.

This experience impacted me both academically and professionally. I was able to witness first hand the tasks and responsibilities it takes to work in the retail apparel industry and run a multi-million dollar business. I leveraged the basic fundamentals learned in my classes and applied it to my projects and team management. Now, I’m able to take practices and knowledge learned on the job and engage in class discussions based on actual experience. I have a different, more in-depth perspective on some of the topics focused around leadership, employee engagement and marketing analytics because I have actually experienced these topics in the real world.

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

I’ve always had a vision of where I wanted to see my career beginning. I knew I loved business but I’ve always had a burning passion for working within the fashion industry.My short term career goal is to work within fashion merchandising for a private label apparel brand. I would love to grow within this role and become a CMO one day. This experience has made a great impact on me accomplishing my goal. I was able to build a professional network within and outside of Macy's and connect to professionals within the industry. The skills and knowledge I gained throughout this role serves as a solid foundation to understanding the this dynamic industry and it's key players.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would definitely recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students. It’s an opportunity to not only develop your business acumen and develop yourself professionally but aids in establishing your professional network. In addition, this experience puts you in a role where you are able to evolve into a business leader. There is autonomy to lead your own team, which is not only challenging but eye-opening when you're able to see the tangible contributions you have made to the company by the end of the program. You are able to truly make an impact and own your work.

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

Julia McClarnon

Internship with IPG Mediabrands
Up one level
Julia McClarnon

Major: Human Resources and Employment Relations
Minor: Psychology
Hometown: Stony Point, NY

How did you learn about this opportunity?

This agency is owned by the company that I had interned at the two summers before this past summer. I met a recruiter for IPG Mediabrands at a company wide networking event and contacted her when I was searching for internships.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

My experience was wonderful. I performed a large amount of full-time HR equivalent work and also completed a lot of project work. On top of my individual work, my intern program, or "The Residency", involved Learn and Earns about the specific business units under IPG Mediabrands; we learned what they do, who their clients are, the culture and personality of their business unit, and how they contributed towards the overall bottom line. A particularly great aspect of the Learn and Earns was the chance to learn about many aspects of the media and marketing industry. We also participated in a summer-long intern project where we were tasked with identifying a potential client and creating a mock business pitch tailored toward that client.

How did this experience impact you academically?

This experience impacted me academically because it furthered my ability to take what I learned in the classroom and apply it towards real life, as well as being able to take what I have seen in the working world and expand on those tendencies and learn more about their occurrence. Learning without experience or experience without learning means nothing; the two go hand in hand. I find myself being able to more fully grasp concepts because I can logically relate them to real world applications and to my own experience. I am also able to enhance the learning experience for others in my class who may not have had the same experiences or opportunities. Specifically, I find myself more capable of looking at concepts from a media and technical aspect and being able to relate situations back to that.

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

Participating in this internship has brought me one step closer to obtaining my ideal first full-time position.

I plan to one day become a Human Resources Professional/Business Partner. After graduation, my goal is to obtain a position in a talent operations, talent acquisition, or HR generalist field. This internship was very helpful with this goal not only because it gave me the ability to apply my knowledge, but also because I have that real world experience that I previously mentioned. Human Resources is unique in that you learn a large amount of what to do in the classroom, but you also learn a lot about how to do it in real world experiential application. Participating in this internship has brought me one step closer to obtaining my ideal first full-time position because my manager told me at the end of my internship that she would like to hire me if they have an open position when I graduate, which I am very excited about!

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

Of course I would. It allowed me to grow not only as an employee who learned what is expected in all types of working environments, but I also learned about my industry and the media industry as a whole.

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

Susan Nahvi

Internship with Plan International USA
Up one level
Susan Nahvi

Paterno Fellow
Major: International Politics and French
Hometown: State College

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I learned about this enrichment experience through the Penn State Washington Program. This program, which is offered by the Communications Department, helps students find housing and internships in Washington, DC. This program came to my attention when I received an email from the Political Science Department advertising it. Once in the program, the internship coordinator, Katie Sullivan, asked about my interests and kept her eye out for positions that might interest me.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

Plan International USA is an international development organization. This organization focuses on helping create sustainable development in developing countries, with their projects focusing specifically on children, education, girls' empowerment, water sanitation and health. I was working for the Foundation Relations team, which obtains funding for their projects from private and family foundations. Being in this position, I had an overview of the entire organization. I saw how we identified funders that had similar goals; how programs were crafted that would accomplish our goals and appeal to donors; and how we had to follow up with donors on project implementation. Most of my work centered on grant prospecting, grant writing, research, and note taking. My supervisor encouraged me to attend meetings from all of the different teams, which gave me a better sense of the work that we did as an organization and how many different career paths this included. I talked with employees from human resources, communications, fundraising, project implementation, measurement and effectiveness, business development, and corporate outreach.

How did this experience impact you academically?

This internship had a large impact on my academics. This year, I am writing a thesis as part of my honors requirements, and at the beginning of the summer, I already had an idea in place for my thesis topic. However, over the summer, I was introduced to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, which were the subject of one of Plan’s upcoming projects. Being in these meetings really piqued my interest, and I started thinking about how to turn this into a thesis topic. I ended up deciding to change my thesis topic, and I’ll be looking at the Millennium Development Goals, which preceded the SDGs. I wanted to research a topic I was passionate about, and being in this internship helped me learn where those passions lie.

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

While I have not completely ruled out other options, I am highly interested in international development as a career. Working for Plan International USA, I gained an appreciation for the problems that face developing countries, such as child trafficking, low availability of education, and fewer opportunities for women and girls. I was impressed by the passion everyone had for doing their work well and trying to help others. I also began to understand some of the problems that exist within the field of international development, such as program ineffectiveness and not understanding local conditions. I think exploring measurement and effectiveness (basically accountability) would be both rewarding and interesting. I hope to gain more experience in the field of international development after graduation.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I felt like I was given work that really mattered to the organization, and I always felt like a contributing member of the team.

I would recommend both the Washington Program and Plan International USA to other students. The Washington Program was a great help in finding housing and the position. At Plan International USA, I felt like I was given work that really mattered to the organization, and I always felt like a contributing member of the team. I was encouraged to learn as much as possible while I was there, and whether or not a student wants to go into international development afterwards, working at this organization was a great learning experience.

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

The Paterno Fellows program highlights the importance of experiences like internships and study abroad. These requirements helped me decide to take advantage of the opportunities that came my way, such as the Penn State Washington Program. Being a part of an honors program specifically for liberal arts has also helped me realize that the soft skill of liberal arts majors are just as important as the hard skills of other majors. The ability to communicate effectively, write concisely, analyze word choice, collaborate and think critically are all skills that the Paterno Fellows program encourages and skills that are incredibly important in succeeding in the work place.

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

Brittany Miraldi

Liberal Arts Alumni Mentor Program
Up one level
Brittany Miraldi

Major: Criminology
Minor: Political Science, Global Security
Hometown: Cresskill, NJ

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I've always been opportunistic and the College of the Liberal Arts would always put on events that I took advantage of my freshman year (and still do). At a panel event, one of the presenters mentioned the alumni mentor program and I reached out to Heather Baruch-Bueter to get involved. I went onto the College of the Liberal Arts site and read about it and decided it would be a very beneficial opportunity.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

In October of 2015, after filling out some questionnaires and surveys on my career goals and interests, I was matched with my mentor. In my surveys I mentioned that I was interested in a career within the law enforcement or legal fields. Being from the NYC area, I noted that it would be convenient to be matched with someone from there as well. I come from a law enforcement family and I wanted an unbiased, different outlook on my career path. My mentor is Jordan, a Criminal Investigator for the US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York. He was absolutely a perfect match for me because he went to law school AND was in law enforcement, so he could tell me the pros and cons of both. He was a Penn State alum in Administration of Justice and Sociology, which is known now as Criminology. He went onto law school, the FBI, and now is with the Federal Housing Finance Agency of the Inspector General. His extensive knowledge on securities fraud, criminal investigations and legal proceedings gave me a different take on a field I was already familiar with. We are still in contact today, almost a year later and actually we might be working together this summer, thanks to his help.

How did this experience impact you academically?

This experience tremendously impacted my academics. Going into it, I was unsure of what I really wanted to do. I was worried that there wasn't much to do with a Criminology major but that was what I was so passionate about. We talked about classes and he helped me schedule classes that would give me a good understanding of law as an undergraduate.

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

Deciding if I wanted to go to law school, and when was always a topic of discussion with Jordan. He went from PSU straight to law school. I wasn't (and still am not) sure if I even wanted to go to law school. Our discussions have brought up many points in my decision that I would not have thought of myself. His understanding of Penn State and the New York area helped tremendously to filter my deciding factors. I am confident that my decision will be the right one when it comes, because his experience guided me to explore the multitude of factors in law school decisions that aren't just the surface concerns. His expertise in different areas of law enforcement helped me decide that law enforcement was definitely NOT what I wanted to do. Another really important thing Jordan and I did was go over my resume, cover letter and applications for internships. Just a few weeks ago, Jordan brought me to the USAO-SDNY to talk with high profile Assistant US Attorneys and the hiring manager for the internship program. I am hoping to intern this summer with them and have gotten extremely positive remarks about this possibility. It would not have been possible without Jordan.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I had a passion but I didn't know what to do with it. The mentor program allows you to have a helping hand from someone who sat in your seat at some point in time.

I would absolutely, 100% recommend this program to anyone in Liberal Arts. It is scary to come into college, and even your sophomore or junior or senior year and not be confident in what you want to do. That's how I was. I had a passion but I didn't know what to do with it. The mentor program allows you to have a helping hand from someone who sat in your seat at some point in time. Jordan and I joke about 100 Thomas. He knows Penn State, and he knows liberal arts. I think a main concern coming out of a huge university like Penn State with a liberal arts degree is, what am I going to do with this? It is so comforting to have a successful person, with a similar experience and interests there to talk to and guide you. There are so many positives that have come out of this experience for me because Jordan has been so willing to help me. That Penn State community spirit is always there and the alumni are so eager to help. I genuinely cannot imagine my college experience without this program. I am so thankful for the opportunities that have come out of it and the many more to come. If I had advice for anyone considering this program, I would say 100% do it. I've made a lifelong connection and his advice and experiences have shaped my own academic and career goals. It's an opportunity too good to miss out on.

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

Danielle Ruffe

Study Abroad at Texas Tech University Field School in Maya Archaeology
Up one level
Danielle Ruffe

Paterno Fellow
Major: Anthropology, Geography
Minor: Spanish, GIS
Hometown: New Hope, PA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I researched a lot of field schools online then talked to my professor, Dr. French. He had previously worked with Dr. Houk, the program director. He introduced me to the program in the summer of 2015. This summer was my second season as I got asked back to be a member of the junior staff on the project.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

This summer I participated as a member of the junior staff in a Maya Archaeology Field School at the Maya city of Chan Chich, Belize. I had more experience this summer and was able to oversee five archaeological unit excavations as the sub-operation director at Norman's temple. Our work at Norman's temple was looking for evidence of warfare among the Maya elite during a time of stress on the city of Chan Chich. In addition to excavating, I was also instructing local high school students on archaeology basics. I taught the high school boys and first year field school students how to map, how to properly excavate, and how to record provenience of artifacts. The experience extended beyond the field as we went to see two Maya sites away from our dig area. We were able to travel to Guatemala to see Tikal, the city of sounds, and Caracol, the snail-shell shaped city.

How did this experience impact you academically?

During the 5 weeks I spent in Belize, I was able to work with multiple professors and grad students with varying areas of expertise. Not only was I able to gain experience digging at a prehistoric site, but also I was able to dig at a historic site and see the comparison firsthand from the differences in styles of digging. This year being able to teach helped me the most in really nailing down the basics of archaeology, because I had to be confident in my own skills before I taught someone else. I learned about field logistics this year and how a field operation is run. Being able to see the field school from a different point of view was really helpful this year because I was able to learn things from a different angle. I made valuable connections with grad students and professors in my majors who are great people to get advice from in the future.

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

Archaeology is heavily reliant on networking ability and this summer opened many future opportunities for me. I made new connections with fellow undergraduates, graduates, and professors.

I plan on becoming a South American Andean professor after first taking a few years to gain experience in the region. Excavating in Mesoamerica, I was able to learn the basics of archaeological fieldwork and the process of running field operations. These skills are transferrable to other regions and show that I have experience digging and leading excavations. In addition, this summer my work will be added to the project’s 2016 field report, which will provide me with my first publication on my way to my doctorate. The field of archaeology is heavily reliant on networking ability and this summer opened many future opportunities for me. I made new connections with fellow undergraduates, graduates, and professors. The people whom I met this summer have already provided me with a wealth of knowledge. Furthermore, many have told me to connect them in the future about future possibilities or advice in the field.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

Yes, I would most definitely recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students. Not only is it a great cultural experience, but also the field of archaeology is character building. Being able to physically work for the research you need is very rewarding. I have been at the field school with many non-anthropology majors and they all manage to come back from it with a reassured confidence that being in the outdoors all day builds. This is not just a field school but an opportunity to learn more about a culture and find more out about yourself along the way.

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

The Paterno Fellows Program has supported me both times I traveled abroad to Belize. I was personally pushed to take the leap to study abroad by the program and I am so thankful for it. I have had the wonderful opportunity of living in another country and getting a taste for a culture which I have dreamed about since I was little -- the Maya. As a member of the Paterno Fellow Board, I was able to have conversations with Dr. Wanner about the importance of taking a study abroad experience to the next level and fully immersing oneself in the experience. During my time in Belize and Guatemala, I practiced my Spanish and ate local cuisine every day. I wanted to widen my horizons and broaden my outlook on life, and this experience really challenged me to go beyond my normal chicken finger and chocolate milk meal. I ate chicken feet -- something I would not have done back in State College! Opening up my mind to new cultures helped me to see the world in a new way -- in a light of curiosity.

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

Jennie Wenger

Liberal Arts Alumni Mentor Program
Up one level
Jennie Wenger

Major: Labor & Employment Relations
Hometown: New Holland, PA (Lancaster, PA)

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I learned about the Liberal Arts Alumni Mentor Program through multiple resources. I learned about it through LER 488 with Dr. Pollack when he had someone come in and talk with us about the Career Enrichment Network, through the Bank of America Career Services, and through a friend who has a mentor from the Kinesiology department. Then, when I got an email from the Liberal Arts listserv, I applied.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

I got assigned to my mentor in the summer after filling out a survey to help the program match me to a mentor. I think my mentor is an excellent fit. I emailed her to tell her a little bit about myself and she emailed me back with her bio. Soon after that, we scheduled a phone interview. I used the handbook template to create an agenda for the talk. We mainly got to know each other a little better and picked a time to chat in the future.

My mentor also sends me encouragement. For example, I started an internship last summer and my mentor sent me a text on the first day to wish me well. 

My mentor also sends me encouragement. For example, I started an internship last summer and my mentor sent me a text on the first day to wish me well. Recently, we had a phone conversation since school has started. My mentor was once again encouraging and she offered to look over my resume before the upcoming career fair.

How did this experience impact you academically?

For me having a mentor was helpful because since she is alumni, she understands college and the stresses that come with it. That was beneficial to me since my parents didn't go to college and found it hard to relate to my college experiences and to give me advice on classes, resumes, internships, job searching, etc. So, having a mentor was also helpful to give me insight on all college experiences like which classes might be most useful after I graduate.

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

My main career goal is to find a job in a field related to my major in or near my hometown. My mentor experience has impacted this because she is available for me to bounce ideas off of and to look over my resume and cover letter before I send them out. She can also give me interview tips and advice regarding job searching. My mentor works in the education industry which is an industry that I am interested in looking into when I graduate. As such, I can feel free to ask her questions about the industry and what she does at work. I can learn about the work environment and what some tasks might be if I were to land a job in that industry.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students. Having a mentor from the Liberal Arts Alumni Mentor Program is awesome because it helps you to feel more comfortable with your career search. You always know that there is someone who will look over your resume and cover letter and give you advice when you need it. In that way it also helps to boost your confidence because you feel more prepared applying for positions and going to career fairs for example.

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

Sarah Ross

Liberal Arts Alumni Mentor Program
Up one level
Sarah Ross

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

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I received emails about signing up and I did! I went to the meeting about it also where people who have mentors shared their experience.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

I really like my mentor. I feel that I can relate to her more because she's younger, which is really nice. What she does isn't what I want to do, so in terms of her guiding me through my major process, it didn't help but she's helped in terms of looking where to start, and what to do. We've talked on the phone and have met up in person. She lives in DC so it's nice to talk to someone who lives where I want to live!

How did this experience impact you academically?

It's nice to have a friend/mentor to help me and it's reassuring that she went through the same things as I did.

It's nice to have a friend/mentor to help me and it's reassuring that she went through the same things as I did. It's helped me push in terms of going after what I want.

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

My career goals have changed some during the time that she has been mentoring so the impact has more been just to keep researching and applying. I want to do the Peace Corps and eventually work in the international development field somehow.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

Yes, I think it gives a chance to students to know that other people went through the same thing, and you can make a friend out of it!

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

Akanksha Mittal

Internship with Family Behavioral Resources
Up one level
Akanksha Mittal

Major: Psychology- Neuroscience
Hometown: State College

How did you learn about this opportunity?

After Googling different internship options with a psychology degree, I came across this company that has branches in State College and across the Western side of Pennsylvania. They told me that the State College branch was new so it had been a transition for them. I talked to a variety of people in HR, finally having an opportunity to talk to Cassi Group at the Centre County office.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

I have had the opportunity to work both with the administrative side of running an office, as well as working directly with consumers in the field.

I've had a variety of experiences while I've been at FBR and I'll continue to do so after graduating in December. I have had the opportunity to work both with the administrative side of running an office, as well as working directly with consumers in the field. I've learned how to create trackers for managing billable utilization (make sure employees are providing the right amount of services that children are assigned through the insurance company), handle the ins and outs of scheduling evaluations and re-evaluations, attend trainings, and create meeting minutes. Then I've had the chance to observe actual psychological evaluations, as well as provide behavioral support - working on life skills in the community with adults. This has included helping clients gain access to services through different offices, including Social Security and Occupational and Vocational Rehabilitation, as well as attending support groups for those with Autism to allow people to gain a better understanding of social interaction.

How did this experience impact you academically?

Given I've chosen to study psychology, I've heard in class about psychological evaluations, support groups and IEPs (individualized education programs), but I haven't had an opportunity to experience those things until working with FBR. I've had chances to work with children with all types of mental health disorders, including autism, schizophrenia, and ADHD, which has given me firsthand experience working with a population that most people do not experience until after they have attained their Bachelor's degree. It's given me experiences to relate to classwork and share with other peers to give them a better understanding, too. Ultimately, it has enhanced my understanding of theoretical concepts by giving me real-world knowledge of the implementation of those concepts.

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

I plan on working as a neuropsychologist working with children with ADHD and autism, as well as with adults that have suffered traumatic brain injuries. Working with FBR has not only solidified the population I want to work with, but it has also given me an invaluable experience being able to see actual psychological evaluations, conduct interviews of parents and children along with the director and psychologist, and given me a great place to start and learn more after I graduate from Penn State and before I start graduate school. I could not have asked for a better boss who has answered all of my curiosities and shown me how to run an office and manage employees and clientele. Victoria's fantastic! Additionally, this experience is great to put on a resume as well as on a graduate school application because it is so directly related to the career I hope to pursue working with the relationship between brain and behavior with children.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would absolutely recommend this experience to other students because it has given me real-world application of the theoretical concepts I learned about in class. It has allowed me the opportunity to explore different populations of people and ultimately decide which population I feel I can have the biggest impact working with. It has shown me both administrative and field work in a way that I can ask questions and make mistakes and learn from them before having to do it by myself. Not to mention, my boss has been a better resource and mentor than I could have ever dreamed of.

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

Andrew Powell

Liberal Arts Alumni Mentor Program
Up one level
Andrew Powell

Major: Neuropsychology
Hometown: Severna Park, MD

How did you learn about this opportunity?

One of my fraternity brothers talked to me about his experience with the Liberal Arts Alumni Mentor program, and raved about how his academic experience benefited from having a mentor to lean on. Our goals were similar, and I felt that I should be utilizing the fantastic Alumni Network that Penn State offers.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

Once I was paired with Linda, we discussed what each of our goals were from this partnership. We had weekly phone calls and talked about leadership skills, resume building, and even explored potential internships. We would email back and forth frequently between calls, specifically when I had upcoming interviews and needed tips. It has been a year since I was paired with Linda, and we still frequently talk about what my updated goals are, how confident I feel in these goals, as well as planning for upcoming career fairs and planning ahead so I ask the right questions and talk to the right employers that fit my future plans.

How did this experience impact you academically?

The Alumni Mentor Program helped with time management, course planning, as well as instilling personal confidence in approaching people and asking the right questions. Being able to talk to an alumni that understands your career plans and the steps that are needed to meet these goals was extremely helpful in making sure my academic career was headed in the right direction.

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

After completing my Undergrad at Penn State, I plan on pursuing a career as a Physician's Assistant. Linda has provided me with PA textbook excerpts so I can explore which PA discipline I would be most interested in pursuing. By giving me a more clear picture, I was able to get an idea of what kind of internships and classes I needed to look at and complete in order to succeed in my career plans.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

Without this program, I would be lost in what I needed to accomplish in order to begin my career after Penn State.

Absolutely, the Mentor program that the college of Liberal Arts offers is the best way to begin networking and meeting people that have pursued similar goals and careers that we as undergrads are interested in. Without this program, I would be lost in what I needed to accomplish in order to begin my career after Penn State. My mentor and I have created a strong, professional relationship that I know I will be able to utilize even after my undergrad years.

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

Caroline Briselli

Internship with Penn State Division of Development and Alumni Relations -Office of Development Communications
Up one level
Caroline Briselli

Paterno Fellow
Major: History
Minor: BUSLA, Middle East Studies
Hometown: Hershey, PA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

The Division of Development and Alumni Relation (DDAR) internship program is very well-publicized in the fall semester, and I learned about it through a mass email that was sent out to students. I knew that I would have some free space in my schedule during senior year, so I worked with my office to coordinate a 30hrs/week internship for this semester.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

In my role, I support DDAR's internal and external communications. Internally, I work on DDAR's employee website, where I write original content and re-post relevant development-related news. Externally, I support DDAR by writing proposals for specific donors, writing letter and email appeals for broader audiences and writing thank you letters. I also proofread and, in the future, will be contributing to DDAR's external publications, like We Are magazine. I also get to help with managing and creating content for DDAR's social media.

How did this experience impact you academically?

This experience has provided the opportunity to apply my liberal arts skills to a real-world job. In particular, I've learned how valuable my writing and research skills are. The majority of my job is writing, similar to many of my classes where the majority of my classwork involved writing. My writing skills have allowed me to convey information concisely, persuasively and in a variety of formats, from long proposals to short emails. Additionally, in order to build an argument for why giving to Penn State is a good decision, I often do a lot of research on academic programs and historic philanthropy at Penn State. This is an opportunity to use the research skills that I've developed in my history classes, especially because I find myself using PSU libraries to do much of my research.

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

I've learned that I enjoy using my communication skills to advocate for institutions and products that I care about.

After graduation, I am interested in pursuing a career in corporate communications; I have a particular interest in Fortune 500, consumer packaged goods companies. This sounds very different from what I am doing in DDAR but, in many ways, it isn't. I've learned that I enjoy using my communication skills to advocate for institutions and products that I care about. This requires thinking creatively, putting yourself in the shoes of your audience and considering what will resonate with them. I've found that both corporate communications and development communications allows me to do this, and it has opened my eyes to the field of non-profit communications. Every cultural institution, educational institution and charity has a communications department, and I have learned how dynamic and interesting this field is.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would absolutely recommend this experience to other liberal arts students! This is an opportunity to gain a great working experience while still living in State College. It's also a chance to support your school and give back, especially because many of us have ourselves benefited from philanthropy. Additionally, it's a great opportunity to see how applicable a liberal arts degree can be in the professional world.

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

In this role, I've really learned about the philanthropic leadership of the Paternos, and I've come to appreciate -- even more -- how they gave back to this school. As part of one of my projects, I got to do a lot of research on the Paterno family's contributions to the campaign in the late nineties, particularly in meeting with donors to fundraise for the library addition. It's given me a new appreciation of how unique it is that we had a football coach so engaged in academics and philanthropy, and it's made me even more proud to be a Paterno Fellow.

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

Stacy Jarvis

Internship with Penn State LGBTQA Student Resource Center
Up one level
Stacy Jarvis

Major: International Politics
Hometown: Blue Bell, PA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I used to go to the LGBTQA Student Resource Center a lot as a freshman. I hung out there and made some very good friendships and connections with the staff. I attended discussion groups and started helping out with Pride Week and other projects. When I found out about the internships they had for undergraduates I figured I already went there a lot so why not try for an internship.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

My experience as a hospitality and office management intern has been so enlightening. It has shown me that I can turn helping people into a career.

My experience as a hospitality and office management intern has been so enlightening. It has shown me that I can turn helping people into a career. I love working with the patrons of the center and helping them find what they need or just talking! The staff I work with are amazing and have helped me to be more confident in my ability to do any task assigned to me regardless of whether I had done it before.

How did this experience impact you academically?

This internship has improved my time management skills. I work very concrete hours, so I have to plan my schoolwork around my work there. Also, all of the staff say that our schoolwork comes first, so when we have large events such as Pride Week we must maintain our grades or we are not supposed to come to events.

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

My career goals are to work in the non-profit world or to work with a non-governmental organization of some sort. This internship has made me realize that I want to work with people more than anything. I used to think I wanted to do counterterrorism analysis, but through this internship I have realized that my place in the world is with others.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

Completely! The staff in the LGBTQA Student Resource Center are amazing and only want to help you achieve your dreams, so I would recommend this to anybody who wants to help others and make the Penn State community better!

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

Abby

Internship with Penn State World Campus Outreach and Marketing
Up one level
Abby

Major: Advertising/Public Relations, Global and International Studies, Spanish
Minor: CAS, IST for CAS
Hometown: Omaha, Nebraska

How did you learn about this opportunity?

To find this internship, I searched on the jobs.psu.edu site for internships related to my field, and I applied online.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

At this internship, I help with monitoring the social media accounts, as well as create posts for the different platforms. I also do a lot of analytics to get numbers in order to create content that is being received well and engaging the audience.

How did this experience impact you academically?

This experience pairs well with my Global and International studies degree to help me prepare for a future in my field.

Academically, this is making me more well rounded in my field. Advertising is going increasingly global and digital, so this experience pairs well with my Global and International studies degree to help me prepare for a future in my field.

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

For my future career, I am hoping to spend a few years working in Account or Project Management in an advertising agency before switching to the corporate/brand side of things. In this internship, I am getting experience in creating content and marketing and also learning all the important aspects of branding.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would recommend this experience to other students because it is a fun way to use social media in a professional way, and see how you have to adapt your strategy when you are a brand with a large audience. The team here is also great to work with.

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

Alec Harvat

Internship with Celtic Healthcare
Up one level
Alec Harvat

Major: Economics
Minor: Business
Hometown: Irwin, PA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I was fortunate to come across this opportunity through my network. The gentleman who set me up with this internship is a Penn State Alumnus who graduated with my sister. At the time, his department had never taken on an intern. After speaking with me, he posed the idea to upper management and luckily enough for me, I was approved for the internship.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

I never once did a coffee run ... I was treated as a full-time employee working within different departments.

Upon arriving for my first week, I wasn't sure what to expect. I thought it might be the usual intern coffee runs. I never once did a coffee run or anything a stereotypical intern might do. I was treated as a full-time employee working within different departments. I started out with the billing department, helping them with billing preparation and filing claims for unpaid invoices. Each of these things was exactly what the other employees in the department were doing. This was incredibly beneficial to me with it being hands-on and providing me experience. After a few more weeks there, I was receiving more responsibilities and tasks furthering the amount of information I got from this opportunity. By the end of my summer, I had plenty of responsibilities and was working within two different departments. I currently am working for them remotely, and will continue to throughout my last year at Penn State.

How did this experience impact you academically?

As for academic benefits that came with this internship, I found myself managing my time a lot better. I worked on several projects at once during my internship and that's fairly similar to school work with different classes. Along with this, it improved my overall professional communication. In particular, through emails, I keep what I learned at my internship in mind when I'm writing an email to my professor asking a question about homework. I even keep it in mind when I speak with them during office hours or after class. My internship at Celtic Healthcare has been a huge boost to my academic lifestyle.

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

Throughout college, I was never 100% sure on what I wanted to do post-graduation. The one thing I was certain of was that I wanted to find a job that was secure and one that had promise of being able to climb the "ladder". My family has some background working in the healthcare industry, but I never once considered it. Through this internship I found out that I could possibly see myself at least starting out in the industry. My time there showed me how the industry is continuing to grow. During my time there, the company underwent a merger. To me, mergers are a sign of that each company sees value in the other so they come together in a mutually beneficial relationship. Mergers are a much better sign about a company rather than the closing of several offices or downsizing in general. Seeing this showed me that this is a promising company and as they're growing there are more opportunities for myself and others to move up within the company and industry.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

Yes, I would recommend this experience to anyone in Liberal Arts, or anyone in general who has an interest in the healthcare industry. It was a very welcoming experience; each individual that works within Celtic is friendly and helpful. Then the internship as a whole was very beneficial to learning the processes within the healthcare industry and was by no means the stereotypical internship most people expect.

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

Sheena Chan

Internship with SHELF Cosmetics
Up one level
Sheena Chan

Major: Communication Arts and Sciences
Minor: Information Sciences and Technology for Telecommunication
Hometown: Hong Kong

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I was talking to my academic advisor to decide what classes I should have taken in Fall 2015. I was looking for a 400 level class for my major, so she suggested I can earn academic credits by doing an internship and Independent Studies.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

It gave me a lot of experience in new things as well, such as filming and editing a video, creating posts for different social media platforms, [and] planning activities to promote the app.

I am interning in SHELF Cosmetics as a Marketing Assistant. It is a mobile app company that helps women around the world answer all of their questions related to nail polish. I enjoyed interning with this company a lot. I had a lot of fun working individually and as a group. It gave me a lot of experience in new things as well, such as filming and editing a video, creating posts for different social media platform, planning activities to promote the app, and looking for people to download the app and do the interviews.

How did this experience impact you academically?

This experience has been strongly impacting me academically, because I am working and studying at the same time. I need to have good time management to spend time on studying for my classes and doing tasks every week for my internship. Even though the work load is not a lot, I still need to spend a certain amount of time every week to do the work. Other than that, I am using my knowledge that I learn from class to help myself finish the task faster. For example, I learned iMovie in an art class, and I use that knowledge to edit video instead of spending a lot of time watching the tutorial.

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

I believe being a Marketing Assistant in SHELF Cosmetics can help my career path in the future. My dream job is to work in a mobile app company or work related to social media, so it is exactly what I am doing now. However, getting a full time job is much more difficult than getting an internship, so I plan to do the best at my internship, and work hard on learning new things, marketing my skills, and improving my communication. When I have some working experience and am sure what I want to do, I would like to come back to college to finish a graduate program.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

Yes, I strong recommend this experience to other Liberal Art students, because the book that we are using can give me a lot of good advice to get used to a work place and know what I should expect when I first go to a new working experience. It is very useful, and save a lot time from discovering everything by yourself.

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

Logan Paiste

Internship with the LGBTQA Student Resource Center
Up one level
Logan Paiste

Major: CAMS; Jewish Studies; Chinese
Minor: Sexuality and Gender Studies; Greek
Hometown: Allentown, Pennsylvania

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I had been involved with the LGBTQA Student Resource Center for almost 2 years before I had applied for the position as the Community Outreach intern. To be honest, at first I did not believe that I was qualified for the position. I had imagined that the Center was looking for someone who was more outspoken and courageous than I. One of my friends, who was an intern at the Center, had encouraged me to apply anyway. She said that, with my social skills and enthusiasm, I would be an ideal candidate. Her words were very uplifting, and it turned out that I was hired for the position!

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

The internship has been very challenging and yet rewarding. During the first few weeks, I started to learn about the importance of persistence and communicating through whichever medium our target audience is most fond of using. For example, when I connect with the Centre LGBTQA Support Network, I will use email, whereas when I connect with the LGBTA Student Roundtable, I will use Facebook or text. This is because the former audience consists mostly of adults who are most easily reached by email, and the latter consists of undergraduate college students who are most easily reached by smartphone. I have realized that I need to adjust my messages accordingly in order to be the most effective at reaching out to the other LGBTQA organizations in State College.

Additionally, the internship has taught me about the importance of punctuality and delegation. The leadership of the LGBTQA Student Resource Center consists of a director, an assistant director, a programming coordinator, an office manager, a graduate assistant, and six undergraduate interns. Each of us has different roles, including the interns. The graphic design intern does not have the same responsibilities as the hospitality intern. If, for example, the graphic design intern does not create flyers during their office hours, then we cannot advertise our events to the public. Not only do we all need to be completing our tasks on time, but also we need to be arriving to work on time. By 11:00 am, our office begins to turn chaotic because students and community members come in and out of our office with all sorts of questions, comments, and concerns. It is crucial that we plan out our emails and other important tasks during the morning so that we are prepared during the afternoon. Because our supervisors are all delegating tasks to us, interns, throughout the week, we feel like we are contributing to the team and gain confidence as each week passes.

How did this experience impact you academically?

The internship is not an "easy task" by any means. I believe that this internship has showed me that I need to prioritize completing my homework during the weekends in order to stay on top of my work. After a full day of work, my brain is too exhausted to process any homework. I have realized that I need to treat my work seriously, and therefore I need to plan ahead. At the same time, I find my internship much more interesting than my classes - not to say that my classes are not at all interesting. Through the first two months in the internship, I realized that I am no longer going to focus on completing two of my four minors. Instead of taking summer classes to complete this work, I am going to pursue internships which will get me farther along in the work which I want to do.

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

Within two months at this internship, I have come to realize that my voice matters and that I am capable of being an advocate for the LGBTQA community.

My career goals and plans include LGBTQA advocacy and facilitating safe spaces for dialogue between LGBTQA people and other people. I am also very interested in international advocacy, including working in China and Israel. I would like to work in the United States for at least five years before moving abroad to continue my work. As the Community Outreach intern at the LGBTQA Student Resource Center, this experience has given me confidence and a strong foundation in this field of work. Before this internship, I did not feel entirely confident in applying for such a job. I felt that I "wasn't outspoken enough" or "wasn't good enough." Within two months at this internship, I have come to realize that my voice matters and that I am capable of being an advocate for the LGBTQA community.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would most certainly recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students - straight allies and LGBTQ+ alike. For an LGBTQ+ person, this internship will help to boost your confidence in working towards the needs of the LGBTQA community. You will gain insight into how to better utilize your skills and talents, while being supported and encouraged by the other students and staff members of the Center. For a straight ally, this internship will show you how to use your privilege effectively in order to communicate the needs of the LGBTQA community in spaces where LGBTQ+ voiced are not heard. I hope that you know that, even though you are straight, there is a lot of relevant work for you to do in this internship. I would encourage everyone who is passionate about LGBTQA affairs to apply for this internship.

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

Brandon Purnell

Internship with House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee & Congressman Bill Shuster
Up one level
Brandon Purnell

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

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I have lived in Pennsylvania's 9th Congressional District for my entire life. For most of my life, Congressman Bill Shuster has been my Representative in Congress. Many Congressional offices offer internships, and as a student interested in a career in public service, I was excited to apply to work with my Congressman in my nation's capital. I applied on Shuster's website for a summer internship during the spring semester, but most Representatives also offer positions during the fall and spring semesters.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

During my time with Congress, I prepared over 500 amendments for Congressmen [...], sorted and sent over 630 items of confidential mail, and fielded over 200 phone calls.

This internship was such an amazing, varied experience! I was elated to be working with quite a few Penn-Staters he employed with his professional staff, including a couple other interns. Congressman Shuster is the Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, so I was able to see firsthand the Committee as well as the Congressman's personal office. During my time with Congress, I prepared over 500 amendments for Congressmen during work with House Transportation & Infrastructure, sorted and sent over 630 items of confidential mail, and fielded over 200 phone calls. It was a busy time, but there's really nothing else like working in D.C.!

How did this experience impact you academically?

Working in Congress provided me with a first-hand context to many of the concepts I had covered in my courses. The House T&I Committee handles so many different things, from FEMA to airlines to pipelines to international trade. The context was broad enough that even a more internationally-focused political science student such as myself was able to appreciate the global reach of American transportation. We have the most planes, roadways, and rail in the world here in the United States and the world and its goods travel on them.

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

I've always been interested in a career in public service, and having been able to live and work in Washington D.C. has solidified this desire. It's a wonderful place to live and work, with so much to see and do and so much opportunity for young professionals.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

Yes! If you're a US citizen, you have a representative in Congress, and chances are they're looking for interns. If you want to see the United States government at work first hand, you can't get any closer than working in Congress. There's nothing like working in D.C., there's so much to see and do- even if you're a workaholic like I had been, there's so much to do within walking distance of the Capitol!

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

An Tran

Internship with UPCEA Centre for Research and Marketing Strategy
Up one level
An Tran

Major: Economics
Hometown: Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I asked a friend who works in consulting how I can gain work experience during the Fall, and he referred me to UPCEA. After emailing the director my resume, I got an interview and was accepted to their program.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

I had a great experience at UPCEA. I got to work on many projects for different clients, so I got to learn new things every day.

I got to work on many projects for different clients, so I got to learn new things every day.

How did this experience impact you academically?

The internship gave me a new perspective about the skills I need to develop to build a more solid background academically, so that they would give me a stronger profile for future employers.

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

I believe it is very important to find out my strengths and weaknesses before deciding my career path, and this internship was able to help me recognize them. My career goal is to be in consulting, which is a competitive field so the internship helped giving me an edge for work experience.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would, because like any other student, Liberal Arts students need work experience to further explore their career paths and develop technical skills. UPCEA provides interns that opportunity.

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

Crystal Yu

Internship with Hillary for America
Up one level
Crystal Yu

Major: Communication Arts & Sciences and Political Science
Hometown: Cupertino, California

How did you learn about this opportunity?

Schreyer Honors College sent an email about fellowships with the campaign through an email list-serv, which prompted me to apply.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

As a fellow, I was in charge of volunteers by training them on phone banking, canvassing, and registering voters. From the information received by the volunteers, I entered data into the Democratic National Committee software about these voters. I helped organize and work the events for Chelsea Clinton, Al Franken, Gloria Steinem, Josh Gaad, Matt McGorry, and Tim Kaine. During Get Out the Vote, I had a leadership role at the staging location. I was in charge of all the turfs and precincts within State College that needed to be canvassed to ensure those voters would show up to their polling locations on Election Day.

How did this experience impact you academically?

This experience impacted my academics by allowing me to apply in class theories and lessons to a professional workplace environment. For instance, in my political science classes, we focused on political grassroots movements and organizations, which was essentially what the office was comprised of; we were organizing the local democrats in Centre County to be active in politics, not only at the national presidential level but also for congressmen and state representatives. With lessons learned in class, we could utilize those best measures and practices in the State College area to yield the best possible results for the volunteers and us.

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

Beyond campaigns, this experience has allowed me to have a deeper understanding and recognition of the force of politics in everyday life.

I envision a career in government and politics for myself, as well as attending law school. Part of this career goal was to work on campaigns and help with senate and presidential races. Through this campaign, I was able to cement the idea that I could work for campaigns, be effective, and thoroughly enjoy the work. After this experience, I have decided post-graduation that I will start with the 2018 senate races, hopefully as an organizer. Beyond campaigns, this experience has allowed me to have a deeper understanding and recognition of the force of politics in everyday life, pushing me to chase after my dreams of a government that can better serve the people of this nation.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

Yes, especially for those who would like a hands-on experience in politics or anyone interested in a future in campaign work.

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

Madison Altmyer

Study Abroad at Maastricht University (Netherlands) - Public Health and Medicine Program
Up one level
Madison Altmyer

Major: Philosophy (Science and Mathematics) and Science (Biological Sciences and Health Professions Option)
Minor: Global Health
Hometown: New Castle

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I found out about this program by looking through different education abroad sites on Penn State’s Education Abroad website. After narrowing down to my top three choices, I made an appointment with the education abroad advisers to talk about the pros and cons of each of my choices, and figured out what would work best for my goals of studying abroad along with completing my majors.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

Simply put, I had an AMAZING experience! The program was with the Center for European Studies (CES), who were extremely helpful along every step of the way studying abroad and made my adjustment to the Netherlands easy and smooth. I stayed in a guest house with about fifty other students in CES throughout the United States, as well as hundreds of other international students from all over the world, which I thought was a very unique and valuable experience. Maastricht is a small, but quite beautiful city in the south of the Netherlands that was only about 2 miles away from Belgium. It is also quite central in Europe, so it was quite easy to travel on the weekends. During my time abroad, I visited 13 countries, all as beautiful as the next! I cannot say enough about how much I enjoyed my experience and about the friends and memories I made that will last a lifetime.

How did this experience impact you academically?

I am much more of a well-rounded student, having heard diverse viewpoints of representatives from all over the world.

The classes I took at Maastricht University were unique in that they were all discussion based classes rather than lecture. One thing that I really appreciated about the classes I took (European Public Health in a Globalizing World, Medical Ethics, Cultural Pluralism, Introduction to Ethics), is that they were extremely relevant to many modern issues, rather than being theory based. For example, my Medical Ethics class focused on cases involving cloning, genetic testing, and end of life care, which are issues that are on the forefront of scientific research today. I feel that after my education abroad experience I am much more of a well-rounded student, having heard diverse viewpoints of representatives from all over the world in these discussion based classes. I definitely challenged many of my own ideas and not only have a greater appreciation for the United States, but for the cultures I experienced as well.

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

After my undergraduate, I plan to attend medical school to focus on either geriatrics or family medicine and work for an organization such as Doctors Without Borders. I want to continue traveling while also using my medical degree to help those in need. It takes being independent, having an open mind, and letting go of any preconceived notions to function effectively in another culture, all of which I feel I have the ability to do after studying abroad. My classes taught me about many of the issues concerning health disparities around the world, which will also be beneficial to my future career goals.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

College may be the only opportunity to live in a new country and culture, while experiencing it with a diverse group of people and free of most responsibilities (besides school). It is truly an amazing experience! Maastricht is a wonderful city with a ton to offer, and its central location makes to easy to travel all throughout Europe. If you are even slightly considering studying abroad, anywhere in the world for that matter, don’t hesitate and go for it!

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

Lia Gavazzi

Master's Thesis Research for Reno Lab
Up one level
Lia Gavazzi

Major: Biological Anthropology, Italian
Hometown: Warriors Mark, PA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

This past fall I began my research for my master's thesis during my first year as an integrated undergraduate/graduate (IUG) student.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

I used the Liberal Arts enrichment funds for travel to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C. to personally examine some of the skeletal specimens within their collections. I spent three days in the museum collections looking at adult and juvenile remains from lorisine primates, sloths, anteaters, and spider monkeys - these are the main species I am focusing on for my research. I am looking to understand growth plate development and formation in primates and Xenarthrans, as they share several developmental similarities. The specimens I found most interesting and useful for my research will be shipped to Penn State and CT scanned for further analysis and evaluation.

How did this experience impact you academically?

My trip to the Smithsonian in D.C. is the first time that I have accessed the collections component of a museum. I was able to have hands-on experience with the specimens and make decisions about what to borrow. From this trip, I was able to request a number of specimens for loan and greatly increase the size of my sample for my project. After traveling to the Museum of Natural History in D.C. and experiencing the loan process I feel more confident in my project and in planning my trips to New York City, Cleveland, and Gainsville Florida for the rest of my sample.

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

After finishing my master's at Penn State, I would like to continue my education and eventually earn my Ph.D., becoming a professor of anthropology. This trip was my first major step towards that goal, as it was the first time I conducted research for an independent project. Going to Washington D.C. and experiencing the museum and subsequent research firsthand has solidified my commitment towards becoming an anthropologist and continuing such research into the future.

I would definitely recommend trying to experience components of your field outside of the classroom or laboratory.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would definitely recommend this experience to other students. While sitting in a museum looking at skeletal remains all day isn't everyone's idea of a fun time, getting to travel and personally research ideas in my field was phenomenal. I would definitely recommend trying to experience components of your field outside of the classroom or laboratory - going to D.C. definitely widened my perspective on how research is conducted and what I need to do to create a successful thesis.

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

Zachary M. Adams

U.S. Department of State
Up one level
Zachary M. Adams

Major: Political Science/International Affairs
Minor: Spanish, Global Security
Hometown: Frackville, Pennsylvania

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I learned about this experience through the U.S. Department of State's website and through their mobile application, as well as USA Jobs. The mobile app provides internship opportunity notifications for students.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

I performed a variety of administrative duties for the Foreign Service Institute, enhanced the communications and correspondence processes between the different schools at the Institute, performed intense database management and programming for diplomatic language services, completed diplomatic support/research services for the future Foreign Service Officers as well as foreign language support/translation services. I also assisted language instructors in Information Technology matters as well as in Distance Language Learning (DLL are the language learning processes for Ambassadors and Foreign Service Officers abroad).

How did this experience impact you academically?

This internship impacted me academically because I had to take the Fall 2016 semester off as the internship was a full-time, 10-week, unpaid commitment to the federal government. During this time I was able to take one 3-credit World Campus course with Penn State. I used many of the important international affairs concepts I learned at Penn State on a daily basis, as this internship required that I hone my communication skills to multiple supervisors in multiple languages, as the environment was linguistically eclectic.

"This internship has undoubtedly inspired me to work for the Foreign Service to represent our nation abroad."

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

My future career plans and life goals include working for the Foreign Service by utilizing my language and cultural abilities towards the furtherance of our nation’s interests and diplomacy abroad. This internship experience at the National Foreign Affairs Training Center (NFATC), Foreign Service Institute (FSI), while working firsthand with U.S. Ambassadors and Foreign Service Officers has undoubtedly inspired me to work for the Foreign Service to represent our nation abroad, as I am scheduled to take the Foreign Service Officer Test (FSOT) early this year. I also believe that my pursuit of my Master’s Degree in International Affairs with the Pennsylvania State University will only enhance my knowledge of modern diplomacy and assist me with this lifetime career aspiration.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

Yes, I would highly recommend this internship to Liberal Arts students. The experience provided me a first-hand experience of how our nation's Foreign Service Officers are trained in language, cultural, and international relations/government at the Foreign Service Institute. The experience also provided me the opportunity to visit multiple embassies in the greater Washington D.C. metropolitan area, meet foreign ambassadors, make important professional contacts at the State Department, as well as see the actual workings of the Foreign Service with the U.S. government.

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

The Paterno Fellows requirement of actually completing an internship assignment has motivated me personally to seek out intensive internships whenever the opportunity manifests, as I have previously interned at the Pennsylvania Bar Institute (for attorney continued legal education in the state of Pennsylvania) as well as for the Pennsylvania State Senate in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. I believe that the Paterno Fellows Program has inspired and motivated me to do the very best that I can do, not only for my own academic involvement, but also for the University's.

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

Farren Landes

IES Barcelona: Business and Liberal Art
Up one level
Farren Landes

Major: Psychology
Minor: N/A
Hometown: Ivyland, PA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I receive newsletters from the College of Liberal Arts and this opportunity was heavily promoted, so I looked into it and thought I was something I could really take advantage of. Studying abroad is very costly, so I wanted to apply to a number of scholarships to help with the expenses.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

My experience so far has been amazing. It’s been a month since I arrived and I am finally feeling like I am getting into the swing of things. It’s a tough adjustment, but you have to make the most of experiences like this one because they are a once in a lifetime opportunities. Classes are very different than those at Penn State. They’re 20-30 people at most and are very much discussion based to keep you engaged. In many of the classes, there are excursions during class to go to local sites that are linked to class material. I’ve already grown to love Barcelona and call it home. So far I have traveled to Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Rome, and Florence, and my experiences have all been amazing. It’s incredible to think that one month has already gone by and we have three to go, but I know they will go by just as fast as the first.

How did this experience impact you academically?

Academically, all of the classes I am taking have a European spin on the topics. I am taking Media and Politics in Europe, Crime, Disorder, Policing and Justice: Spanish and European Perspectives, and Organizational Behavior: Psychological Approaches in a European Perspective. To learn about these topics with a European Perspective has made my classes more interesting and academically it’s always beneficial  to look at things from perspectives other than my own. I have also enjoyed how classes are more discussion based and applying the topics covered to the real world and connecting it to our lives.

Being abroad makes you realize that there is so much more out there and so many things that are bigger than just you in the world.

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

After I complete my undergrad, I would like to go to graduate school and eventually get my Ph.D. in Psychology. My preferred discipline of psychology was always clinical, but taking an organizational psychology course here has opened my eyes to what a career in that field would be like, and it is something I'd like to pursue. I was unable to take a class on organizational psychology before I left to go abroad, so it is really nice to be able to take it here and really enjoy it. This experience has already brought a lot of clarity to me in terms of what I want to do and where I want to go in life.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would 100% recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students. You can take a lot of courses that pertain to Liberal Arts majors, and although academics are important, it's the experience of being here that is the most amazing thing. This is a once in a lifetime chance to study abroad and go places that you've dreamed of going. Being abroad makes you realize that there is so much more out there and so many things that are bigger than just you in the world.

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

Gabrielle Cilea

University for Foreigners, Perugia
Up one level
Gabrielle Cilea

Major: Journalism, Italian
Minor: Global and International Studies
Hometown: Marlboro, NJ

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I consulted my Schreyer academic adviser about what study abroad program would be best fit for me, and we ultimately determined that this was the best one.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

I am still studying in Perugia. Thus far, I have had an amazing time getting to know locals within the city and meeting students of all ages from around the world. I don't believe I will ever be exposed to such a diverse group of people for the rest of my life. These students are very invested in getting to know about American culture and make an effort to practice their English with me as well. Together, in class, we all have a common goal of trying to perfect our Italian. I have had such great help from my American counterpart, the Umbra Institute, in helping me discuss concerns about being abroad and adjusting to life here.

I don't believe I will ever be exposed to such a diverse group of people for the rest of my life.

How did this experience impact you academically?

This experience has made me learn in a different way than I have ever taken classes before. I have 5 hours of class everyday in 50 minute blocks, in the same room. The teachers rotate out and there is a 15 minute "pausa" after each 50 minute course. We do not follow a course syllabus. The teacher simply comes in and decides what she wants to teach that day. The flexibility in the schedules here is unlike anything I have experienced at an American university.

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

My decision to study the Italian language is rooted in my family background. After my grandpa passed away, there was no other relative in my family that spoke Italian well enough to communicate with those living in Italy. I decided to change my language studies to Italian to fill this gap. Now, as I look to law schools, the benefits of Italian language are evident as I can identify Latin phrases that have Italian similarities.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I think Perugia incorporates the experience of having a classic study abroad experience with flexibility to make it your own. The school's environment is focused on having the student understand the language and practice as much as possible. Activities in and out of the classroom provide opportunities to meet with locals and have a dialogue without the pressure of feeling judged by a teacher or other students. The benefits of living in a small town are endless. The freedom of living in an apartment with international students is priceless. The possibilities of places to visit from such a central location in Italy is limitless.

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

Paterno Fellows has expanded my resources for studying abroad. With the privilege to receive an enrichment fund, I can alleviate the high costs associated with living abroad and just focus on my studies here.

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

Malyke Partlow

Johnson & Johnson
Up one level
Malyke Partlow

Major: Criminology/Security & Risk Analysis
Minor: N/A
Hometown: Pittsburgh

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I found my experience through our career fairs at Penn State. I always had an interest in taking a semester off to get some experience. I spoke to recruiters and expressed my interest, which led to me getting the co-op with Johnson and Johnson (JNJ). I really believe students should seek out the opportunities because they are there! Most Penn State recruiters are alums and really want to help students- if you express that you would be open to doing a co-op, there may be an opportunity for one. I also saw the opportunity online through our college specific internship websites (Network Simplicity/IST Compass)and spoke about it with recruiters once I went to the career fair. 

"My experience with Johnson & Johnson was really great for my development."

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

My experience with JNJ was really great for my development. I had the opportunity to really gain some on the job skills relating to IT. I created multiple websites for internal/external collaboration, used project management software JIRA for assistance with online portals, and tested company applications. It really gave me the chance to work with people across the world, including in Belgium and Singapore! I also had the opportunity to participate in three community service events. It truly was a great experience for my 5 months with JNJ!

How did this experience impact you academically?

This experience definitely impacted me in great ways. It was very easy for me to come up to speed because much of the stuff I worked on, I learned in school. I was able to gain better HTML/CSS coding skills by creating websites and I was able to gain good project management skills by working with multiple teams. The opportunity really allowed me to apply what I learned in class on the job.

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

I someday hope to be a Chief Information Security Officer. My experience with JNJ allowed me to gain critical IT skills that are really helpful for me to start a career as an IT/Security professional. I really enjoyed gaining background in IT despite being an Information Security major. I really hope to leverage both my Criminology and Information Security degree to start a career potentially in the federal government working in an Information Security role. This experience gave me skills that support my passion which is why I enjoyed the co-op.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would recommend this to another student because of how important this experience can be for you. Gaining experience before you graduate is extremely important for your success after graduation. If you are ever able to take an opportunity like this I think you should. It was amazing! I was also given funding by the College of Liberal Arts to support my co-op as well. That shows me that the College of Liberal Arts is actively supporting their students and it truly did help!

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

Janine Mistrick

Montpellier Integrated Studies
Up one level
Janine Mistrick

Major: Biology, Applied French
Minor: Environmental Inquiry, International Studies
Hometown: State College

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I first learned about this program through an academic advising meeting about my involvement with the French department with Dr. Heather McCoy. My original plan was to minor in French, but Dr. McCoy informed me that I could study abroad to receive the additional credits I would need for a second major (in French) and that the integrated studies program in Montpellier would be a good fit for a science/language major like my own.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

I studied abroad in Montpellier, France for the fall 2016 semester. I was enrolled at Universite Paul-Valery in grammar, literature, and history courses and the Universite de Montpellier in an evolutionary ecology lab course. I lived with a host family that greatly added to my cultural experiences and language improvement. I was involved in intramural Frisbee at my university and worked out at a gym nearby. My favorite activity was ballroom dance lessons two nights a week at a dance school near my host mom's apartment. I traveled extensively around France during my free weekends, visiting Bordeaux, Marseille, Nice, Lyon, Grenoble, Strasbourg, Paris, Arles, Sete, and Avignon as well as Monte Carlo, Monaco.

How did this experience impact you academically?

I was able to complete the final 12 required courses for my French major through a French university. Three of the courses I took were taught by French professors to other American students but I was enrolled in two integrated courses: a history class on the crusades and a biology lecture/lab on evolutionary ecology. These courses in particular provided me with a rigorous academic experience that pushed me to improve my listening, reading, and writing in French and contributed to my growth as a French speaker.

"These courses in particular provided me with a rigorous academic experience that pushed me to improve my listening, reading, and writing in French and contributed to my growth as a French speaker."

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

I plan to attend graduate school to pursue a PhD in ecology (current focus is likely wildlife population dynamics, conservation, and wildlife diseases - though this is just what I'm thinking at the moment) with the end goal of working in field research related to the conservation and management of wild populations with special emphasis on climate change and the increased human influence on wild spaces and flora/fauna. My chance to take a biology class allowed me to interact with a professor from a different cultural background who is pursuing research on topics I find interesting. This could provide me with connections for the future as I look into graduate programs and future research opportunities. If nothing else, an experience abroad and studying science in another language sets me apart from my fellow applicants by showing my adaptability and competence in my field. Hopefully this will complement my academic performance and research/field experience in biology to show my promise as a graduate student.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

Yes, I would highly recommend the integrated studies program at Montpellier, especially to highly motivated and double-major students. The integrated studies program challenges students by placing them in courses with other French college students. This is not a program to be coddled by American-sympathetic professors who will translate instructions to English or accept minimal effort from students who would rather be partying than learning. There is much growth and learning to come from being expected to perform like a native speaker and it really pushed me to improve my language skills and perform at a high level.

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

Annaliese Thoet

U.S. Department of State (VSFS)
Up one level
Annaliese Thoet

Major: International Politics and History
Minor: German
Hometown: University Park

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I learned of this experience from my sister who works at USAID. The students from No Lost Generation at George Washington University presented to her. Afterwards I came in contact with the student leader of the No Lost Generation Student Initiative and he connected me to the Virtual Student Foreign Service (VSFS) internship with the State Department.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

My internship with the State Department has been amazing and opened up so many doors for me. As part of the internship, I created a chapter of No Lost Generation at Penn State. No Lost Generation is an initiative that supports the education and well-being of children refugees. Through the club and internship, I have gained immense knowledge on the refugee crisis and befriended students and faculty from all walks of life. I am also given the opportunity to network with 50 other universities who have chapters of No Lost Generation with this internship. Being a part of a student group tasked by the State Department to actually do something substantial and be able to help has been amazing.

"Being a part of a student group tasked by the State Department to actually do something substantial and be able to help has been amazing."

How did this experience impact you academically?

The internship is focused around the refugee crisis and when it originally began it was in direct response to the Syrian crisis. Since then the initiative has expanded to help children refugees worldwide. However, I soon came to realize there is so much to know about the Middle East. This internship pushed me to take a history course about the Middle East. Thus far, it has been extremely educational. I would never have taken this course and had the desire to learn more about this topic had it not been for No Lost Generation and the VSFS internship at the State Department.

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

I have two primary career goals. My first career goal is to work with the State Department or a nonprofit overseas and further No Lost Generation via a different avenue. I never want to stop helping kids who have had rough lives. These are the most innocent humans that need a helping hand and I believe I would be able to help them by working abroad with an organization or the government. My other career goal would be to work with the FBI and ensure our country remains secure and those that inhabit the United States of America are safe.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

Yes, I most definitely would. It has connected me with so many students at Penn State and other universities. The networking is amazing and it is truly an outstanding cause that students can play a large role in.

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

Paterno Fellows has always pushed me to do more with my time here at Penn State. Especially with starting No Lost Generation, Paterno Fellows has been quite supportive. Paterno Fellows allowed me to advertise the organization in their weekly newsletter, which was quite beneficial. The funding from Paterno Fellows has also allowed me to devote so much time to the internship and afforded me amazing opportunities through it. Without Paterno Fellows, No Lost Generation would not be as successful as it is today.

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

Yi Ting Chung

IES Paris - French Studies
Up one level
Yi Ting Chung

Major: Advertising and French
Minor: International Studies
Hometown: Taipei, Taiwan

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I first found out about this opportunity through discussions with my advisers in the French department. 

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

It was amazing! While there, I was able to go to most of the museums in Paris and see the masterpieces myself. One of my favorite things to do abroad was walk around Paris and sit at a cafe like a true Parisian. There was so much to see and so much to discover it's a shame that I couldn't stay longer. I was challenged in my classes and my French has definitely improved. Without having lived and studied abroad, I would never be able to say that I speak French.

"I picked up French after living in Paris for two months, and I can now express myself in French with ease."

How did this experience impact you academically?

As a major in French, I didn't really speak or understand spoken French before going abroad. It was very challenging at first, especially when speaking with my host mom. My reading and writing skills improved immensely since all of my classes were in French and I had to work hard because the grades count. I picked up French after living in Paris for two months, and I can now express myself in French with ease.

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

My career goals and plans include working in a global media or advertising agency that allows me to use my language skills in English, Chinese, and French. I am interested in how different cultures interact and communicate, and my study abroad experience taught me to always keep an open mind about different cultures and learn to adapt to different environments. In the future, I would love to work in Europe. By going abroad, I now have a better idea of the European lifestyle and a motivation to fulfill my career goals.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

Yes, absolutely! Studying abroad was one of the highlights of my college career. Immersing myself in the French culture while studying in Paris has improved my French skills to where I am comfortable speaking the language. 

To learn more about global opportunities for Liberal Arts students, visit our website

Andrew Hoy

The Normandy Group, LLC
Up one level
Andrew Hoy

Major: Political Science
Minor: Communications
Hometown: Stone Harbor, New Jersey
Chapel Executive Intern

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I learned about the Washington Program through the weekly newsletter that is sent out through the Career Enrichment Network. Once I attended an information session, applied, and had been accepted, I began working with Katie Sullivan to look for a position. Throughout the spring and summer, she and I worked on finding different positions in public policy through a number of different sources, including Network Symplicity. About halfway through the summer, she reached out to me with this position. I applied, got an interview, and eventually got the position. I accepted almost immediately because this firm was above all others the one I wanted to work with.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

The Normandy Group is a lobbying group for a number of different organizations across a number of different fields. These fields include corporations, airlines, higher-education institutions, municipalities, among many others. Their website has a much more detailed list of their practice areas and clients. One of my favorite parts of this internship is that because they represent such a wide variety of clients, I was able to network and gain insight into many of these different fields. I also covered hearings and performed research in these different fields. So while I would have gained a much more specified experience if I were to have worked a firm that represented pharmaceutical or defense interests, I was able to get a more expansive learning experience with the Normandy Group. As far as daily tasks, I have done whatever is needed of me to help the people I work with best advocate for our clients. This has included creating memoranda on hearings, finding grants through the federal government, attending meetings with congressmen or government officials, among many other tasks. Each day has presented a new problem and an opportunity for me to use what I already know to solve the problem. The partners and the rest of the Normandy Group team have prioritized making this an educational experience for me, and I couldn’t be happier with where I have ended up.

"A position in public policy has given me insight into politics, networking opportunities across a number of fields, and experience that can be easily transferable to whatever career I choose."

How did this experience impact you academically?

Every day that I am in the office, I am given the opportunity to apply what I have learned at Penn State to whatever crosses my desk. Whether it is a lesson in writing, researching, or problem solving, what I have learned in my classes is constantly being reinforced here. In my opinion, one the biggest assets I have to give to any group I am involved with is the ability to handle anything that is thrown at me. Academically, I have viewed every day as an opportunity to use what I have learned while simultaneously building upon that foundation established at Penn State. My plan for after graduation has always been to get my law degree. After this internship, I am still determined to one day achieve that. This experience has only motivated me more so to do that. Regardless of whether or not I end up in lobbying, the lawyers I have met during my time here have testified to the value of a law degree and the opportunities it opens up. So this upcoming fall, I plan on applying to law schools and attending the following year.

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

Like I mentioned above, one of the reasons I chose the Normandy Group to intern with was that their clients came from a variety of fields. So while I have been determined to get a law degree, the type of law I’d like to practice and the issues I’d like to be involved with haven’t been as clear. This internship has given me experience in a number of areas, from international NGOs to corporate business to municipalities and more. So while I still haven’t made a decision on what area of law to enter, I’ve gained a perspective and experience that will help me make that decision when the time comes.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would recommend this experience to any student. A position in public policy has given me insight into politics, networking opportunities across a number of fields, and experience that can be easily transferable to whatever career I choose. After my time with the Normandy Group, I have emerged a more qualified and confident candidate for any position I pursue.

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

Jonathan Hayes

IES Santiago study abroad program (including an internship with Livinn Santiago
Up one level
Jonathan Hayes

Major: Economics (BS) and Spanish (BS)
Hometown: York, PA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I researched study abroad opportunities on the PSU global office website. I knew I wanted to go to a Spanish-speaking country to practice my Spanish, and quickly learned that studying in Central or South America would be cheaper than studying in Spain. I discussed my options with the study abroad advisers (in person) and also attended the study abroad fair to learn more about the IES programs in Chile and Argentina. I chatted with former students that went to Argentina and Chile to study abroad, and ultimately based my decision on their experiences and recommendations, the program description on IES's website and my personal interests (nature, learning a specific Spanish dialect, etc.).

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

I studied abroad in Santiago, Chile, from July-August 2016. There were 19 students who studied through the IES program during the semester, and a number took classes at the local Catholic university (a highly ranked and well-renowned university). I took five classes at the IES abroad center, including courses in Spanish grammar, trade theory, human rights and native cultures, and an internship seminar class. I was also an operations and marketing intern at an international real estate company, Livinn Santiago, during my time in Chile. I worked there about 10 hours a week and had coworkers from Chile, Argentina, Colombia, Puerto Rico and the US. I lived with a home stay family and commuted to the IES center and work via bus and metro (30-45 minutes each way). I frequently traveled throughout the country, including to the Atacama Desert in the North, to Chiloé in the south and to Pichilemu for 3 weeks at the end of the semester. I also had the privilege of going to an event at the U.S. Embassy in Santiago during the U.S. presidential election. Finally, I befriended many Chileans and other foreigners through an exchange student program at the local university, my travels across the country and my attendance at a local church in the city.

How did this experience impact you academically?

This experience opened my eyes to a different culture and way of looking at the world, from that of a global perspective. Academically, the courses were reading-intensive and challenging, but as the semester progressed and my Spanish skills improved, the classes became easier. Learning about Chile’s culture, Latin America's politics, and the development and treatment of native cultures was quite fascinating. My classes gave me an opportunity to learn about topics I would never have learned about otherwise in a class setting, and the numerous field trips we went on helped to reinforce the curriculum and learning. Most of my classes had 4 or 5 students in them, which increased my confidence and made the learning experience a lot more interactive. Thus, I feel that my experience in Chile truly taught me how to learn—in the sense that it taught me the importance of interaction and active learning in the classroom.

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

I desire to be an economic analyst or a consultant for an international company upon graduation from Penn State. My internship abroad showed me the challenges of working in a multicultural environment and communicating with coworkers across the globe, but only solidified my interest in traveling for a job in the future. I learned about proper communication, various Spanish dialects and efficient business strategies for international firms. I increased my confidence and communication skills from my time in Chile, which will only help me find a job in the future. My experience also confirmed I want to speak Spanish as part of whatever career I pursue. Thus, my study abroad experience clarified my career interests and goals while bettering me as a person.

"My study abroad experience clarified my career interests and goals while bettering me as a person."

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students because it guarantees personal growth, improves Spanish-communication abilities, increases confidence and gives a global perspective on life. Chile was an awesome place to study abroad because the Chilean dialect is incredibly unique and challenging to understand, and forces one to have a good grasp on the Spanish language. The courses are rigorous but quite doable, and the mountains and nature in Chile is truly awe-inspiring! I hiked, mountain biked and surfed in various parts of Chile and truly had a blast. The experience with host families is memorable and the food is delicious! Santiago's also a very safe city in general. Overall, it was a great experience that I highly recommend.

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

Janel Lee

The Center for the Performing Arts
Up one level
Janel Lee

Major: English
Hometown: Monaca, PA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

A teacher of mine invited me to a dinner to meet a poet visiting Penn State for readings and class visits. At the dinner were a few other English majors, my teacher, the poet, and a woman in the English department that helps English majors acquire internships (Elizabeth Jenkins). Because the dinner was small and intimate, the attention passed to each student. When it came my turn, and I admitted I didn't know what I wanted to do, nor had any internships lined up, Elizabeth Jenkins volunteered to help me find an internship. So we set up a time to meet, spoke about my interests, and found an opportunity I might be interested in. I applied and acquired the internship this way.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

I helped Medora Ebersole and Melissa Croushorn create Google Documents and various other paperwork. I attended and helped ArtOut on Mondays from 4pm-5pm where I was able to participate in the activities Melissa had. Some ArtOut sessions I enjoyed were beginners' swing dance, an instrument petting zoo where I tried out a violin and a saxophone, a writer's workshop where I had the privilege of interacting with experienced playwrights and theatre people, and an open mic time where I met and spoke with an Asian American with an interesting story. I also attended Sphinx Virtuosi's Welcome Dinner where President Barron spoke and introduced the "All In" initiative for the first time, and there, listened to Essence of Joy perform and have a sample of Sphinx Virtuosi’s performance for that coming week.

How did this experience impact you academically?

This experience impacted me academically through developing my interpersonal skills. Since I participated in events where I had to interact with many strangers, I learned how to show warmth, friendliness, and other welcoming habits on my feet. This helped me academically through improvising in the moment with confidence. I was also encouraged outside of my comfort zone through participating in Melissa Croushorn’s ArtOut activities. Through this, I learned more about writing, instruments, and other art forms, which gave me new curiosity towards different areas of art I hadn’t considered before. These ArtOut times also helped me de-stress, which improved my work ethic and motivation.

"This helped me academically through improvising in the moment with confidence."

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

I do not have a set career goal or plan though I have multiple avenues that I feel I can work in in the future. I’m interested in Christian ministry, writing stories and poetry, drawing and painting, and farming. This internship touched on my interactive skills, showing me how I act around strangers and those I am meant to welcome. I learned my need to grow in confidence, especially when interacting with peoples I don’t know, and that there is always a level of awkward that a person must accept in social interactions. This is something I will know and have with me for the rest of my life.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students if they were interested in behind-the-scenes activity for a theater and performing arts center. If they enjoy organizational activities and appreciate interacting with coordinators and artists, this is a good internship for them.

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

Matthew Kenealy

AccuWeather
Up one level
Matthew Kenealy

Major: Economics
Minor: Labor and Employment Relations and Business for the Liberal Arts
Hometown: State College, PA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

A friend of mine worked for AccuWeather and thought I would be a good fit for the position, so he recommended it to me. 

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

I worked in the Marketing department doing both marketing analytics and communications. Part of my job involved going through a lot of data from survey responses and pulling out actionable insights. Another part involved marketing the brand both internally and externally through different forms of communication.

How did this experience impact you academically?

This internship allowed me to both learn new skills and use the skills I have learned in my classes at Penn State in a real world setting. I was given the opportunity to learn more about survey generation and analytics. It was great to feel involved in an important position with a prominent global company.

"It was great to feel involved in an important position with a prominent global company."

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

My immediate goals are to procure a job in the analytics field and start a career. I am looking for positions all over the country and focused on opportunities with advancement opportunities. I hope to start my career in analytics in the financial industry.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would absolutely recommend this experience. Not only did it provide me with greater insight into the working world, but it was extremely fulfilling to see data that I had analyzed and prepared used to make decisions about advertising and marketing on different platforms for a major company.

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

Evan Clark

State College Police Department
Up one level
Evan Clark

Major: Criminology
Minor: Sociology
Hometown: Houston, TX

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I was looking for potential internships that I could apply for. I ended up searching on a local government department-by-department basis based on ones that I was familiar with. I was then lucky enough to find this opportunity.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

This internship has so far been a great experience. I have been able to go out with officers on patrol to respond to and mitigate crime, but I have also been able to go through various training such as inservice, Tactical Response Team (TRT) training, and have even worked with the detective section to analyze cell phone data.

How did this experience impact you academically?

While I have garnered a lot of good information in the classroom throughout my college experience, this internship has really helped me to see a lot of this information first-hand. Everything from someone being arrested all the way to going to court.

"While I have garnered a lot of good information in the classroom throughout my college experience, this internship has really helped me to see a lot of this information first-hand."

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

I plan on going into law enforcement and perhaps one day the FBI or Secret Service. My ultimate goal is to help people whether it's a homeless veteran struggling with PTSD or someone who just got robbed. So this internship has shown me how some officers truly go out of their way to help people, even if it is just stopping and talking to a homeless person for a few minutes. I have also learned how to handle situations from minor citations to more serious crimes such as fights.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I highly recommend this program to other students. The State College Police Department is a very professional organization and a lot of their officers are very willing to help you by offering you advice. You are also exposed to a variety of police work including TRT, criminal investigations, patrol, records, and firearms training.

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

Hanna Lacy

Street Food Cinema
Up one level
Hanna Lacy

Major: Organizational Leadership
Minor: None
Hometown: Tustin, CA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I started by googling party planning companies focused on parties in the entertainment industry. Through my research, I found Street Food Cinema (SFC) that produces large outside movie screening events all over Los Angeles. I contacted the company, had an interview, and was hired.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

Working at SFC was a great experience, learning about event planning and creating a small business. During my time at SFC, I did secretary work like making spreadsheets, answering the phones, and doing research, but listening to everyone was when the real learning happened. I learned about permits and having the proper paperwork, the rules you have to follow at each park, I learned how to deal with others and solve problems, and how much goes into creating an event that lasts a few hours. All the skills I learned while at SFC will help me in my future career.

"With the leadership classes I was taking at the time, the internship helped me incorporate the skills we were learning in class into the real world."

How did this experience impact you academically?

Academically, I had to be better at time management. Because the internship took up two full days a week and I was taking a full course load, I had to manage my time wisely to be able to put my full effort into each class. During the internship, I learned how to organize my time better, which has helped me to better manage my time this semester as well. Also, with the leadership classes I was taking at the time, the internship helped me incorporate the skills we were learning in class into the real world.

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

My career goals are to be a film producer. I want to plan and prepare a project for filming, still be able to go on set, and see it through until it's distribution. This internship helped me to learn more about the permit process, the process you must go through to be able to use a location, the process of hiring individuals, and how to stay organized when there is a lot going on. Research was also a big part of my role at SFC, researching items to use at events, locations, and other things. These research skills will help to be a more effective and efficient producer.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would recommend this experience to another Liberal Arts student if they like the hubbub of Los Angeles and event planning. SFC is not your normal office space, but it is a great company to learn at. I always will recommend interning to fellow students. You learn so much and the experience looks great on a resume.

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

Annabelle Schmitt

The Tab, CollegeFashionista
Up one level
Annabelle Schmitt

Major: Chinese, PR/Advertising
Minor: Political Science
Hometown: Kennett Square, PA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I learned about this opportunity while searching for internships online. I wrote for the Tab for a semester after hearing about them from a friend and learned about their internship program after that semester. I discovered CollegeFashionista while searching for internships online.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

My internships improved my writing in a variety of ways. I learned how to properly interview others over Skype, through email, and in person. I learned about fashion journalism and blogging, and how to write posts that go deeper than just "telling" who someone is and what an outfit looks like. CollegeFashionista has also allowed me to build my Instagram and social media presence, which is a skill necessary for public relations majors. Typical college courses cannot teach these skills, so this was extremely valuable. I even received feedback on my Instagram to learn how I can improve my personal brand. With the Tab, I worked closely with an editor to develop my own story ideas and pick up breaking news stories. I learned to cover events and write hard-hitting opinion editorials. I particularly enjoyed the chance to attend political events such as the #NotMyPresident protest and Tim Kaine's event. I was able to reflect on such experiences as I wrote about them, deepening my own appreciation for politics.

"After participating in these internships, I discovered a passion for writing and fashion I did not have before."

How did this experience impact you academically?

My internships allowed me to explore areas of interest outside my classes at Penn State. After participating in these internships, I discovered a passion for writing and fashion I did not have before. I even took on a second major, the public relations advertising option, as a result of realizing my talent and passion for writing, photography, social media, etc.

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

It's been hard trying to find internships that combine my interests, but when looking into internships for the summer, I came across one with Asian Americans Advancing Justice. The position was for a PR intern, and I knew it was the right internship for me. I have applied already, and I can thank my internship experiences this past semester for giving me the experience I need to be a qualified candidate for the position. Although I am not yet sure about what I want to do when I graduate, even the act of applying for that internship showed me that a job similar to that one would suit my interests perfectly. My internship experiences have certainly guided me closer and closer to the path I'm meant to be on.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

Not every Liberal Arts student will find this experience to be the perfect fit. However, I believe that for those interested in writing, these internships are more than worth it. They serve as a great first internship, and if you continue with them, more opportunities for different internships open up, such as my onsite internship with The Tab. Those interested in politics may also find The Tab useful, as one can cover different political events or write for Subplot, The Tab's vertical for political coverage.

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

I became an official Paterno Fellow this semester and was thus able to apply for further funding for my onsite internship with the Tab. When I originally applied and was accepted, I was concerned about paying for housing, as The Tab doesn't provide any. Through Liberal Arts enrichment funds and the Paterno Fellows program, I was able to receive enough funding to cover all of my expenses.

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

Shou En

Strawberry Fields Inc.
Up one level
Shou En

Major: Psychology
Hometown: Taipei, Taiwan

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I learned about this enrichment experience through a friend I knew from the Community Help Centre. She used to work with Strawberry Fields Inc. and introduced me to this great opportunity after she knew I was looking for more hands-on experience.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

I started working as a Psychiatric Direct Support Specialist in December, 2016. One of my favorite things about this job is that it relates to what I want to be doing in the future. The mission of Strawberry Fields Inc. is to empower individuals with physical and mental disabilities through assisting them in their daily life. Unlike the patients who live in a psychiatric hospital, the clients live in their homes and have their own schedule tailored based on their ability. As a Psychiatric Direct Support Specialist, we provide emotional support and assist daily living of people with mental illness. A Psychiatric Direct Support Specialist needs to bring the clients to medical appointments or daytime programs, give them medication, assist them with cooking and exercising, and other daily tasks. Sometimes staff would go to a restaurant with the clients, and it is always nice to see the clients smile.

"Through working with people with mental illness in real life, questions on the subject I had never thought of were elicited."

How did this experience impact you academically?

This experience impacted my academics by allowing me to apply the theories I learn from my abnormal psychology course and observe the daily life of people with mental illness, which is rarely mentioned in the textbook. I was able to observe the symptoms of dementia and schizophrenia and expand that knowledge into real life situations. Through working with people with mental illness in real life, questions on the subject I had never thought of were elicited. On the other hand, it makes me realize that I truly love to interact with people. As a result, I decided that I want to be a practitioner instead of being a professor who only teaches and does research.

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

I am planning to get a PhD degree in clinical psychology and become a licensed clinical psychologist. I envision one day that I will be able to open my own practice which provides relatively affordable mental health care to the minorities and underprivileged. Through working as a Psychiatric Direct Support Specialist, I learned to communicate and encourage people with mental illness. Through engaging in their daily life, I learned some of the struggles and challenges people with mental health illness face. Working as a Psychiatric Direct Support Specialist also prepared me to work in a mental health hospital in the future.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would recommend this experience for students who want hands-on experience who want to pursue career in human services or mental health. This experience would give you the skills to work with people who have mental illness or physical disability. I would also recommend this experience to people who are going to need good communication skills.

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

Jeffrey Cheng

College Township Internship
Up one level
Jeffrey Cheng

Major: Economics, Communication Arts & Sciences
Hometown: Philadelphia, PA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I knew that I wanted to work in government related organizations, so I started by emailing local governments around State College to see if there were any opportunities available. I emailed human resources departments at each of the local townships located in the State College area (Patton Township, Harris Township, State College Borough, and College Township) and I was fortunate to receive this opportunity.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

I am performing research relative to the community. I am working on improving governmental community outreach and a creation of a new community profile. My learning objectives are understanding how to collect and analyze “big data”, how to expose community awareness through local government, and what government does to interact with their community. Most of my experience is done independently. I am given a project and I provide periodic updates to my supervisor.

"This internship has also taught me the importance of effective communication and self-discipline."

How did this experience impact you academically?

This experience forced me to be better with time management and be a more goal oriented person. Between the internship, classes, and extra curricular-activities, I am jam packed during the school week. This internship has also taught me the importance of effective communication and self-discipline. I must effectively and efficiently communicate with my supervisor to show my professional demeanor. Due to the freedom of this internship, and because it is long-term project based, I must have the self-discipline and priority to get assignments done accordingly. It has pushed me to maximize my daily productivity.

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

Upon graduation, I plan to work in the public sector. My goal is to work in either local, state, or federal government. I would like to help and give back to this country and what it has provided for me. This experience impacted me greatly. There is so much information available to the public, but it is unknown to them. I would like to expose and give access to citizens to help them be better informed about their government. I would like to get rid of the negative stigma attached to government.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would definitely recommend this internship experience to other students. This is a great way to get involved with your local government to see how things are functioning. Also, this is a great way to learn about the local community and their views on things. We need to provide greater accessibility for citizens and their government. The networking opportunities are priceless.

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

Marlana Bosley

Penn State Education Abroad Office
Up one level
Marlana Bosley

Major: International Politics and Mandarin Chinese
Hometown: Harrisburg

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I learned about the enrichment funds opportunity through an email from the College of the Liberal Arts making me aware of funding opportunities.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

I had an amazing time during my internship. Although it was a substantial time commitment on my part, I honestly believe it not only helped me find a job (which I'm glad to report I was able to use some of my experiences from this internship in my interview), but also made me a more confident and thoughtful person. I highly recommend finding an internship to participate in if you are able to.

"If you are able to incorporate things you're doing in your internship into your class work and vice versa, it is very enriching."

How did this experience impact you academically?

Although my internship did take away some of my free time, I don't think it impacted my academics negatively. I believe that stretching yourself out helps you build better time management skills, which is a crucial skill. Additionally, if you are able to incorporate things you're doing in your internship into your class work and vice versa, it is very enriching.

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

My internship helped me better understand what tasks I do enjoy working on and which ones I don't. That way, when I was job searching, I already had an idea of what I wanted to do. I think internships really help you prepare for a job. I just accepted an offer for a job working in business, and I think my communications internship really prepped me for my interview.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I definitely would. I think everyone would benefit from some kind of internship, and you should use the resources here to find one, either during a semester or summer.

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

Stephen Elliott

United States House of Representatives
Up one level
Stephen Elliott

Major: Political Science
Hometown: Pittsburgh

How did you learn about this opportunity?

My advisors suggested that an internship in Congress would be ideal for my future goals. I applied for this internship through the member of Congress's website

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

This internship experience is ideal for any student studying Political Science. Upon conclusion of my experience, my primary takeaway was being able to better understand how Congress works on a day-to-day basis. This includes walking the Capitol subway day after day on the same path our representatives take, seeing the role of each staff member, and hearing from constituents on each issue.

How did this experience impact you academically?

This experience had a positive experience on me academically. The simplest way to describe it would be that it’s great to have a vision of where your degree can take you. Having seen the light at the end of the tunnel, I understand what coursework would best be able to help me. In addition, all of the course-work I do take has enhanced meaning. Whenever you study an institution and organization that you have been part of, it makes things easier to understand.

"This experience showed me just how much Congress meets with various organizations and business to coordinate legislation."

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

My career goals include either working in Congress or in government relations for a company. This experience showed me just how much Congress meets with various organizations and business to coordinate legislation. It has given me a greater respect and understanding of what it means to be a lobbyist. Without this experience, I still would not understand the various roles that each member of staff has. Now that I do, it’s more straightforward for me to know how to get from point A to point B.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would definitely recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students. Whether you would like to work for a member of Congress one day or not, it will give you a huge understanding of how our government functions.

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

Jamie Mason

USA Marketing
Up one level
Jamie Mason

Major: Communication Arts and Sciences
Minor: Business
Hometown: Newtown, PA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I came across this internship opportunity on an ad in the "Toilet Paper" in the HUB (which is just the HUB's version of Stall Stories). Ironically, one of my duties within my internship is to create the Toilet Paper every week.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

My experience has been a lot of fun and extremely beneficial. Everyday I work with students from Recognized Student Organizations in helping them promote their club or event. After a Recognized Student Organization finalized how they wish to market their event, I would further guide them in the process of putting this plan into action. I ran the digital marketing on the HUB televisions and kiosks, so I would determine how long to run each organization’s ad for. I created posters and banners for the organization to hang around campus. I created weekly versions of the Toilet Paper and tickets for campus events. All in all, I had an amazing experience interacting with all of the university’s organizations in assisting with their marketing needs.

How did this experience impact you academically?

The main way in which this experience impacted me academically was by enhancing my time management skills. Knowing that I had to work at least ten hours every week, while still understanding that my class work was a main priority was a lot tougher than I imagined. However once I settled into the semester and created a schedule, I would set aside work time from school work time. Aside from enhancing my time management skills, I would also say that this internship helped me become more of a leader within the classroom. Being a leader to my peers in the marketing world through this internship gave me the confidence in leading my group projects in class.

"This internship helped me become more of a leader within the classroom."

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

I’ve always had an interest in the marketing world, so I thought this internship would be the perfect segue into the post-graduation world. Ultimately, I would like to end up in the marketing department of a successful company and work my way up the ladder within the company. My passion for marketing is so strong because many companies rely on marketing in order to be successful. I believe I can take the marketing strategies I learned from this internship into my future career. The customer service skills I learned within this internship will also help me in my future career. I learned quickly within this internship that customer service is extremely important in order for a company to do well.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would definitely recommend this internship to other Liberal Arts students! This opportunity gave me more professional experience that will only help within the workplace after graduation. My supervisor was an amazing leader, but she also allowed me to challenge myself and figure things out on my own. She was extremely understanding in that I was still a full time student, so she was flexible about my work schedule which was a huge help. At first I was nervous to intern while still being a full time student, but I’m grateful that this opportunity presented itself to me. Everyday I could see how I personally impacted USA Marketing, and it was rewarding to know that I helped so many students in marketing events for the club they are so passionate about.

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

Anthony Stem

The Bellefonte District Office of Congressman Glenn Thompson
Up one level
Anthony Stem

Major: Political Science
Minor: Music/LER
Hometown: New Freedom, PA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I spoke on the phone over the summer with a former Congressional Staffer who now works in government affairs. During our conversation, the staffer recommend that I pursue a local internship at the district office of a state or federal legislator. Subsequently, I contacted the Bellefonte Office of Congressman Thompson and ultimately earned an internship for the Spring 2017 Semester.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

I view my internship as an opportunity to serve the people of Pennsylvania’s 5th Congressional District while gaining new insights into the operations of our federal government. Each day, I spend time taking calls from constituents, entering information into the House of Representative’s digital database, assisting other members of the office with casework, and sitting in on meetings between Congressman Thompson (or his staffers) and members of the community. While I have always known that congressional district offices play an important role in constituent-government relations, I was impressed to observe the incredible range of activities performed by the Bellefonte staffers. As one can imagine, interning in a congressional office directly after a national election has been an intriguing experience. Our office has received a record amount of constituent correspondence, greatly increasing each staffers workload. As a result, I have been forced to improve my overall work efficiency to keep up with demand, a refined skill that will certainly prove beneficial in numerous ways looking forward.

"Interning at a Congressional District Office is a fantastic way to improve one’s sociability, ability to work efficiently, and adaptability in a professional setting."

How did this experience impact you academically?

As a Political Science major, I spend quite a bit of time studying the history and operations of the Legislative Branch. Being part of the Bellefonte District office has provided me with a new perspective into the operations of Congress and deepened my desire to further understand the legislative process and federal government as a whole. As a Schreyer Honors Scholar, I set out at the beginning of the semester to write a research paper pertaining to Constitutional Law. After learning that I was participating in a congressional internship, my professor suggested that I choose a topic pertaining to the Legislative Branch. As a result, I am now researching how decisions made by the Supreme Court have shaped the investigative ability of the United States Congress.

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

By participating in this internship, I have expanded my personal network and developed working relations with staffers in three of Congressman Thompson’s offices. Hopefully, these connections will be beneficial as I transition into the professional world. My current experience has inspired me to apply for further government related internships for the summer, some of which are based out of Harrisburg and some of which take place in Washington. Hopefully, a summer experience will help me further understand the career paths at my disposal. Additionally, I have an interest in the realm of law and may decide to apply for law school.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would highly recommend this experience for any student interested in learning about the day-to-day operations of the federal government. Interning at a Congressional District Office is a fantastic way to improve one’s sociability, ability to work efficiently, and adaptability in a professional setting.

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

Kirsten Reilly

ART 297: Sydney, Winter 2016-2017
Up one level
Kirsten Reilly

Major: Economics, Advertising
Hometown: Erie, PA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I first learned about this enrichment experience from a listserv email. The email contained information regarding the information session and the application process. I was then able to apply and eventually be accepted into the program.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

Visiting Sydney, Australia was one of the most enriching experiences of my entire life. Throughout our coursework, we explored different forms of art: music, theatre, and street art. We visited numerous museums, met with locals that were incredibly passionate about their city, and took in the sites as genuine explorers. Because this course was centered around having a true Australian experience, we spent time in the surrounding neighborhoods to fully grasp the culture. We also met with numerous indigenous representatives to garner a deeper understanding of the country’s history of colonization. My experience opened my eyes to a part of the world so different than my own, and I could not be more thankful.

"My experience opened my eyes to a part of the world so different than my own, and I could not be more thankful."

How did this experience impact you academically?

I am a huge believer in the idea that sometimes the best learning experiences come from outside of the classroom, and this study abroad experience proved that to be completely true. Academically, I was able to prepare myself for travel with our coursework of articles that put our trip in a historical context. I was able to read about the significance of the places we would be visiting and the people we would be meeting in order to open my mind to this experience. This proved to be incredibly beneficial to my travels because it gave me a supportive base to my out-of-the-classroom learning. I was able to better process the objectives of the course abroad because of my academic work beforehand, and this proved to help me synthesize ideas and concepts more effectively when completing the rest of the course work.

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

As a student double-majoring in Economics and Advertising, I hope to enter the Business Communications field and work in the areas of branding and social data analytics. I am fascinated by consumer behavior and how audience attitudes affect the daily decisions of corporate executives, especially cross-culturally. I hope to one day work for a global company and be able to research, analyze, and compare their profit markets in different countries to aid in the successful development of the country. This program allowed me to see another side of the world, one with a culture different than my own, which helped me garner a more global perspective in my studies. Being that I want to travel and work around the world, experiencing as many countries, cultures, and groups of people is imperative to my success.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would highly recommend this experience to Liberal Arts students because it is the perfect blend of course work and out-of-the-classroom learning experiences. I was able to experience an entirely new part of the world both academically and socially, which has proven to leave a lasting impact on my life and perspective of the future.

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

Without the Paterno Fellows Program, I would not be able to explore the world and adapt my coursework to real-life experiences. As stated above, I am a firm believer in learning outside of the classroom; without the academic and financial support of the Paterno Fellows Program, I would not have been able to obtain such an experience. Without my scholarship, it would not have been feasible for my family to allow me to participate in this study abroad program; because of Paterno Fellows, I have been able to take on the world and develop my global perspective, something that will allow me to be a successful communications professional in the future.

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

Annaliese Thoet

Embedded Course - History of the Holocaust
Up one level
Annaliese Thoet

Major: International Politics and History
Minor: German
Hometown: Denver, Colorado

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I learned about this enrichment experience through History 426. It was an embedded course and my professor emailed all course participants about the opportunity to go to Poland over Spring Break.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

My History of the Holocaust class traveled together to Poland over Spring Break. We started in Warsaw and visited a Jewish cemetery that stayed intact during the war despite being on the edge of the Warsaw Ghetto. Then we traveled to Oswiecim, a small town in Poland that the Nazis had renamed Auschwitz during the war. We toured around the town and then spent two days at Auschwitz 1 & 2. The last part of our trip ended in Krakow. While in Krakow we visited the Ghettos in place there during the war. We also had dinner at a Jewish Community Center, which is special because there is not a large Jewish population left in Poland.

How did this experience impact you academically?

My concentration in History is modern European History and this course, History of the Holocaust, fit in perfectly with it. I have always studied World War II and the Holocaust, but all I had known was from books, memoirs and professors. The ability to see it firsthand completely changed my perspective on it all. I do not think I truly realized the extent of the cruelty that was done until seeing the sites in person and imagining it 70 years ago. This trip to Poland makes me want to pursue the studies of World War II and modern European History only more. It was truly an eye opening experience and incredible to see the impact it had on Poland, a country that is rarely talked about.

"I do not think I truly realized the extent of the cruelty that was done until seeing the sites in person and imagining it 70 years ago."

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

My career goal is to work for the CIA or FBI, so the History of the Holocaust is not so important to those job fields. However, we must learn from our history in order to properly prepare for our future. This experience did not impact my career goals, however it will have an impact on my senior thesis. Each time I learn something new or experience a new culture, I narrow down on my thesis topic a bit more. It is fascinating and heart wrenching to see Poland change over from being controlled by the Germans to directly becoming communists thanks to the Soviet Union. Poland had no chance to heal after World War II because it immediately became a communist state. I think this would be an interesting idea to explore in my thesis.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

This trip to Poland is a unique experience because when else will you travel to Poland with a knowledgeable professor and visit the sites of the Holocaust and be able to learn so much. Going to Auschwitz is by no means a fun experience, but 10 years looking back on it, I will be thankful that I had the opportunity to experience what I study first hand.

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

I would not have taken History 426 if it had not been for the Paterno Fellows Program. I needed to begin taking 400 level history courses for my Thesis and 400 level courses also counted as honors courses when you are a sophomore and freshman. However, that was not the only impact Paterno Fellows had on this experience. The funding by Paterno Fellows and the Liberal Arts College made this trip possible. Their generous sum of $750 covered my plane ticket and eased the burden of paying for the trip. I was able to experience Poland thanks to the Paterno Fellows Program and their generous contribution.

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

Takako Inada

American Red Cross
Up one level
Takako Inada

Major: International Politics
Minor: Chinese
Hometown: Nagoya, Japan

How did you learn about this opportunity?

A friend of mine used to be an intern for the American Red Cross, and I learned about this opportunity through them.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

My duty is to raise awareness of International Humanitarian Law in the community. Hence, I have been working on a couple presentations for students not only at State College, but also at local high schools and Middle schools to spread the word.

How did this experience impact you academically?

It taught me how to successfully manage my time when I am busy with both school and internship work.

"My duty is to raise awareness of International Humanitarian Law in the community."

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

I would like to first finish my studying as an Integrated Undergraduate Student and get a job with an international organization to help children in need across the world.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would definitely recommend this experience! You get to strengthen your management, public speaking, leadership, as well as teamwork skills.

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

Matthew Lamas

The Pennsylvania State University Libraries
Up one level
Matthew Lamas

Major: Political Science, Communication Arts & Sciences
Minor: African American Studies
Hometown: Plant City

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I learned about the Bednar internship in part because it was offered as an extension of my summer internship, the DDAR (Division of Development and Alumni Relations) internship. Because I was placed as a development intern within the university libraries, I was able to take advantage of their fall listing for a Bednar intern that would be tasked to do similar work. The postings for the internship for prospective students interested would also be posted on the PSU jobs website. For students interested in similar work, be sure to stay alert on the PSU Jobs website for internships in development throughout all of Penn State.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

My experience as a Bednar intern was highly beneficial. It previewed what a real development officer does on a day-to-day basis. Being a development officer requires that you are fluid and ready to engage in tasks that are out of your comfort zone. It demands that you are capable of meeting with prospective donors, event planning, and researching. As a Bednar intern, I had a hand in being able to help with each of these tasks and therefore gained special insight into the field of development both overall and at Penn State. Working for a non-profit and understanding who the beneficiaries of the funds raised are requires patience, understanding, and perseverance.

How did this experience impact you academically?

Academically, I was able to use what I learned in the office throughout my classroom experience. For example, there was project planning that I was involved in throughout my internship and there were times that I had to engage in conflict-resolution; by being able to locate issues that I had to overcome throughout my internship, I was able to learn skills such as effective communication. With class group projects, I was able to solve issues that my classmates and I would run into, such as being able to assign individual tasks that would better serve everyone's own interest and capabilities. Because of my internship, I had leadership and managerial skills that helped me appropriately deal with conflicts that would arise within my class projects, such as disagreements and differing views on how to handle the tasks at hand.

"Being able to have an internship that gave me real-world experience within this field, a preview of what a day-to-day schedule would include, has been crucial."

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

My career goals are pretty open at the moment, which I believe is one of the greatest assets of being a Penn State student! As a student who has interned in development, I understand the quickly growing field of philanthropy throughout the United States! I know that if I wanted to work in fundraising at a university, or a non-profit, or even a hospital, there would be that opportunity! Being able to have an internship that gave me real-world experience within this field, a preview of what at day-to-day schedule would include, has been crucial. Even if my career path changes and I don't pursue development, I know that many of the skill-sets I learned along the way will be applicable in many situations.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I most definitely would recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students. If there is a student interested in a work experience that will be well-rounded, enable them to challenge themselves with meaningful work, and a welcoming work environment, then a Bednar internship is perfect is perfect for them! I enjoyed being able to take on my own independent tasks, but I knew there were resources I could use if I needed help. No one in the office wants to see you fail, so there's plenty of space to learn and grow!

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

Shana-Kay Hart

Embedded: Art 297 - Social and Cultural Explorations in the Visual Arts: Sydney, Australia
Up one level
Shana-Kay Hart

Major: CAS, Spanish
Minor: Latin American Studies
Hometown: Wynnewood, PA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I first learned about this enrichment experience online. After contacting the program director for more information, I was kept in the loop with details and updates regarding the program. Once I was given more information on the program and how to apply, I submitted an application and it went on from there.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

I studied for two weeks in Sydney, Australia, where I learned about forms of cultural representation and social expression in Sydney. With the class, we explored ideas and engagement with issues through personal encounters with art in public settings, communities and museums. Our activities ranged from street tours to lectures in which we learned of Aboriginal people's history, culture, and present day struggles for basic human rights. We hiked through Australia’s famous Blue Mountains, had interactive museum visits, and walked the city of Sydney. This all helped expose us to Australia in a way many people can only dream of. We met world famous artists and saw beautiful street art created through activism. We met interesting people from all over the world and enjoyed the unique food culture of Sydney. By the end of the twelve-day immersive experience, I was able to walk away with a better understanding and appreciation for Sydney, Australia, the country's people and their culture.

"By the end of the twelve-day immersive experience, I was able to walk away with a better understanding and appreciation for Sydney, the people of Australia and their culture."

How did this experience impact you academically?

Academically, this experience definitely changed the way I view my education. Through the interactive activities, this program broke the usual cycle that we have grown accustomed to when it comes to classes and learning approaches. Our daily activities ranged from trips museums and cultural sites to walking street tours. This helped me to see that there are different approaches for learning and what you are used to might not always be the "right" way. This is something that has and will further continue to impact my academic career because I have learned the importance of adapting to different environments and different approaches to a matter.

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 to study Journalism. I would like to either work for the United Nations or Teach for America after graduating as well. I aspire to work for a magazine company such as Afar Media or Conde Nast as a travel journalist because of my passion for traveling and writing. Furthermore, I aspire to begin my own educational organization, 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, and this encouraged me to continue these activities to provide assistance to children who are struggling to finish their education due to a lack of school supplies or the means to do so.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would definitely recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students. Studying abroad is an experience that is truly enriching and allows us to learn in a different way that is crucial to every person's development in life. This specific enrichment experience allowed me to see the reality of a country that far too often is labeled and assigned to this one single story.

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

Emma Leigh Zigarovich

LER 497
Up one level
Emma Leigh Zigarovich

Major: Labor and Employment Relations
Minor: Business in the Liberal Arts
Hometown: Pittsburgh

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I learned about this opportunity through my Labor and Employment Relations academic adviser, Katelyn Perry.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

It was an awesome and eye opening experience. Visiting Google, facebook, Yelp, Uber and other companies gave me great insight into human resources (HR) in the tech industry. I also made some great connections with some Penn State alumni at these firms. This trip helped me get a better idea of what kind of company and what division of HR I want to work for after college.

"This trip helped me get a better idea of what kind of company and what division of HR I want to work for after college."

How did this experience impact you academically?

Visiting these organizations helped me piece together everything that we had been learning this semester in LER 497. It was a lot of hands on learning with what these firms do and also helped me pick up the lingo the tech world uses. It also gave me a better insight of the culture of high tech firms and how their culture differs from other companies' cultures. It also helped me understand how these cultures help the employees work more efficiently and enjoy work more overall.

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

This had a huge impact on my goals and plans for after college. Before this experience, I didn't really know what kind of company I wanted to work for after college. Now I really am going to aim at trying to work for a high tech firm. I loved the culture of these companies and I loved how there was so much opportunity for growth and learning. I knew before that I wanted to start off my career in recruiting, but now I know I want to try and be a recruiter in the high tech industry.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

This was a great experience that anybody who is interested into going into HR should try. You make so many great connections and get to visit so many companies, which are great to visit and experience their culture. You gain a new understanding of this industry and learn how HR professionals in this industry approach culture.

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

Dan Lordan

London Study Tour
Up one level
Dan Lordan

Major: Political Science, Biology
Minor: None
Hometown: Wallingford, PA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

This enrichment experience was offered through the Schreyer Honors College, class Theater 496H.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

The experience itself was fantastic. We traveled to Edinburgh, Scotland and London, England for two weeks packed with plays and performances. Highlights included the Buried Child featuring Ed Harris, Art at the Old Vic, Hansel and Gretel at the Scottish Ballet, and Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing.

How did this experience impact you academically?

This trip took place between our 2016 elections and inauguration, meaning that everyone that we met wanted to talk about our politics. Additionally, this trip was about six months after Brexit and during a new little wave of Scottish nationalism (the Scottish PM has called for a new vote for independence) which means UK politics are shifting drastically as well. As a political science major, I spent time at pubs and in taxis discussing all sorts of geopolitical topics and learning all about British nationalism, the schism (or perceived schism) between the Scottish and the English, and participated in some really interesting talks about views on immigrants and refuges. I was also able to take time to visit the British War Museum and Parliament.

"This experience gave me a renewed appreciation for the arts and live performance."

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

While I'm not set on career goals, I know I am interested in the intersection of health and policy. This program did two things for me - first, it gave me an opportunity at a really unique time to engage in political discourse with individuals from multiple walks of life. Second, this experience gave me a renewed appreciation for the arts and live performance. While this isn't exactly career oriented, I am sure that I want to make going to shows and performances a major part of my life.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

Absolutely. As a double major I didn't expect to be able to study abroad in college. This short program gave me the experience of being abroad without needing to take away from my studies. Dr. Sage and Dr. Bev were absolutely brilliant professors to go and learn from, and I was blessed to be part of a great group that went over - every member of my class was fun and unique and taught me something different. I would recommend this to anyone.

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

Janelle Brassel

CIEE Poland Springbreak trip
Up one level
Janelle Brassel

Major: anthropology
Minor: Jewish studies, History
Hometown: Harrisburg

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I first learned of this opportunity through fliers around campus. Professors from other classes also made announcements in class. After researching, I thought it would a great opportunity. 

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

A group of Penn State students from the History/JST 426 class spent Spring Break in Poland. We started in Warsaw and discussed Holocaust history there. Then we went to Oswiecim, the small village outside of Auschwitz concentration camp. We spent two days in the camp viewing the different exhibitions and the buildings that are still standing. We also worked on small projects where we pick a specific location or block in the camp and study its history of use. We then traveled to Krakow to learn about the Jewish ghetto there and the Plaszow concentration camp.

"This experience gave me the opportunity to see the places that I've studied since before I was in college."

How did this experience impact you academically?

This experience gave me the opportunity to see the places that I've studied since before I was in college. It gave me spatial awareness when it comes to the locations that are written about in memoirs and textbooks. It also gave me the chance to see how these places have changed in the seventy years since the Holocaust and how the local population reacts to the history of where they live their everyday lives. It is an interesting topic, especially because of the decades of communism that has happened since. The different regimes remember the Holocaust differently, and it is nice to see that after so long the democratic government established more memorials than the soviets did.

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

I hope to work in the Jewish History Museum of Baltimore in their museum education department. Eventually I would also like to go back to school and possibly teach history or Jewish studies at the university level. This experience gave me an edge when it comes to applying for jobs because it sets me apart from other applicants.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would recommend this experience because everyone should travel in college and get an international perspective on their studies.

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

Zachary Hubert

IES: Study London
Up one level
Zachary Hubert

Major: Psychology
Minor: CMAS (Child Maltreatment and Advocacy Studies) and HD FS (Human Development and Family Studies)
Hometown: Livingston, New Jersey

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I had always known I wanted to go to London to study abroad and after speaking with an abroad adviser, I decided IES: Study London was the best fit for me. I also found out that other friends of mine had been on this program and had great things to say about it.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

My semester abroad has definitely been my favorite semester. I have been to more places than I could have ever imagined traveling to and met such great people in my travels. My time abroad is something I will never forget and the memories I have made are some of the best memories I have. Getting to explore London has been wonderful and there is always something new to do. I feel as though I really am living in London and not just a student visiting another country.

"My time abroad is something I will never forget and the memories I have made are some of the best memories I have."

How did this experience impact you academically?

I heard mixed things about the academics before coming abroad. While many people who go abroad study through a University in that country, my program has their own facility with professors that they bring in. The professors I have encountered are all amazing and I really feel as though I am learning so much about London culture while taking my classes.

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

I aspire to be a clinical psychologist one day. My time abroad did not have much to do with my education of psychology, but while being abroad I have really gotten to learn more about people in different societies and cultures and that has broadened my knowledge of people in general.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would definitely recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students. This program is not too heavily focused on one area of study and allows you to pick the exact courses you want with little limitations.

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

Morley McCaul

CIEE Holocaust embedded course
Up one level
Morley McCaul

Major: History and Psychology
Minor: NA
Hometown: Havertown, PA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I attended the Education Abroad Fair in the Hub last fall. I went to the Liberal Arts table and was given a flyer about embedded courses. My course was listed on the flyer.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

My trip was part of an embedded course on the history of the Holocaust, which is why we traveled to Poland. We visited the city of Warsaw, and saw walls of the former Warsaw ghetto. We also spent two days in the Auschwitz concentration camp. We finished the week in Krakow where we visited the former ghetto and Plaszow concentration camp. Overall, it was a very informative and positive experience.

How did this experience impact you academically?

This experience benefited me greatly academically. As a Schreyer scholar, I intend to write my thesis paper on the Holocaust. Visiting former Holocaust and World War II sites and memorials helped me learn so much more about these historical events than any classroom ever has. Seeing these sites helped me understand everything I have ever learned about the Holocaust even more. This trip has not only shown and taught me history, but it has strengthened my desire to learn more about the Holocaust.

"This trip has not only shown and taught me history, but it has strengthened my desire to learn more about the Holocaust."

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

I intend to go to graduate school for mental health counseling with a specialty in addiction counseling immediately after graduating from Penn State. My goal is to work in either an inpatient or outpatient clinic as a drug and alcohol counselor. I plan to eventually go back to school to get my doctorate. This trip did not impact my future goals.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

Yes, absolutely. The course itself is very informative and interesting. The trip was amazing. I was able to experience a different culture and essentially walk through history. This trip allowed me to see historical sites first hand, sites that otherwise I might never have seen. I would highly recommend this experience to anyone interested in 20th century history.

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

Kathleen Crane

IES: Business and International Affairs
Up one level
Kathleen Crane

Major: Political Science
Minor: Communications and International Studies
Hometown: Annapolis, MD

"Through my own international experience, I have been able to transcend beyond the theoretical to compare and contrast the practical strengths and weaknesses of both forms of government."

How did this experience impact you academically?

As a political science major I am fascinated by the various systems of government that exist in the world today. While my political science courses at Penn State have done a fantastic job in teaching me to analyze and understand other governments, I felt I was missing the knowledge that is acquired through firsthand experience. This semester abroad in Paris has built and strengthened my understanding of other governments as well as the United States government. Through my own international experience, I have been able to transcend beyond the theoretical to compare and contrast the practical strengths and weaknesses of both forms of government. I have expanded my knowledge of foreign governments and culture. This in-depth knowledge of foreign governments, I am currently learning abroad, will provide a useful frame of reference as I continue to grow my in political science major. This will help me academically in the future.

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

My dream career goal is to work for the US government. I believe this experience of living and studying abroad has helped make me a more well-rounded and qualified candidate. It has built my knowledge of foreign governments and media. It has exposed me to various cultures that are very different from US culture. This firsthand experience will help me standout to future employers. Also in the distant future I hope to be a diplomat or ambassador - this semester abroad will be the perfect stepping stone for this career goal. Allowing me to be able to relate to foreign governments and share my personal experiences. This program has not only been very beneficial for my short term goals but I know will also help with my long-term goals. This program has helped me grow personally as an individual.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

Yes!!! I think it is a great way to get financial aid and get the financial help you may need. The process is not too difficult. Also it requires you create a budget sheet, which I felt was beneficial to me. It made me really think about all the extra sending costs and helped me better prepare.

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

Without the Paterno Fellows Program, I would of struggled financially more during my time abroad. This money allowed me to stress a little less about going abroad. It especially helped me when I first arrived in Paris. I was already nervous and stressed about living in a foreign country for 4 months, where I don't even speak the language! This money let me have one less thing to stress about. I cannot say thank you enough to everyone that is a part of the Paterno Fellows program. You are the reason I am able to have this life changing experience. Living in France has been an incredible opportunity that I am so fortunate to be able to be a part of. This money has given me the opportunity to be emerged in this amazing culture firsthand. Thank you to everyone again!

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

Phelim Giblin

CIEE Amman, Jordan
Up one level
Phelim Giblin

Major: International Politics, History
Minor: Arabic, Middle Eastern Studies
Hometown: University Park

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I previously participated in the same study abroad program to Amman, Jordan during the summer of 2016. I found out about it while applying to a Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) award that was being overseen by Dr. Elena Galinova. I found out about the FLAS Fellowship through the Liberal Arts website.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

I have spent the majority of my time in Amman, Jordan where the culture is very different, and at times a shock. With the Arabic language around me at all times of the day it has done wonders in improving my language skills. I have met amazing friends, both American and Jordanian. These friendships have been cemented through travel within Jordan and to surrounding countries. These travels have included Egypt, the West Bank, Israel, and Lebanon. I have seen so many things I never expected to bear witness to, and have had several life changing experiences as well.

"I have seen so many things I never expected to bear witness to..."

How did this experience impact you academically?

I have been studying the Middle East and the Arabic language for the past several years, so when I came here I had a basic knowledge of the region. However, reading a book about something such as the Palestine Israel conflict is nothing compared to meeting people who deal with it on a daily basis. There is a difference between reading about the checkpoints in the West Bank, and traveling through them. Through traveling to places like Egypt I was able to better understand some of the oppressive regimes of the region. It would take me a lifetime to fully understand what is going on here, but this experience has been a highly beneficial start.

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

When I came into this program I was unsure as to whether I wanted to work for the Intelligence Community or for an NGO. I believe my experience has helped me move forward in the process of choosing between the two. This is because my main goal is to reach a point where I can help the people of this region, and I think that by coming here I know a little more about how I can best do that. I am not entirely sure, but I do know that my time here will play a major impact on my decision, and therefor my professional life following graduation.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would fully recommend this study abroad program. While it may not have the flash or glamour that European countries offer, I personally believe it is a more beneficial experience. The Middle East and its people are very misunderstood, especially due to the selective coverage of western media. The only way to see the truth of the region is to travel here, and meet its people.

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

Being in the Paterno Fellows Program has made many more opportunities available to me. Not the least important is the financial aid they have offered to me. This has allowed me to travel more actively throughout the region, and inside of Jordan. Some of the most important trips I have taken have been made possible due to this aid.

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

Nicole DuGan

City, University of London
Up one level
Nicole DuGan

Major: International Politics
Minor: History
Hometown: DuBois

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I first learned about the enrichment experience from my study abroad adviser and was then reminded about it through the Liberal Arts Career Enrichment Network's emails.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

Studying abroad has been the greatest experience of my life by far. I have learned so much, and not just in the classroom. Throughout my four months in London I have visited six countries and ten cities. I have experienced a plethora of different cultures and customs. I've seen UNESCO World Heritage sights, world famous museums, canals, towers, and more tourist traps than I can count. I made a promise to myself that when I went abroad, I would try new things and not be afraid of those that I normally am. So far, I have kept that promise; I’ve climbed a narrow tower in Copenhagen, sat on the edge of Prague Castle, and tried snails in Paris. It is safe to say that it has been the greatest four months of my life.

"It is safe to say that it has been the greatest four months of my life."

How did this experience impact you academically?

I have been able to study political history and political ethics from a completely different standpoint than what I would have learned at home. It has definitely better prepared me for a career in politics because now I am able to understand other countries' viewpoints and systems of government. In order to be successful, one needs to understand how another country works and views the United States. Studying in the UK is vastly different than the US, so studying here has also taught me to be more aware of the content that I am learning about on a weekly basis.

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

After graduation, I plan to attend law school. After that, I hope to work with the federal government and perhaps one day run for public office. Understanding how the world works is important, and having as many different views on the matter is even more important.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

Yes! Studying abroad is more than just an academic experience. You are literally living on your own in a foreign country with the ability to travel the world. You learn how to live on your own, truly on your own- without your parents or best friends readily available. You navigate a massive city, immerse yourself in colorful cultures, and try things you wouldn't even have the chance to at home. Its something every student should experience in their time at Penn State.

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

Rose Miller

CAMS 025 Embedded Course
Up one level
Rose Miller

Major: CAMS
Minor: History, International Studies, English
Hometown: Solomons, MD

How did you learn about this opportunity?

After I signed up for the class, I found out about the embedded component to it. I thought the chance to travel and learn about the subjects of the class was a great opportunity. 

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

We toured around Greece and it was absolutely amazing. We went to so many sites in such a small group, and were led by leaders in their field. It was an extremely informative trip. We went to both the "big" sites where we saw all of the tourist spots as well as the smaller sites to get a real feel of the country and visit the lesser known areas. There was a good balance with having the nights to ourselves to learn about both ancient and modern Greece. As a CAMS major, it was especially superb to see all the sites and artifacts that I have been learning about for the past four years. I actually cried when I saw the temple of Apollo.

"As a CAMS major, it was especially superb to see all the sites and artifacts that I have been learning about for the past four years."

How did this experience impact you academically?

I'm a senior in CAMS and I had never been to Greece, so it was amazing to get to see places that I had learned about. It was definitely the best way to end my senior year. If I wasn't already a CAMS major, a trip like this would have been even more valuable; it would have allowed for me to truly gauge what I want to do with my life and helped me to get on track to being a CAMS major sooner. I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of it and wished that I had been able to do something like this through a class, which gave me a greater background on the subject, sooner.

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

I want to become a teacher, either of history or English. I've always loved kids and getting to work with them and help them love things that I love would be amazing. This trip definitely will help me going forward. If I do decide to become a history teacher, it will help me tell stories and teach students in a fun and exciting way. If I become an English teacher, my love of mythology, tied in with these stories, will have the same outcome.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would definitely recommend this. It is pretty cheap for what you are actually getting. The total trip, without any of the scholarships that I received, was under $2,500, which isn't that bad given that you are going to Europe for the week. You get to be toured by people who know what you are looking at and see sites in ways that tourists never get to. The students who go with you are just as interested as you and it is a great bonding experience.

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

Lauren Nogay

History 426 Embedded Course to Poland
Up one level
Lauren Nogay

Major: History and International Politics
Minor: French
Hometown: Hermitage, PA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I learned about this opportunity through visiting the Liberal Arts Undergraduate Festival. Even though my majors were already declared, I stopped by my departments to ask about any upcoming opportunities.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

This was a week long trip that included three major stops. First, I visited Warsaw. There I visited a museum about the history of Jews in Poland, visited memorials to the Warsaw Ghetto, and visited a large Jewish cemetery. Second, I went to the town of Oswiecim, known under Nazi rule as Auschwitz. There I toured both Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II-Birkenau. Lastly, I went to Krakow. There I visited the former Plaszow Concentration Camp and learned about the history of Jewish life in Krakow.

How did this experience impact you academically?

Visiting Poland gave me insight into the history of the Holocaust that you can't truly grasp from reading a book. Despite going with the purpose of learning about the Holocaust, I learned much more than that. I came away with with a deeper understanding of both Polish and Jewish culture.

"Visiting foreign museums and historical sights gave me a new perspective on the handling of cultural heritage."

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

After graduating, I plan on going to graduate school for Library Studies and eventually become an archivist. Ideally, I would like to one day work as a museum archivist. Visiting foreign museums and historical sights gave me a new perspective on the handling of cultural heritage. Meeting with an archivist at Auschwitz was particularly interesting for me.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

Absolutely! Embedded programs are a great way to study abroad without the time commitment/financial responsibility of studying for a whole semester.

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

Paterno Fellows has both encouraged me and enabled me to challenge myself academically. I likely would not have been involved with all that I have without my participation in the Paterno Fellows Program. The Program's emphasis on global awareness helped me realize the value of studying abroad.

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

Brandon Purnell

China in a Global Context - Shanghai (Study Abroad)
Up one level
Brandon Purnell

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

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I learned about this enrichment experience from the Penn State Global program search. On their website, you can sort all of their listed programs by various criteria.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

Shanghai is probably the definitive global city. As the largest city-proper in the world, there is so much to do and see-- and that's in addition to having the opportunity to study abroad at one of China's best universities. My time with CIEE in Shanghai has been augmented by a gorgeous campus and immediate proximity to everything the city has to offer. I am looking forward to taking trips around China this semester at every chance I get.

"If you want to learn a language, nothing beats immersing yourself in the country where it is spoken..."

How did this experience impact you academically?

If you want to learn a language, nothing beats immersing yourself in the country where it is spoken, coming into contact with it at every point of your day. Beyond this, my Chinese classes last two hours every day. I fully expect to have made huge strides in my Chinese fluency by the time I have finished my semester here. Although I have classes I like better than others, even the classes I don't favor have the added benefit of being taught by faculty often coming from a different culture and perspective.

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

I've always been interested in a career in public service, and living and working within another culture has helped provide me with the cultural competencies necessary to be considerate and helpful in a diverse society such as the United States. Beyond this, Chinese is the most widely spoken language in the world, and will be of immense utility to me.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would recommend study abroad to any Liberal Arts student, and certainly this program in particular. A study abroad experience is the best way to pick up or improve upon a foreign language, and in this increasingly globalized world we live in, employers value the cultural competency a study abroad experience provides you with.

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

Gwen Lauer

Business and Liberal Arts Barcelona IES
Up one level
Gwen Lauer

Major: Psychology
Minor: Art History
Hometown: State College

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I found my program through Penn State Global website. I looked for a program that I could continue my Psychology major and enrich my Art History minor, and this seemed like a great opportunity. 

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

My time abroad has given me a chance to reflect on my time at Penn State. I can continue my studies but in a completely new environment and culture. My classes here in Barcelona are much smaller and each person is present in class rather than being one in a 300 person class. This has given me the opportunity to feel more comfortable talking in class and asking questions. I've also been more able to build relationships with classmates and professors. Being abroad also allows for amazing weekend trips. The most valuable trip to me so far was when I took a solo trip to Corboba. I went there to see the Mosque Cathedral, which was amazing. This allowed me to see the history and the art I have learned about. It was also a good experience to learn how to be completely on my own in an unknown place, doing whatever I wanted. I learned to enjoy my time and live in the moment as well as gain independence.

"I can continue my studies but in a completely new environment and culture."

How did this experience impact you academically?

My classes here are much different than at main campus. I am used to being one person in a large class with a few exams that determine my grade. It is easy to slide by in such a large class and not be called out on things. However, here classes are very small and it is known when you are slacking off and miss class. The small classes allow for much more class discussions and reflections on our home cultures and experiences here.

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

I am still not sure what I want to do after school. My time abroad has helped me become more independent and culturally aware, and those two things will help me in any situation or career I choose to pursue. I really enjoy traveling, learning and seeing new things. Having this time abroad has helped me become a better traveler and has given me stories and experiences to share. More cultural awareness gives me more ability to connect with others. Traveling has given me the opportunity to see many buildings and artworks I have learned about in my Art History classes. It is much more powerful to see these things in person.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

Taking time to experience a new culture is very important for everyone. It's an amazing experience where you meet many people from other places, see amazing things, experience new cultures, and learn about yourself. However amazing time abroad is, it is also challenging. It is hard to remove yourself from what has become normal and comfortable and go to a country where they speak a new language and have a different culture and where you know no one. Being put in a new place is scary but being able to adapt and grow is a very important skill to have.

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

Samantha Mayhew

IES Madrid, Language and Area Studies Program
Up one level
Samantha Mayhew

Major: Psychology and Advertising
Minor: International Studies and Spanish
Hometown: Highland, MD

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I attended the Penn State Education Abroad Fair and spoke with the Education Abroad advisors. I found comparing different programs through the Penn State Global website to be very helpful. I also read a lot of student blogs which provided a more personal insight into the different programs.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

Welcome to Madrid, where tapas are ridiculously, fantastically cheap and somehow pork finds its way into almost every dish. Where strange nooks and famous plazas are around every corner and at times it’s cheaper to order sangria than water. Where the people are friendlier than you might expect for a big city and the metro is surprisingly navigable (albeit after a few mishaps). So, where to start chronicling? My time here has been filled with a vast amount of experiences- most good, a few iffy, and all formative. However, there are three that stand out as strong first impressions. In a way, I think these anecdotes represent my experience with the city as a whole, thus far. They also are the start of a few new mottos I hope to carry with me for the rest of my time here.

"My time here has been filled with a vast amount of experiences- most good, a few iffy, and all formative."

Vamos a leer…

El Tigre

Feeling an air of unmistakable pride, my roommate, Maria, and I headed out to meet some new barrio (neighborhood) friends at the infamous restaurant and bar, El Tigre. We’d been hearing about El Tigre for days now. Supposedly, it was crowded with locals and filled with free tapas. Maria and I were eager to try it and even more excited to be meeting a group of new people. We’d been in Madrid for all of a week, so, of course, we knew where we were going. We confidently ventured through twisted alley after alley, marveling over how many other places we couldn't wait to try. Filled with the intoxicating thrill of walking through Madrid, we even dared to close Google maps. We spotted El Tigre on the left of a cobblestone side street and casually went to enter… except the door didn’t open. Huh. That was weird. Maybe I was getting my tirar (pull) and empujar (push) mixed up, again. Hm. Still wasn’t opening. Feeling a little foolish, Maria and I glanced around. Perhaps, it was just our imagination, but there appeared to be several amused Madrileños watching us. A few vaguely awkward moments passed until we spotted a sign next to the door. After slowly muddling our way through a scribbled Spanish note, we determined that there was another “El Tigre,” somewhere down the road. Significantly less confidently than at the outset, we set off again.

*15 minutes later*

After walking up and down the same street for the third time, past the same confused looking hosts, bartenders and patrons, it’s extremely safe to say there was no dignity left. Out of options – we admitted defeat and asked for directions. (Side note: if Google maps let’s you down- stop and ask for help. If you ask the right person it is by far the most efficient way to find a place.) Eventually, we made our way into the restaurant/bar, a little bedraggled, a little late, but mostly relieved we’d finally found the increasingly mystical “El Tigre.”

Alas, it was STILL the wrong Tigre. Somehow, we’d managed to go to a different one than the people we were meeting. However, all was not lost. We thoroughly enjoyed the inexpensive drinks that came with unlimited tapas. We also randomly ran into some other IES Abroad students. It ended up being a fantastic evening.

Moral of the story: Even a wrong turn is a right one (and things can almost always be bought for cheaper than you would expect).

Plaza de Mayor

You know the postcards you see of Madrid? The ones with the beautiful red brick buildings expanding around a huge plaza filled with restaurants and vendors- this is Plaza de Mayor. Maybe you know it, maybe you don’t – if not, Google it right now. It’s gorgeous. It’s also one of the most famous locations within Madrid.

What I didn’t realize is that the Plaza de Mayor is just the tip of the iceberg. I went on an enlightening (and I don't use that word lightly) tour of the area and was shocked to discover there are 3 plazas within 10 minutes walking distance, each just as unique, gorgeous and filled with things to do as the last. I could genuinely spend my entire day wandering that immediate area and still find more to do.

Por ejemplo, one time I happened across the Plaza de Mayor at night and was shocked to see that the usual red bricks were lit up with a multitude of neon colors. There must’ve been an event earlier, and the light show was slowly getting shut down. There were reds, greens, and purples, all intricately lined up with the tiny details of the Plaza buildings. With the moon hanging just over the edge of the square and an uncharacteristic silence, it was unparalleled and gorgeous.

Moral of the story: There is always something new to see. Always.

First Day of Classes

What was I thinking??? It had been a year since I’ve taken Spanish. Ay dios mios. Something was going to have to change, whether it was my lack of fluency or my GPA. Somewhat dejected after the day, I returned to my homestay for lunch. I hadn’t journaled for a while, so with an air of detachment I picked up my pen and started writing while I waited.

In an effort to start the improvement process, I decided to write in Spanish. Lone behold, a page of my thoughts were outlined before I knew it. Carefully, I flipped back to my journal entry from the airplane headed over– it was about a quarter as long, far less detailed, and it had taken me twice as long to write. Huh. It would seem I had already drastically improved. Maybe I’ll start understanding more of my professors’ lectures sooner than I thought…

Moral of the story: Oftentimes, you can be far better off than you think you are. After all, even the lowest of entry-level baselines is simply an excellent starting point.

How did this experience impact you academically?

Taking classes entirely in Spanish has been a huge challenge. It has also been extremely rewarding. I was not sure that I would ever be able to reach a level of fluency where I could both understand and excel in these courses. All of my professors are from Spain, as well. This has given me many new perspectives on the Spanish culture, world events, and new concepts. I have greatly enjoyed this semester’s classes and will value these lessons for years to come.

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

This experience has allowed me to reach a new level of independence and understanding of the world as a whole. Experiencing multiple new ways of life and meeting a huge amount of new people has been absolutely amazing. This has allowed me to both fine tune and reevaluate what I am looking for in a future career. More importantly, it has given me the confidence to reach for new heights when pursuing internship opportunities.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I think studying abroad is by far the best decision I have made in my college career. It is eye opening in many different ways and allows a new level of independence to be reached. It is also a huge amount of fun!

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

The Paterno Fellows Program encouraged me to go abroad for both a summer program and a full semester, in addition to providing me with the resources to do so. The Program places a huge emphasis on the importance of a global education and understanding multiple perspectives. For example, they provided opportunities to hear speakers, many of who often had a global bent to their talks. The advising staff was very supportive of endeavors abroad. Many emails from the program director often featured a story of a student who loved their time abroad. All of this fueled my desire to study abroad.

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

Robert Voorhees

ANTH 197 Embedded Program to Scotland
Up one level
Robert Voorhees

Major: B.A. International Politics; B.A. Russian Language
Minor: n/a
Hometown: Coatesville, Pennsylvania

How did you learn about this opportunity?

An article published on Onward State provided the general details of the course. Further details came from an information session held by the professor for the course, Dr. French, the semester prior to departure.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

My embedded study abroad program to Scotland for Anthropology 197 was nothing short of incredible. Over our 8 days we visited four different Scotch Whisky distilleries and one beer brewery, all of which provided insights into the history and cultural importance of alcohol in Scotland. In our free time we were able to explore the different towns in which we were staying, from the massive, urban Glasgow, to the small, seaport of Oban. The program was an incredible experience, one that I will truly remember for the rest of my life.

How did this experience impact you academically?

The program to Scotland provided an in-depth look at the process, history, and economic value of Scotch Whisky within its native land. Although this doesn't directly relate to my course of study, the program instilled knowledge of the world outside the United States, which coordinates well with my focus on international relations and politics.

"This study abroad program provided invaluable experience with foreign travel and with interactions between different cultures, experience that simply cannot be attained in the classroom."

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

As I am pursuing a degree in international politics, I am of course interested in global affairs and foreign travel. After graduation I would love to find any area of employment that allows me to experience the world outside the United States, whether through government or private work. This study abroad program provided invaluable experience with foreign travel and with interactions between different cultures, experience that simply cannot be attained in the classroom.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

Without question I would recommend this experience to other students. The program was a great experience with foreign travel, and the professors that led the trip, Dr. French and Dr. Pearson, were both absolutely incredible.

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

Rachel Fleischer

IES: Buenos Aires, Latin American Societies and Cultures
Up one level
Rachel Fleischer

Major: Political Science and Music Performance
Minor: none
Hometown: Las Vegas

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I always knew that I wanted to include a study abroad program as a part of my undergraduate experience. That being said, I found out about the program in Buenos Aires through both the education abroad fair and the Penn State Global Programs website. My goal was to become fluent in Spanish; therefore, I narrowed down my options of countries to only Spanish-speaking countries in Latin America. I also wanted the opportunity to live in a big city while abroad, so Buenos Aires was the perfect fit.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

My experience in Buenos Aires, Argentina has been fantastic so far because I have been able to fully immerse myself into the culture by taking some of my classes in Spanish and living in a homestay. Every class I am taking has integrated field trips as part of the curriculum, so I am able to visit the places we learn about in the classroom, which has truly enhanced my educational experience. Another amazing aspect about this program is that it gives us the opportunity to volunteer in the community. By volunteering in the community, I have been able to meet people from across Argentina and even across Latin America, which has allowed me to get to know different cultures while also positively contributing to the community. Finally, during the weekends I am able to travel throughout Argentina and even bordering countries. Traveling has been such an integral aspect of my experience because I have been able to explore different places and get to learn about Argentina from a local perspective.

"Studying in Buenos Aires has been an academically once-in-a-lifetime experience that I would not have gotten if I had not gone abroad."

How did this experience impact you academically?

This experience has been a fantastic academic experience because it's been challenging me to step out of my comfort zone in order to see the world around me from a different point of view. Since all of my classes are about different aspects of Latin American culture, they have helped me in understanding the similarities and differences between the cultures in the United States versus in Latin America. Likewise, being fully immersed in Buenos Aires society has pushed me to learn Spanish faster than I would have if I was only learning Spanish in a classroom. Overall, studying in Buenos Aires has been an academically once-in-a-lifetime experience that I would not have gotten if I had not gone abroad.

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

Upon graduating, I hope to attend law school in order to pursue a career in constitutional law. Studying abroad, I have learned valuable lessons that have provided me with new perspectives and skills that I will be able to use in my future career. Such skills include learning how to communicate in a foreign language and understanding ideas and concepts that don’t necessarily exist in the United States. I’ve also had the pleasure of learning about democracy, populism, and different kinds of government regimes through a different lens, allowing me to develop my critical thinking skills even further.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would highly recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students. Studying and living in another country is the key to gaining a more expansive and multiculturalist view of the world. Even though it has been one of the most challenging experiences I've had, it has also been one of the most rewarding experiences because every day I'm able to overcome a new obstacle and learn more about Argentine society.

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

Lauren Weber

IES Vienna - European Society and Culture
Up one level
Lauren Weber

Major: Psychology
Minor: none
Hometown: Marlboro, New Jersey

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I researched online through the Penn State Global website to find funding and study abroad opportunities.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

Studying abroad has been a hugely positive experience in my eyes. Although nervous when I first left, I adjusted better than I thought I would. The city was beautiful, clean, affordable, and most of all - safe. I felt very comfortable getting around on my own, especially being a woman. The people that I met from other schools have become some of my best friends and for that alone the experience was worth it.

How did this experience impact you academically?

I thought studying abroad would have been less. However, there are different grading scales, different forms of exams, and different expectations than back home. Like any new semester, it took a while to adjust but I prefer the smaller classes, the in class discussions, and the open ended questions on tests. I came abroad expecting not to be as challenged academically as I was at Penn State. In reality, I am just as challenged here as I am at Penn State, only in a different way.

"As a psychology major, getting to study in the city Sigmund Freud lived and worked was a huge deal to me."

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

As a psychology major, getting to study in the city Sigmund Freud lived and worked was a huge deal to me. I not only visited his apartment, but also took two psychology courses that counted towards my major! I took a course on Psychoanalysis where we went into depth on Sigmund Freud's practices and methods as well as a course on Child and Family studies and development which allowed me to attain a foundational understanding for Freud's work. Both courses were super helpful for my future!

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

Yes, absolutely! Being abroad gives you so much more than academic experience - it gives you life experience. You meet wonderful new people and make friends from other schools. You get to see new cultures and ways of life. You adjust to new surroundings and learn to be resourceful. Studying abroad helps you grow into a better version of yourself and that is why you should go abroad.

For more information on global opportunities for Liberal Art students, visit our website

Rexine Schrum

Anthropology 197: Embedded Program
Up one level
Rexine Schrum

Major: Anthropology
Hometown: Howard, PA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

The professor for this class taught a previous class I was in and is the adviser for a club I am in. He gave a lecture on what Anthropology 197 was going to be like and the expectations for students. I knew immediately that this was a good opportunity.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

I had an amazing time. I got to see the country at the same time as going to all of the class orientated education. It was very interesting to meet new people and learn about their culture. I developed a new favorite drink while I was over there and tried a lot of good food. I had these awesome potatoes one day and I also had a great dessert with sticky toffee on it. The salmon was great as well. I thought it was very interesting certain things like 7-up were called lemonade over there.

How did this experience impact you academically?

It gave me a new environment to learn in and showed me a more hands-on learning experience. Using the technology that we were given added a difficult component in remembering to use the cameras and various other items as well as using them to their best capacity.

"It gave me a new environment to learn in and showed me a more hands-on learning experience."

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

I wanted to work for the government, but lately I have not been sure what route I want to go. After this trip, I think eventually I want to teach and inspire people to do more and to be more. How I want to go about that is still uncertain, but this trip made me understand again why I am so interested in Anthropology. You can study anything and answer the question, "Why are we the way we are?", about that subject.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would. I loved the class. For a person like me who is not very likely to talk to new people, it helped to strike up a conversation and learn about Scotland through the people who visit there from London all the time, like a guy Danny I met, or from the people like Ross our coach driver, who has lived there all his life.

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

Lindsay Simmins

CAMS 25 Embedded trip to Greece
Up one level
Lindsay Simmins

Major: CAMS, Anthropology
Minor: none
Hometown: Philadelphia, PA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I first learned about this enrichment experience through my professor, Mary Munn, last semester. She informed her students that she was teaching a class about Greek civilization that would be going to Greece. As a Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies student who has always dreamed of travelling Greece, I joined her class this semester and connected everything I have learned to my trip through Greece.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

Traveling to Greece has always been a dream of mine, and Penn State made that dream come true. Seeing the places I learned about in class was an experience I will never be able to put into words. We traveled to popular parts of Greece, such as Athens, Delphi, Thebes, etc. Experiencing these places for myself really helped to solidify my knowledge and provide a foundation for all of the information that I had gained. I would highly recommend embedded programs to other students as they are worth every second.

"Traveling to Greece has always been a dream of mine, and Penn State made that dream come true."

How did this experience impact you academically?

This experience impacted me academically in the best way that it could have. Prior to traveling to Greece, I learned in class about everything I would soon see in person. This trip solidified all of the information I had learned, as there is no better way to learn or understand things than through experiencing them in person. This trip also taught me the importance of visiting and appreciating the locations I learn about- these locations have so much to offer and are much more impressive than how they appear in books and on slideshows.

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

My ultimate goal is to become an archaeologist, preferentially specifying in Roman. However, before I decided to become an archaeologist, I fell in love with the classical world through Greek mythology and history. Greece has always captivated me, and the more I have grown, the more I have learned about ancient cultures other than Greece, and I have fallen in love with those as well. As this trip was led by two Greek archaeologists, I received personal insight into what it was like to be an archaeologist- the challenges and hardships, the rewards, and the final outcomes. By going on this trip, I am now even more inspired and in love with my career path than I was before- I can't wait to go on digs of my own, and leave my own impact on the field of archaeology.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would 110% recommend this experience to LA students. Why? Why not! If you are ever given the opportunity to go abroad for your chosen field of study, you should absolutely go. This is because you learn on site. You are able to connect your knowledge to your surroundings, and that is something that can't happen if you stay in State College! I promise you won't regret it.

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

Anthony Scudieri

Oxford Study Abroad Programme
Up one level
Anthony Scudieri

Major: History and Finance
Minor: N/A
Hometown: Carlisle, PA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

After narrowing down my study abroad search to England, I focused on the oldest and most well-known universities. I found that around half a dozen of the 38 constituent colleges of the University of Oxford accept visiting students for up to to a full academic year. I applied to a few directly and the others through the "Oxford Study Abroad Programme (OSAP)."

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

OSAP students arrive a week earlier than the start of term for an orientation that introduces students to life in Oxford, England. As a visiting student at Magdalen College, I gained the full rights and priviledges of regular degree-seeking students. From Merton College's Winter Ball to rowing for Magdalen College in the Christ Church Regatta, I was able to experience all the University of Oxford has to offer. There are many activities and experiences so unique to the University of Oxford, such as Matriculation and Formal Hall, that made my time wonderful.

How did this experience impact you academically?

My primary reason for double majoring in history is to better both my reading and writing skills, two areas that are not as heavily focused upon in finance. At the University of Oxford, I completed two primary tutorials in "1919: Remaking the World" and " A Comparative History of WWI." Every week on Wednesday, I had one essay due for each of my tutorials. Both of my tutors would then challenge the arguments in my writing when we met on either Thursday or Friday. At the end of these meetings, I was assigned another topic and sources to use, and the process repeated. The amount of reading and writing was staggering, and it took me a few weeks to get adjusted. The entire experience, no doubt, improved upon my abilities to read, write, and think critically, and that was the primary reason I chose to study abroad at a school with the tutorial system.

"I am forever grateful to everyone who made my time abroad such a memorable experience."

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

I am fortunate enough to have received a return offer from my summer internship with UBS in the investment banking division. Upon graduation, I will return to New York City to work for UBS. The sheer amount of material I had to cover in my tutorials in such little time will definitely help me to synthesize large sums of information and make crucial decisions in a short time frame.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would definitely recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students seeking a challenging and fulfilling study abroad experience. When choosing a study abroad experience, I wanted a location that I would not merely pass through, but become an engaging member of the community. In my time abroad, I was able to meet the other 40 students studying abroad through OSAP, undergraduate and graduate students of Magdalen College, French students studying at EM Normandie's Oxford campus, other students studying abroad through their universities such as Stanford, two very intelligent tutors, and a number of wonderful academic staff at Magdalen College and OSAP. I am forever grateful to everyone who made my time abroad such a memorable experience.

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

Adrianna Shevlin

ANTH 197: Scotland Embedded Course
Up one level
Adrianna Shevlin

Major: Linguistics
Minor: n/a
Hometown: Roanoke Rapids, NC

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I learned about this experience through my academic adviser. As I was talking with her about possible classes to take as electives that would bring me the most benefit, she mentioned ANTH 197. She told me about the embedded study abroad component and encouraged me to enroll in the class. It gave me the opportunity to go abroad even though I don’t have a spare summer or semester since I am graduating this spring. I enrolled in the class, and in November we were given a survey to fill out to express our interest in the trip.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

Fourteen other students and I had the opportunity to travel all around Scotland over a period of eight days. We began in Edinburgh, did an orientation that provided some tips on how to navigate ourselves both socially and geographically as well as a detailed itinerary. We had our first tour about whisky in Edinburgh on March 5, which was highly informational and gave us an excellent foundation of knowledge to bring with us on the rest of our tours. The next day we traveled to Lindores Abbey, which is the site of the earliest written record of Scotch whisky. Later in the afternoon we were given a tour of Blair Athol distillery. The next day, March 7, we toured Dalwhinnie Distillery, noted for being the “highest distillery in Scotland” (around 1,100 feet above sea level). The following day we toured an all-organic brewery called Black Isle and were able to compare/contrast the process of beer production to whisky production. On March 9, we toured Talisker Distillery, on the Isle of Skye. The next day, we toured Oban Distillery and also attended a lecture about the history of whisky in Scotland and its social impacts in the country.

"This gave me a tangible glimpse into the anthropology of alcohol’s influence on different cultures"

How did this experience impact you academically?

This experience taught me quite a bit. I learned a lot about the whisky production process and why whiskies from different places taste different even though they all use the same ingredients. This helped my understanding of the production of other alcohols, which in turn helped me to understand why different areas of the world produce different types. In addition to the factual, process-based education about whisky production, I also learned about the social impacts of alcohol in Scotland and how it is viewed and treated differently there than it is here. This gave me a tangible glimpse into the anthropology of alcohol’s influence on different cultures -- I was able to make real-world connections between history, anthropology, and modern practices and attitudes that wouldn’t be as easy to pull out of a classroom lecture.

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

I am presently not very clear on what my career goals and plans are at the moment. I know it is very vague, but my ultimate goal is to help people in some capacity or another. I want to connect with other individuals and help them in whatever way they may need. My experience in Scotland just made that desire stronger, because while I was there, I connected with people from vastly different backgrounds than my own. My experiences interacting with the people of Scotland were pretty much entirely positive. Being in Scotland helped me to draw connections between the similarities of my class and the people we encountered, as well as seeing how our differences were not all that drastic. I want to continue to work towards helping people because it means I get to connect with all types of people and maybe make the world brighter.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would absolutely recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students. The trip was not entirely focused on anthropology, but was rooted in real-world application of various different disciplines, including anthropology, history, sociology, linguistics, ecology, economics, etc. It was a very wide-reaching trip. I was able to learn not only things directly related to class content, but other things that touched upon my personal interests, as well as having the opportunity to simply learn about different people and do it all in a beautiful and different landscape.

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

Whitney Boyer

TNT Fireworks
Up one level
Whitney Boyer

Major: AFR
Minor: None
Hometown: Cressona

How did you learn about this opportunity?

The manager of TNT Fireworks in Ocala, FL. is a Penn State Alumni who comes to Pennsylvania for every football game. He put flyers in Willard Building for an internship opportunity in Florida over Christmas break. I immediately contacted him because I definitely wanted to spend my Christmas in beautiful summer weather. After speaking with him, he set up an interview with me where he came to Penn State and we spoke in person at Willard. He liked me, and told me he would get in touch with me on his decision. The next day, he called me back and told me that I could come down and help his team for the busy time of their year.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

My experience with TNT Fireworks was incredible, and I would do this again in a heartbeat. Only two students from Penn State were accepted for this internship after many interviews were conducted. The other interns that I worked with where from other colleges. Personally, I never worked so many hours in my life. We would work from dark in the morning until the dark at night. I was working fifty-two hours a week for three weeks straight. I never knew of my capabilities before this experience. TNT Fireworks had interns file papers in their office, create excel sheets for budget costs, work on Oracle (a shipping and handling program used by big companies), sign off on merchandise to ensure the fireworks were within sell by date, and much more. We would drive to Tampa and Miami to be sales reps that marketed and sold merchandise at tents and Sam's Clubs. TNT Fireworks treated the interns very well; they would order lunch for us almost every day and had a small party for us on our last day.

"My experience with TNT Fireworks was incredible, and I would do this again in a heartbeat."

How did this experience impact you academically?

First, I learned that I am capable of working long hours for long periods of time. I have never had a full-time job, so the fact that I was working 50-55 hours every week is amazing when you put it into perspective. Next, TNT Fireworks helped me experience what it is like to work in an office setting. The white collar jobs are not what I'm used to. Filing papers all day and being on the computer was a different atmosphere for me, but I enjoyed it and would definitely do a job like this again. Academically, I want to do this internship again next Christmas and am thinking about looking for jobs in Florida. The weather and people in Florida are very positive and uplifting. Waking up to seventy degree weather everyday had a positive impact on how I approached my internship and I would like that mood to continue into my career.

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

My career goals and plans are to find a position humanitarian work. TNT Fireworks needed interns to help them during their busy month, and we knocked work out for them like no other. We really worked hard for them and they were so happy that my colleague and I came down to Florida to help out. Aside from helping others, I liked how this internship opened my eyes to other job choices. People have many jobs and career paths throughout their life, so this only increased my knowledge on the ways I can incorporate office work into my major and it allowed me to look at other career paths.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

Yes, the TNT Firework's crew is extremely welcoming and they took really good care of me. My first day, I actually got lost going from the hotel to the job and the manager stayed on the phone with me until I made it to the job.

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