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Internship with the LGBTQA Student Resource Center
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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.

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