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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. 
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