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Schreyer Honors College
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Madison Plummer

Major: International Politics, Spanish, Criminology
Hometown: Camp Hill, PA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

After "gatewaying" into the SHC as a Paterno Fellow, I scheduled an appointment with Lisa Kerchinski, the Director of Career Services at Schreyer, to discuss upcoming summer opportunities and post-undergraduate plans. During our appointment, the discussion led to talk of fellowships and "alternative" career paths (i.e., working for a non-profit organization, pursuing a scholarship abroad, completing a year of service after Penn State, etc.). Lisa wanted to promote alternative career path programming at Penn State, and since I demonstrated interest in this field, she asked if I would work with her as an intern over the summer. I assisted Ms. Kerchinski in the logistics of SHC Mentoring with Honors Program for the 2017-18 academic year, and I worked with her to brainstorm and develop the intended launch for Alternative Programming.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

I had a wonderful experience working with Ms. Kerchinski and the Schreyer Honors College this summer. I gained valuable experience in both the internal and external sides of program planning, learned and connected with various alumni, and attained information regarding post-undergraduate opportunities. I developed a new appreciation for the amount of hard work and detail goes into programming at Penn State. The wealth of information I amassed regarding alternative career paths has led me to pursue a gap year between my undergraduate studies at Penn State and my future plans of attending law school. If it were not for this internship, I would not have discovered exciting opportunities for all students, nor would I have established invaluable relationships with both Penn State staff and alumni.

The internship enabled me to explore the various career paths Penn State alumni have pursued since graduating.

How did this impact you academically?

This internship impacted me academically by introducing a variety of non-traditional, post-undergraduate opportunities, which I now intend on pursuing. Until this summer, I was unaware of the various fellowships, scholarships, and service prospects that exist for young professionals with a bachelor’s degree. I knew that I wanted to pursue a law degree after finishing my undergraduate education at Penn State, but after this internship, I now want to take a gap year studying legal systems in a foreign country through a fellowship grant. Furthermore, the internship enabled me to explore the various career paths Penn State alumni have pursued since graduating. I learned about the different ways to utilize a variety of degrees, interests, and backgrounds in the workforce.

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

After finishing my undergraduate studies at Penn State, I would like to pursue a degree in law where I practice either international law, civil liberties law or a combination of both. My ultimate career goal is to help others and society as a whole reach due justice. I originally thought I would attend law school immediately after undergrad, but after this internship, I am considering taking a gap year where I would pursue a fellowship grant studying or working in a foreign country. This internship introduced me to the plethora of opportunities that exist for young adults abroad; from English teaching positions, to advanced study programs, to service projects, it seems as though the opportunities are endless. Ultimately, this internship helped see the ways I can achieve my ultimate career goal through different, unusual outlets.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I highly recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students. Whether it is working in Schreyer or another department on campus, working with a variety of different people and learning about the opportunities that the university has to offer can be a wonderful experience and can open doors in unexpected directions.

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

Without being a Paterno Fellow, I would not have become a Schreyer Scholar. Without being a Schreyer Scholar, I would not have met Ms. Kerchinski, nor would I have been offered this internship. Additionally, the Paterno Fellows Program pushes students to achieve excellence in strong leadership capabilities, service, and international awareness. Since my studies at Penn State are focused around these core values, I was able to demonstrate great interest in Ms. Kerchinski’s alternative programming, which ultimately led to the offer of an internship position. Being a Paterno Fellow allowed me to both find this amazing opportunity and work with a program that I have serious interest and commitment in.

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