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LGBTQA Student Resource Center
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Lauren Whitley

Major: Psychology
Hometown: Norristown, PA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I had subscribed to the LGBTQA Student Resource Center's listserv when I attended orientation last year. I received an email early last spring saying that applications for internships were due soon. Intrigued, I checked out the process of applying and decided to give it a shot. I did not know anybody at the Center beforehand and had not talked to anyone - I just filled out the application, and a few weeks later I received an email that I got the position.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

The first day of training was nerve-wracking. I walked in as everybody was huddled around conversing with one another and just kind of stood off to the side, waiting for someone to notice me. Thankfully, Brian, our director, introduced himself and saved me from standing silently for much longer. That was the most awkward experience being at the Center, and it is completely my fault. Every experience after that has been great. The staff of the Center and the students that frequent it are extremely welcoming and kind, and coming from a branch campus, it was very comforting. All-in-all I have had good experiences at the Center, and I am very fortunate to be here.

How did this experience impact you academically?

I think this experience has helped me academically. Because I have limited time to get things completed, it forces me to actually plan and use my time wisely. My time management skills have increased and my memory has improved because of my busy schedule. The internship has helped me meet people from different academic fields that I can ask for help if I am not understanding a concept in one of my classes. Not only do I have this experience, but I also have a part-time job, and both of these things motivate me to get my coursework done in the time I have to do them. Academically speaking, I think having an internship has improved my academic performance.

It was not until my second week in the Center that I pictured myself working in a student resource center for LGBTQA students, and I thought that fit...This experience helped me realize my real dreams and figure out my path a little better.

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

Coming into college, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I knew I wanted to help people, and I thought a great way to do that was through psychology. I still had no idea where I wanted to go with it because the options are endless. It was not until my second week in the Center that I pictured myself working in a student resource center for LGBTQA students, and I thought that fit. I had found what I want to do. I want to go into higher education and eventually work in student affairs; I hope to work in Penn State's LGBTQA Student Resource Center. This experience helped me realize my real dreams and figure out my path a little better.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would highly recommend this to other Liberal Arts students. Even if you don't identify in the community, I think it would be a good experience to enhance your ally experience. The Center is an amazingly open and safe space that welcomes anyone and everyone, and I'm very happy to be here.

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