Centre County Planning and Community Development Office
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Casey Sennett

Liberal Arts Major: Anthropology, History, Jewish Studies
Minor: Middle Eastern Studies, Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies, and Global and International Studies
Hometown: Philipsburg, Pennsylvania
Experience Time: Spring 2022

Give us a brief summary of your experience?

This semester, I served as the Historical Preservation Intern for the Centre County Planning and Community Development Office (CCPCDO). During the internship, I researched the Rodef Shalom Jewish Cemetery in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, which is located about fifteen minutes north of State College. I also wrote and researched bibliographies for a dozen individuals buried in Rodef Shalom. Each bibliography included information I found through physical archival research at the PA Room in Bellefonte and online research through the databases on the Pennsylvania Newspaper Archive, Ancestry, and Family Search.

How did this experience impact you academically?

My internship with the CCPCDO overlaps with my thesis topic, which is an ethnographic and historical study of the Jewish communities of Central Pennsylvania. The research I conducted for the internship helped me gain a deeper understanding of the Jewish community of Bellefonte in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It also allowed me to learn more about the history of the Jewish institutions in Bellefonte, which will aid me in my thesis research.

"This experience made me realize I can work within the government and still pursue my passion for the preservation of Jewish history."

How will this experience impact your career goals?

This experience made me realize I can work within the government and still pursue my passion for the preservation of Jewish history. While I intend to work for a Jewish history or Holocaust museum after I graduate, the CCPCDO internship allowed me to experience a professional environment outside of a museum. Through the experience, I also enhanced my research skills both in physical archives and online, which will make me more marketable in the future.

How has the College of the Liberal Arts helped you to find and/or succeed in this experience (e.g., adviser, faculty, staff, enrichment funds, etc.)?

I learned about this internship through an email from the Department of History with different internship opportunities. Dr. Milligan, the Internship Coordinator for the Department of History, was extremely helpful during the CCPCDO application process and helped me through the process of taking this internship for academic credit. I am also grateful for the internship stipend provided through the Department of History.

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

The Paterno Fellows Program has encouraged me to take advantage of countless opportunities while at Penn State. I always feel supported by the program in my endeavors, whether it be an internship, research, or study abroad experience.

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