Sylvia Klimachefsky

Out of the Cold
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Sylvia Klimachefsky

Liberal Arts Majors: Criminology, Psychology
Hometown: Edison, New Jersey
Experience Time: Summer 2022

Give us a brief summary of your experience?

This summer I was an intern for the non-profit organization Out of The Cold, which is a low-barrier Homeless Shelter located in downtown State College. I assisted with the intake of guests, shadowed case managers, organized an initiative for better health and nutrition, planned events, aided with chores and upkeep of the shelter, as well as compiled community resources. My day-to-day experience was never the same as I learned to manage different needs, priorities, and occasionally conflicts. I had the opportunity to meet so many wonderful people who shared their adversities, wishes, and stories with me.

How did this experience impact you academically?

I was able to have hands-on experience with people who have been formerly incarcerated, as many guests served sentences at the local jails within State College and had no place to return to after their release. Through this internship, I personally learned about the long lasting consequences and hardship of having a criminal record, such as barriers to getting a job, prevalence of untreated mental illness, and oftentimes being in active addiction. This experience opened my eyes to the need for more transitional support programs for people that are coming out of prison.

"I am determined to spread awareness of this issue and find the means to create a smoother transition back into society as well as reduce recidivism through providing adequate healthcare, housing, and access to support services."

How will this experience impact your career goals?

This experience solidified my future interests in criminal justice with a specialization in community outreach, reintegration, and prison reform. It also deepened my understanding of the prison-to-homelessness pipeline that affects so many people within our local communities, and the lack of resources available for those who struggle in reentering society. I am determined to spread awareness of this issue and find the means to create a smoother transition back into society as well as reduce recidivism through providing adequate healthcare, housing, and access to support services.

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.)?

The College of Liberal Arts aided my experience by providing enrichment funding that would help pay for my basic expenses throughout my internship this summer, as my position was unpaid. This greatly alleviated financial stress and allowed me to pursue an opportunity that I was interested in.

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

Through the Paterno Fellows Program and the Schreyer Honors College I had guidance from my Honors Career Advisor who helped me find this opportunity, and connected me with people who shared my career interests and passions. I am very grateful for my experience and for everything that I have learned through this opportunity.

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