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Internship with the State College Borough Office of Community Engagement
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Melissa McCleery

Melissa McCleery

Paterno Fellow
Hometown: Coopersburg, PA
Major(s): Women’s Studies, Political Science, Spanish

How did you learn about this opportunity?

When I was looking for an internship I began communicating with staff and faculty at the university who knew me well and knew my interests. I wanted something that would be engaging and rewarding, and that could help me learn more about some of the fields I was interested in working full-time. I spoke with the advisor for one of my organizations, and he told me about an opportunity he thought would be perfect for me - and it was!

Tell us a little about your experience.

As a community engagement intern for the State College Borough, I was able to have a lot of hands-on experience working within a local government. My intern project was planning a community event in late August designed to help students and long-term residents of the Borough to interact and learn more about each other. In doing this planning, I worked with just about every department in the Borough, from Planning to Administration, to make sure things went smoothly. I also had the opportunity to sit in on lots of routine meetings, which helped me to understand how different offices work together to run a community.

How did this experience impact you academically?

This experience expanded on a lot of things that I learned through my academic classes. This internship has been very hands-on, and has allowed me to explore interests and ask questions in very engaging ways. My internship has also helped me to understand other disciplines that I didn't have much experience with, like Community, Environment, and Development. I was able to see how majors can be applied in the real world.

This internship has been very hands-on, and has allowed me to explore interests and ask questions in very engaging ways.

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

After graduation, I plan on moving to Washington, DC and work in the government or non-profit sector. I'd like to work in a think tank or government consulting agency, and do work that is meaningful and helpful to the surrounding community. My experience with the State College Borough has given me insight into what it takes to manage and improve a small community, and that has certainly increased my respect for the work of government in general. I've also gotten a lot of independence, and that has helped me to learn where my strengths in government lie and areas in which I need to improve.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students? If yes, why?

I would absolutely recommend this experience to other students. It has been rewarding, fun, and I've learned so much about myself and the work I hope to do!

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