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College of Education > News and Publications > 2016: 04-06 news > Summer interns in higher education graduate program span wide range of student affairs duties

Summer interns in higher education graduate program span wide range of student affairs duties

Penn State students in the College of Education’s higher education graduate program are spanning out around the world this summer in search of three credits for now and experience that will prove invaluable later.

Penn State students in the College of Education’s higher education graduate program are spanning out around the world this summer in search of three credits for now and experience that will prove invaluable later.

Shannon Hagedorn will be involved in academic advising during her internship at Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina.
The program has a student affairs emphasis but the 17 students heading out on internships come from a variety of undergraduate degrees, according to Dave Guthrie, an associate professor in the Department of Education Policy Studies.

“They have a fabulous experience,’’ Guthrie said. “It’s part of their training; it’s part of their education in addition to coursework. Experience is a good teacher.’’

That experience will be acquired at educational institutions ranging from Brown to Berkeley and Arizona State to Australia (Monash). An internship is required between the students’ first and second year and Guthrie and other program administrators prefer they obtain that additional training somewhere other than Penn State.

“In the long run, the summer internship experience will help with other than just the diversification of (their) resume,’’ Guthrie said. “We also say, if your graduate assistantship here is in, say, student activities, maybe again in the interest of expanding your repertoire of skills, look for an internship in orientation for the summer, just to sort of spread yourself out in terms of versatility you bring to the table when you start looking for full-time jobs after you graduate. It’s an additional experience intended to broaden their expertise and their professional identity, in effect.’’

Guthrie said virtually all of the students bring some type of experience to the graduate program. “Their prior work experience spans admissions offices, activities offices, Greek life, student activities, orientation, residence life, student conduct … it’s a nice variety of experiences that they bring to the table when they come here for their master’s degree,’’ Guthrie said.

Russ Norris, of Anniston, Alabama, for example, earned a bachelor of science degree in mathematics and a bachelor of arts in religious studies from Birmingham-Southern College in Alabama. He completed a master of arts in teaching at Duke University and taught in the Durham, North Carolina, public school system before opting to pursue a master’s in higher education (student affairs) at Penn State.

Norris will work in residence life at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, this summer. “I sought an (Association of College and University Housing Officers-International) internship program because I want part of my student affairs career to be in housing,’’ Norris said. “One sees the good, the bad and the ugly in residence life; ResLife work is invaluable experience.’’

Norris said Brown is unique because he will be working in a building that will house primarily STEM students and that Brown hosts multiple ACUHO-I interns each year, allowing him to connect with student affairs professionals from around the country.

Shannon Hagedorn from Manhattan Beach, California, majored in management-consulting and psychology at the University of Notre Dame and will perform academic advising duties during her internship at Furman University in Greensville, South Carolina. Hagedorn will graduate in August after switching from the MS program to the M.Ed. program, she said.

“I deliberately selected The Pennsylvania State University for my graduate studies to gain exposure to a very different system and model of higher education,’’ Hagedorn said. “Being offered a graduate assistantship in career services sealed the deal for me.’’

She said she reviewed an academic plan of Furman’s general education requirements for her curriculum course during the spring semester at Penn State. “I’m looking forward to having the opportunity to work one-on-one with students in an advising capacity to orient them toward their liberal education,’’ Hagedorn said.

“Another one of my responsibilities will be developing the online advising content, which I know will be a tremendous opportunity and very valuable in the future.’’

Megan Nyce of Towson, Maryland, earned a political science degree from York (Pennsylvania) College in 2013, with a minor in music. She will work this summer in Cornell University’s Office of Residential and New Student Program.

“I think this will be a unique experience in that the students involved in this program are high school students, so I’ll be working with undergraduate staff on creating programs relevant to high schoolers,’’ Nyce said.

“My supervisor for the summer mentioned possibly working on the overall assessment and evaluation of the Summer College Program, so I’m looking forward to that as well.’’

Anna Jantz will perform a number of residence life duties during her summer internship at the University of California-Berkeley.
Anna Jantz of Owego, New York, attended Elmira College in upstate New York and earned a dual degree in history and American Studies. She’ll work in residence life at the University of California at Berkeley and be a summer sessions assistant hall director.

“I hope to gain the personal and professional confidence to take more risks and transition into new environments,’’ said Jantz, who has never been to the West Coast. "This internship allowed me the opportunity to take a risk on myself while transitioning into a whole new place across the country.

“I hope this internship will help me develop a willingness to jump into new opportunities with both feet even when they make me nervous.’’

Christine Mosich is Australia-bound. She’ll be working at Monash University in Melbourne as an administration support officer but will maintain a Penn State connection.

One of two major projects on which she’ll work is mapping course units at Monash and Penn State in order to assist Penn State students in taking useful units with Monash to help their degree progression. The other is planning, coordinating and implementing an incoming orientation week for more than 500 international students.

If any of the students encounter problems, they know they can call Carl Ohlson, the professor of record for their three-credit course and an associate professor of higher education.

“Students’ primary efforts are on their job responsibilities, but we stay connected at least weekly throughout the internship via email, phone, Skype, etc.,’’ Ohlson said. “We do this so I can monitor how everything is going and so the students can accomplish their course requirements. This includes responding to several reflection prompts, researching articles that help illuminate aspects of their experiences and exploring through conversation different aspects of their growth along the way.

“So my role is part mentor, part teacher, part Sherpa guide, part sounding board. This is a ton of fun, and since I’ve gotten to know these students throughout the academic year, we already have a good jump on how best to work together,’’ he said.

"We have great students who pick excellent internships, and the feedback from on-site supervisors has been overwhelmingly positive. It’s really fun to see their growth throughout the experience.''--Carl Ohlson

Ohlson said his trouble-shooting duties are minimal. “Sometimes challenges can arise just because life happens,’’ he said. “I’ve seen a shift in supervisor, an elaboration of job expectations, a tense situation with a supervisor who really didn’t know how to supervise, but those were pretty easy to resolve.

“Otherwise, it’s all been very smooth. We have great students who pick excellent internships, and the feedback from on-site supervisors has been overwhelmingly positive,’’ Ohlson said. “It’s really fun to see their growth throughout the experience.’’

Guthrie said the summer experience allows the students to get a glimpse at their future. Some decide that working at smaller colleges and universities is preferable while others opt for the major-college variety.

“They end up going to all kinds of different places after they graduate; in the student affairs area there’s variety but there’s still a constellation of things there are to do,’’ Guthrie said. “My guess is that some of them will consider going on for doctoral work, which is great, but I think that in the moment they’re interested in professional careers in a particular arena within student affairs.

“Our students become pretty nice hires because they already have a year of grad school under their belt and a year of being a graduate assistant under their belt. Most of them have previous experience before they came here; they’re very attractive candidates for summer work. They’re hired pretty quickly,’’ Guthrie said.


ANNA JANTZ—UC-Berkeley, Residence Life, Summer Sessions Assistant Hall Director: In my position as the Assistant Hall Director at Berkeley, I will supervise and train a staff of Resident Assistants as well as oversee a residence hall. Also I will have the opportunity to handle conduct concerns, participate in campus duty rotations and develop connections with other offices within Student Affairs. In addition to my experience at Berkeley, through my internship I will also have the chance to visit other institutions in the Bay Area.

VICTORIA YU—Brown University, Office of Residential Life: I will be working with the Brown University Pre-College Summer Program which enrolls over 5,000 high school students from all over the world to explore academic enrichment and intellectual growth. Students attend courses ranging from one to seven weeks with hundreds of courses to choose from. As the activities director, I will assist in coordinating over 800 programs and activities for the Pre-College Summer Program, supervising undergraduate staff and fostering a welcoming and inclusive community at Brown.

MEG NYCE—Cornell University, Office of Residential and New Student Programs: I will be working for the Summer College Program. The program is an opportunity for about 200 high school students to live on campus and take classes for the summer. I will be supervising a staff of community advisors, working on programming and working on some of the administrative aspects of the program.

PAIGE CUDDIHY—Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Office of Orientation: I will be working with the director and assistant director of orientation to supervise student orientation coordinators and student orientation leaders. I will be executing one-day transfer orientation sessions, two-day, first-year orientation sessions and online orientation sessions. During the first-year and transfer sessions, I will be playing a role in all things from check-in, parent presentations, student presentations, small student-group discussions and the Shark Cup Challenge, which is a fun tournament of various activities that new students participate in on their first night at orientation.

PAM GIGLIOTTI—Arizona State University, Guest and Conference Services (University Housing): I will be on a team of six interns to help coordinate about 85 conferences that will be housed at Arizona State this summer. There is a large diversity and variety in the conferences that will be coming to ASU this summer and I will serve as a point-of-contact for some of the conference organizers. I will help supervise, train and schedule the 38 summer conference assistants who are current ASU students. I will also gain experience in building management as I will do pre and post conference building walk-throughs to assess any building damage, oversee keys and access cards inventory and assist with billing.

DEVIN CARPENTER—SUNY Purchase College, Office of Community Engagement: As the NODA orientation intern I will work with numerous offices on campus to plan and implement components of the summer orientation program. I will work primarily in supervising the student orientation coordinators and assisting them with planning and carrying out summer orientation leader training.

CHRISTINE MOSICH—Monash Abroad, Global Engagement Office at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia: I will be working full time as an administration support officer for two months. The two main projects I will be assisting with are to help plan, coordinate and implement an incoming orientation week for more than 500 international students and start planning and coordinating a project that maps course-units at both universities to assist Penn State students in taking useful units with us to help their degree progression.

KERRI MUSICK—SUNY-Brockport, Undergraduate Admissions: Review applications, serve as advisor on duty, develop new staff training, assist in communication plan for target populations.

SARAH MONTELEONE—Clarkson University, Student Life graduate intern working in the Office of Student Life and Engagement: I will be helping with the planning of their fall orientation, fall volunteer fair and family weekend. I will be moderating some of the social media pages and answering question from incoming students and managing logistics for pre-orientation trips.

RUSS NORRIS—Brown University, residence life: My task is to manage a staff of undergraduate RAs and a residential building for pre-summer college program participants. The exceptionally fun part is that these are STEM middle and high school folks, so I’ll be indirectly working with students perhaps similar to those whom I taught in my teaching career.

JESSICA BARTKO—Arizona State University, Guest and Conference Services Office: I will be working with five other interns to help the university with conference management (check-in, supervising undergrad conference assistants, supporting customers) and doing some guest housing operations as well as being an on-duty staff member for housing.

SHANNON HAGEDORN—Academic advising at Furman University: Collaborate with the Assistant Academic Dean for Advising and the Director of New Student Orientation to develop and coordinate a new Virtual Summer Advising Program for incoming first-year and change-of-campus students; train summer advisors and orientation staff in the new systems prior to orientation to ensure consistency; provide one-on-one academic advising to first-year students, reviewing General Education Requirements and course selection processes to enthusiastically welcome them and prepare them for success in their careers at Furman University; observe schedule Academic Affairs meetings, including the Academic Intervention Team and Behavioral Intervention Team.

MADDIE WEISS—Philadelphia University, Office of Student Engagement: I will be co-supervising 20 orientation leaders, which includes their training program. I will be the team lead for all Family and Explore Philadelphia Programs, but will assist the other intern with the First Year and Transfer sessions, too. These roles include some duty rotation for overnight sessions, working with Residence Life for housing assignments, planning Welcome Week and an assessment and evaluation of the programs I will be leading.

MADDIE ROSSMAN—St. John’s University, Collegeville, Minnesota, Housing and Campus Life: I will be the Campus Life intern at St. John’s. I will be doing facility management, conduct, RA supervision and RA training. I will also help with Welcome Week planning and aid with move-in.

MICHAEL MORESI—Northwestern University, Residential Services: I will be working with both Conference Services and Residential Life to provide a variety of services for the guests and students.

ANAY POPE—Penn State University, Office of Multicultural Programs/Summer College Opportunity Program in Education: I will be an instructional support assistant and be responsible for teaching academic content, providing study skills and fostering an environment for learning while students are in study halls. I am currently studying engaged scholarship and how programming can be used to teach academic content and how academic content can be used to guide programming we assess learning across both areas.

SARA PIERCEPenn State University, Academic Adviser and Consultant for New Student Orientation program: My role will have me conducting one-on-one and group conversations with students enrolled at University Park about their educational plan. The focus is to engage students in reflecting on their academic goals and identifying the most appropriate enrollment unit. This include working with students in the Division of Undergraduate Studies to help them identify their goals, interests and strengths. Advisers then assist students in selecting and registering for appropriate courses.

Jim Carlson (May 2016)