Bloomsburg University student Kyle Bower was APSCUF’s summer government-relations and communications intern. Click here to learn more about APSCUF’s internship. APSCUF file photo
I applied to APSCUF’s internship program needing to fulfill a graduation requirement. I was fortunate to have a professor who is a member of the Bloomsburg APSCUF chapter. One day she sent me an email with a three-character message: “FYI” and a hyperlink leading to the APSCUF internship application. Before this, I had never heard of APSCUF, even though I had felt its effect during the fall 2016 strike. And although the university asked me to detail my expectations for the internship, the truth is I had little sense of what to anticipate. On a logical level, I had an idea of what the experience would entail, but I did not imagine that I would feel a connection with the organization, the team members and my work experience because it didn’t even really cross my mind. I’m sure it is no surprise to anyone familiar with APSCUF and its internship that the job is a wonderful opportunity in an enjoyable working environment, but I must stress that I am truly, truly happy that I stumbled into this lovable group that nurtured my development in a way that blows my other working experiences clean out of the water.
How do I properly commemorate APSCUF and go beyond a simple obligatory round of thank-you’s, without getting too gushy? First, it is important that everyone know — or be reminded — that there is a mutual respect and appreciation between the members of the APSCUF team that extends to the interns. I felt as if I was treated like an adult more so then I have in my entire life, and that is no exaggeration. There was a remarkable balance between being offered help without ever feeling condescended to, and a level of trust in my abilities that I really appreciated. In addition to the work I did and the support I had, I learned a lot just from watching my supervisors, our president and others on calls, videos, etc. Needless to say, they do an amazing job, and I could see how well they carried themselves, how organized they were and how well-respected APSCUF is.
I had a sense of responsibility with APSCUF that I have not experienced before. Being tasked with interviewing members, giving meaningful input on policy issues, and writing stories and posts for the website and social media all made me feel like I was doing meaningful, appreciable work —and that is something I crave. Something I know we all deserve. I speak with full sincerity when I say that I’ve looked back on the stories that I’ve written for the website and felt a deeply satisfying sense of gratification. I’d even be so bold as to say I feel sentimental about my time with APSCUF, despite the fact that my internship was entirely remote and only lasted 10 weeks. While being remote meant that I had less opportunity to spend time getting to know my co-workers and to meet legislators, my supervisors were great about keeping me connected. I was still able to meet and make connections with the team members, and I attended virtual meetings and public hearings. In fact, one of the first things APSCUF interns do is meet all of the department heads individually. This is such a simple gesture, yet so poignantly emblematic of what students get with an APSCUF internship.
There is too much to talk about to give a full picture of my experience at APSCUF and my appreciation for what it’s done for me and for young minds across the State System. I wish more students knew about APSCUF and understood its impact, but I will be sure to spread the word as far as I can. I also wish I could have spent time with the team in person, but even through virtual meetings and phone calls I feel as though I’ve made some valuable connections and made some wonderful friends.
Thank you to Kathryn and Sean for hiring me and guiding me, and thank you to Jamie Martin and the rest of the APSCUF team for being so supportive and welcoming. It was a short few months, but I will forever look back on them fondly.