Deciding whether or not to apply for an internship can be a difficult decision. During the application process, one has many factors to consider: What will I learn, will the experience be worth it, is the internship paid or unpaid, and how much will it cost to live where I’ll be working? In this post, I’ll try to answer some of the frequently asked questions prospective interns have, while also giving a brief overview of my experience at APSCUF in Harrisburg this summer.
Before I begin, however, I want to recognize those who made this experience possible. Dr. Kevan Yenerall, my internship adviser, has played an indispensable role in my development and growth as I study Pennsylvania politics. His commitment to students is unparalleled, and I am grateful to have him as my professor and adviser at Clarion University.
Here in Harrisburg, I’d also like to express my gratitude to a few individuals. Kathryn Morton and Sean Crampsie, my internship supervisors, are incredibly talented professionals and have served as tremendous mentors during my time with APSCUF. Kathryn is the consummate communications director, and Sean knows our state legislature inside and out. Finally, I’d like to thank Dr. Mash and the APSCUF staff for their kindness and willingness to help me whenever I had a question or need.
Here’s what you need to know about the internship. First, if financing a summer in our state’s capital is a concern, don’t let this stop you from applying. APSCUF provided an apartment while also paying $11 an hour to work 35 hours each week. My only notable expenses were for groceries and parking.
Over the course of my 10 weeks in Harrisburg, I shadowed lobbyists, interviewed legislative assistants, and met state representatives and senators. Also, I gained valuable public-relations skills, such as learning how to write a column for a newsletter and interviewing an APSCUF member.
A normal day for me would entail waking up around 6 a.m., going for a run (I’m training for a marathon.), then heading to work around 7:45 (I parked about a mile away from the office.). The work day runs from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. with an hour for lunch. After work ended, I’d usually go to the gym for an hour, come home and eat dinner, then go to bed and recharge for the following day. It sounds boring at first, but it’s a process I came to love and embrace.
My advice to anyone interested in this program is to have confidence in yourself but go into every situation with an open mind. Be ready to learn. Ask questions. That’s what this entire thing is about. Also, don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Harrisburg is a microcosm of any major political environment — and in a way is one in and of itself. Talk to people, get their cards, and follow up. Lastly, have fun. South central Pennsylvania is in proximity to the major metropolitan areas of Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington D.C., and New York City. I even went up for a weekend to visit some family in Connecticut. Take advantage of this great opportunity to do some exploring and make your friends jealous while they sit by the pool all summer. Good luck!
—John Danvers, APSCUF intern