APSCUF is committed to providing Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education students the opportunity to intern with the union’s public-relations and government-relations department. Students from all 14 State System campuses are eligible to apply for APSCUF’s internship. We reconnected with some past interns to discuss the impact of this internship on their careers and professional development.
Abbey Ford was the intern in the summer of 2019. Since graduating from Millersville University in 2019, Ford has worked on various electoral campaigns, spanning from the New York City Council election to the presidential election of 2020. She currently works for the Democratic Association of Secretaries of State as the associate director of operations.
“Many of the skills and lessons learned during my internship are easily transferable into the world of electoral politics,” Ford said. “Both with union work and with campaigns, you have to be an effective communicator and be able to bring coalitions together to reach your desired goals.”
Alexandria Mansfield interned in the winter of 2016–17.
“Anyone who is considering the internship should absolutely give it a shot!” the Indiana University of Pennsylvania graduate said.
Mansfield is the growth-and-development reporter for the Florida Times-Union, where she pitches and researches stories, conducts interviews, and writes articles.
Prior to her current job, Mansfield held positions as a political reporter, education reporter, copy editor, and managing editor at various newspapers.
“The skills you learn in a public- and government-relations role — from public speaking to networking to more about how these jobs work and who is in them — are unparalleled,“ Mansfield said. “An internship like this is a great experience for any college student and can be extremely helpful in testing out career opportunities.”
Slippery Rock University graduate Lindsey Newton interned for APSCUF in the summer of 2017. Newton became the service coordinator for the Human Services Administration Organization in Pennsylvania, responsible for making referrals to long-term treatment facilities, tracking patient progress until discharge, and managing after-discharge services including therapy and medication management.
“This internship solidified my interest in social policy,” Newton said. “I am excited to explore the policy side of government relations in the future.”
Melissa Stough was the intern during the summer of 2021 and earned a bachelor’s degree from Kutztown University. Stough is attending Kutztown University for the M. Ed. program in student affairs in higher education administration. Since completing the APSCUF internship, Stough has held multiple positions, including intern at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and online course facilitator at Columbia University.
“I would say research and communication were the areas most enhanced by the APSCUF internship,” Stough said. “I learned how to communicate with legislators and other stakeholders in Harrisburg and beyond. I felt empowered and passionate about the advocacy work I was doing with APSCUF, and it has definitely influenced the opportunities I look for now.”
Fall 2017 intern Brendan Leahy works for the Pennsylvania Medical Society in their association-management division. Some of his responsibilities in this role include managing finances, planning meetings, and overseeing the basic governance of nonprofit organizations. Leahy discussed how beneficial the internship was in preparing him for the basic day-to-day operations of the organization.
“APSCUF is pretty similar to the operations of my current organization,“ Leahy said. “I loved jumping into this role at PMS due to the background knowledge I had obtained from APSCUF.”
The Shippensburg University graduate described communication as the biggest skill he developed during his internship.
“Creating messaging to reach target audiences and broader audiences is a skill that APSCUF helped shape,” he said.
As a communication/journalism major, Leahy was excited that the internship provided him with an experience in government relations.
Corrinne Ulrich interned in summer 2016 and is a graduate of Mansfield University
“APSCUF was my first professional position,” Ulrich said. “I learned how to hone my writing skills with various articles I was tasked with writing. I also learned the administrative side of various social-media platforms, which helped me through my career when needing to advertise job openings on social media.”
Ulrich works in human resources for Stephenson Equipment in Pennsylvania. Some of her responsibilities include interviewing, handling payroll, offering positions to job applicants, and managing new-hire orientation.
“My internship with APSCUF was great and solidified my desire to work in HR,” she said.
Bloomsburg University graduate Kyle Bower interned during the summer of 2020. Kyle is currently working as an account coordinator for Prosio Communications in Roseville, Calif. Prosio Communications is a public-relations, marketing, and community-outreach firm that specializes in public health and safety. Bower assists in creating messaging on behalf of government agencies.
“My writing and communication skills improved dramatically during my time with APSCUF,” Bower said. “Before APSCUF, I did not feel particularly comfortable speaking face to face with people, and my writing skills were still developing. Working at APSCUF acted as a springboard for my professional life, and I’m incredibly grateful that they gave me that opportunity.
“APSCUF certainly increased my confidence, which helped me in job interviews, and has been extremely beneficial for communicating with superiors and clients.”
Fall 2018 intern Sydney Miller is an associate at Ridge Policy Group, a lobbying firm in downtown Harrisburg that is responsible for state representation of client interests before the Pennsylvania General Assembly. Miller develops and maintains relationships inside and outside the Capitol.
“APSCUF was a great opportunity to learn more about the public-relations side of politics/labor unions while also getting to learn more about the happenings in the Capitol,” Miller said. “The internship gave two different perspectives all in one. It helped to develop my reading and writing skills while also learning the best way to pick out key items in legislation.
“My time at APSCUF solidified where I wanted to be in politics. I knew I wanted to help my community in a broader way but was unsure of how to get there. Seeing how the APSCUF community came together for a common goal proved that engagement and determination was important.”
Click here to read more about the APSCUF internship. The 2023 application will be posted in the fall.