MCKEESPORT, Pa. — As part of its 2020-25 Strategic Plan, Penn State Greater Allegheny committed to strengthening the role of career development and internship experiences in campus degree programs. The results of those efforts were on display at the Inaugural Internship Breakfast and Showcase, held Dec. 8 on the campus. Several students who recently completed an internship shared their experiences and the key lessons they learned.
“Our goal is to ensure that Greater Allegheny students can compete against any college graduate as they interview for jobs,” said Megan Nagel, interim chancellor and chief academic officer. “The internship exists to bridge what students learn in the classroom to what they experience in a professional setting. The career competencies students develop as they engage in meaningful work experiences will set them up for success after graduation.”
Rosemary Martinelli, lecturer in business and communications, is coordinating Greater Allegheny’s internship program and initiated the breakfast to highlight the importance of internships and bring recognition to the students, their work site supervisors and their faculty advisers.
Under her leadership, students completing their degree at Greater Allegheny can register for INTSP 370: Internship Preparation at which time they develop goals for an internship experience, engage in networking, and interview with external internship sites. Throughout their internship, Martinelli meets with the students and their worksite supervisors to ensure their progress aligns with their academic studies, connecting theoretical and practical experiences all while strengthening their professional career competencies.
“The internship exists to bridge what students learn in the classroom to what they experience in a professional setting."
—Megan Nagel , interim chancellor and chief academic officer, Penn State Greater Allegheny
Michael Marks, an information technology major, completed a summer internship as an IT instructor for youth ages 7 to 17 at Lavner Education’s Carnegie Mellon campus. In that role, Marks taught a variety of classes including game design, programming and 3D modeling.
In addition to teaching group classes, Marks also engaged in one-on-one tutoring. He recalled working with one student to bring their idea for a video game to life.
“I never considered myself a teacher, but I enjoyed it,” said Marks. “You get that feeling when you really connect with a student, and they learn something.”
Marks will learn more about the IT world when he begins a second internship this spring with Aramark at PNC Park and Acrisure Stadium.
Communications major Mariah Greene first met Ashley Lynn Priore, founder, president and chief executive officer of Queens Gambit during the Spring 2023 semester when Greene’s COMM 471: Public Relations Methods class did an integrated communications and marketing plan for Priore’s Pittsburgh based non-profit.
This fall, Greene served as an events and communications intern for Queens Gambit, undertaking social media and marketing research.
“I already had a relationship developed with the company, so right off the bat I was able to contribute,” said Greene.
One event to which Green contributed was Chess Week Pittsburgh, an annual event in October to honor and bring awareness to the educational and social impact of chess in the community.
“I researched the best methods for small businesses to gain followers and to bring about brand awareness,” said Green, adding that she received helpful feedback from the non-profit for her work.
Through her internships, Greene said she learned to get comfortable asking for clear expectations, so she was sure she was meeting the organization’s expectations. She also learned not to be afraid of failure, because with failure comes feedback, she said.
Other students presenting at the breakfast included: Calvin Alexander, information technology major; Help Desk Analyst Intern for Ascent Data Joan Young, cybersecurity analytics and operations major, research assistant for the Commonwealth Campus Center Nodes (C3N) Program research project; and Giovanni Scott, business, management and marketing major, Northwestern Mutual.
Also completing internships during the summer or fall were business majors Cameron George, Severn Squibb, Ethan Cole, Ryan Ferris, De'Neisha Williams, Paige Butko and Jordan Francis. Information technology majors included Aayushi Ghandi, Bibeka Regmi, Cade Suddreth, Suphansa Htway and Nabin Dhaurali.
“Forty-eight percent of Penn State Greater Allegheny students identify as first-generation college students and almost half of our student body demonstrates high financial need,” said Nagel. “We believe the emphasis we are placing on well-designed connections between campus experiences and the world of work is imperative to maximize the value of our students’ education.”
To learn more about Greater Allegheny’s internship program, visit the internships website.