Happy Monday, Mountie Nation!
For this week's Mountie Monday, I chose to feature the Mountie that earned this semester's The Harrisburg Internship Semester (T.H.I.S.) position. T.H.I.S. is a competitive and paid internship through a stipend and is sponsored through the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE). One applicant from each Pennsylvania state university is chosen to represent their school and this year, Kyra Venittelli, was chosen for Mansfield University.
Kyra was placed to work at the Pennsylvania Department of Aging, one of the smallest departments in the Commonwealth that employs around 110 people. She works in the Secretary's office, who is basically the head of the whole department. Needless to say, he is a very busy person and Kyra works under him.
Kyra is loving her experience in Harrisburg, especially because not many interns or even state employees can say that they work beside their department secretary. The tasks that Kyra is assigned includes attending departmental hearings, assiting in the reviewing and editing of materials for the Secretary and other members of the executive staff, attending departmental conferences, meeting with bureau directors within the department, becoming familiar with department programs such as PACE, OAPSA, APS, APPRISE, OPTIONS (etc.), and much more.
The main goal and purpose at the Department of Aging is to enhance the quality of life of all older Pennsylvanians by empowering diverse communities, the family, and the individual. Kyra and the department she works with does this through the many state programs they have to offer.
Major and Minor: Social Work. Minor: Sociology
Hometown: Jackson, NJ
Organizations: Alpha Sigma Tau: Served as Vice President, Risk Management Director, and Alum Liason ;Phi Alpha, Social Work Honors Society: Served as Treasurer; Pi Gamma Mu, Social Sciences Honors Society; Order of Omega, Greek Leadership Honors Society; Social Work Club
What made you choose Mansfield?
Kyra: It was convenient to where my parents moved to in Troy, PA and I liked that it was a small campus, which I knew would lead to more leadership opportunities and strong relationships with the university faculty members.
Favorite professor or class and why?
Kyra: Favorite professor is Dr. Nancy Sidell. She is just so knowledgeable in the field of social work, and is the type of professor that will push you to do your best, and expects nothing less. She is the type of woman and professor that enters a room anc has an immediate presence, and effortlessly commands respect without even realizing it. She has taught me so much, especially in my practice course with her called Practice with Individuals.
Favorite event at Mansfield and why?
Kyra: I really enjoy Homecoming. I love the football games, and when all the different Alumni come up from the University and my sorority. It's just a fun and busy weekend full of events.
Favorite memory from Mansfield:
Kyra: This is a hard one because I have so many. I have a ton of fun memories with the friends I made at Mansfield, especially with my sisters like Stephanie Zimmerman, Brianna Burkhart, Megan Webster, Alyssa Mackie, and Suz Adams. But looking past all the fun I had at Masnfield, my favorite memory of all is when I received my letter from the General saying that he was happy to congratulate me on being picked as the student representing Mansfield University for the T.H.I.S program. It's funny because that letter was sitting on my apartment's kitchen counter for two days because I thought it was a bill statement from the university so I was really trying to put off opening it! But when I finally did, I was so elated that I jumped up and down while my roommates hugged me. I was just so excited.
So far, what is the most important thing you've learned from your internship?
Kyra: If anything, I have learned so much about politics and state government through this internship. Before I started, I knew very little about it, so it was pretty overwhelming and intimidating at first. I have met so many people through the process including several Department Secretaries, different members of the House of Representatives, Senators, and have been to several events where the Governor spoke. Another thing I gained from my internship is how networking is KEY. Networking in government (or any job) is essential, it happens all the time. I have met so many people through networking that have been so kind to help me out whether it was in regards to advice or contact information for potential employment opportunities. My advice to anyone looking for advancement in their careers, epecially college graduates, is to network with anyone and everyone, period.
Bottom line, this internship has taught me so much, and I feel like I have truly grown as a young professional through the experience. I feel like all college students, regardless of their major, should experience an internship and get themselves out there.