When spring semester ends and summer begins, most students plan to relax and let loose, but senior Alizah Thornton of Harrisburg traded poolside barbecues and late-night bonfires for legislative meetings and policy research.
She was the first Clarion University student to intern with the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties.
The APSCUF summer internship combines public relations and government work. As a communication major, Thornton felt comfortable with the public relations side of things, but she wasn't sure what to expect of the government aspect.
"I was nervous at first. It felt like there was a lot of pressure on me to get the job done correctly," said Thornton. "I was timid and shy for the first couple of weeks, but after the third week I got comfortable."
Thornton, the news editor for the Clarion Call, cited her experience with writing and organization as leading factors in her success at APSCUF.
“As the news editor for the university’s student-run newspaper, I was able to practice and develop the skills necessary to become a successful team member in a professional work environment,” she said. “The writing and interviewing skills I’ve gained, along with the guidance I received from my professors, allowed me to feel comfortable and confident in my decision to apply for the APSCUF internship.”
"Alizah was years beyond her time in the level of depth and commitment she could take to a project," said Laura Saccente, APSCUF's associate director of government relations. "She generated new ideas for research that our staff took examples from. She always yearned for more insight and understanding of complex issues."
Thornton says one of the biggest lessons of the internship was simply learning that she could do the job. Thornton wanted to explore new interests in public relations and found success in doing so.