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This semester, West Chester senior political science major Yheralis Lantigua of Philadelphia is getting first-hand experience in her field as she works for state Senator Vincent Hughes (D-Philadelphia). She will gain valuable insight into the workings of state government at the policy-making level as she completes a 15-week internship sponsored by the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE).
Lantigua, who is concentrating in public policy and is also completing a Latin American studies minor, joins students from each of the other 13 PASSHE universities as a participant in The Harrisburg Internship Semester (THIS) program. THIS interns enjoy the opportunity to work in all areas of state government while earning a full semester’s worth of credits. They attend several academic seminars and complete an individualized research project as part of the program's requirements.
"I was motivated to apply for the THIS internship after interning with West Chester Borough Mayor Carolyn Comitta. Through that internship, I got to experience local policy on a smaller and more intimate scale so it made me want to experience local policy on a larger scale like in the city of Harrisburg. Also, my professors and the chair of my department [Peter Loedel] advised me that the THIS internship in Harrisburg would be an enriching educational opportunity for a lifetime.Lantigua is the daughter of Xiomara Mercedes and is a 2009 graduate of Philadelphia';s Northeast High School. She is WCU's Black and Latino Greek Council President and Vice President, Alpha Alpha Chapter, Chi Upsilon Sigma National Latin Sorority.
She is also in the fast track five-year program at West Chester for the master's in public administration. Following completion of her master's degree, she plans to work for the Senate. "I would love to create and then implement policies that will improve the education system,"; she says.
More than 500 students from PASSHE universities have participated in THIS since the program began in 1989. Interns have worked with dozens of state agencies, as well as in the offices of the governor, the speaker of the House of Representatives and the attorney general.
For more information on the program, visit http://www.passhe.edu/this.