SECU Foundation Internships Help 16 App State Students Develop Professional Skills

BOONE, N.C. — The State Employees’ Credit Union (SECU) Public Fellows Internship Program, funded by the SECU Foundation, afforded nine Appalachian State University students the opportunity to complete unpaid internships over the spring. The program is designed to help students develop their professional skills as they work with leaders of community-based businesses, nonprofits or government agencies, and students receive funding to support themselves during the internship.

The students and their internship sites:

  • Brielle Kaluzny, of Wilmington, a Social Work major who worked in the Guardian Ad Litem Program in the Avery County Courthouse in Newland
  • Sarah Wilson, of Hickory, a Social Work major who interned at the Conover School in Newton-Conover
  • Jessica Bravo, of Charlotte, a Social Work major who completed her internship at Care Ring, a non-profit organization in Charlotte
  • Samantha Joyce, of Mount Airy, also a Social Work major, interned at the Shelter Home of Caldwell County in Lenoir
  • Emily Rodriguez, from Boone, a Social Work major who interned at Caldwell County Dept. of Social Services
  • Megan Broome, of Cherryville, a Social Work major who interned at Horizons Elementary School in Lenoir
  • Shannon Callahan, of Boone, a Social Work major interned at the Wilkes Public Library in North Wilkesboro
  • Freddy Luviano, of Statesville, a senior Social Work major who has completed his internship at the Community Care Clinic in Boone
  • Caroline Johnson, of Rockwell, a Social Work major who interned at Hardin Park Elementary School in Boone
  • Ras-Solomon Tafari, of Salisbury, a Social Work major who interned at Catholic Charities Diocese of Charlotte
  • Natalie Lambert, of Randolph, a Criminal Justice major, interned at the Asheboro Police Department in Asheboro
  • Emily Mcabee, of Buncombe, a Criminal Justice major, interned at the Children’s Advocacy Center in Boone
  • Mary McCullough, of Rowan, a Criminal Justice major, interned at Rowan County Department of Social Services
  • Andrew Plettner, of Mecklenburg, a Political Science major, interned at Ashe County Government
  • Alicia Heath, of Craven, a Criminal Justice major, interned at the NC State Bureau of Investigation
  • Sophie Sheperd, of Mecklenburg, a Criminal Justice major, interned at Gaston County Police Department

“Since 2015, more than 120 Appalachian students have been able to fully invest and focus on a professional, full-time internship thanks to this program,” said Dr. Susan McCracken, director of career development and economic engagement at Appalachian.

“The intern experience greatly enhances students’ education and future career,” she continued. “It has been a real joy to provide students with this opportunity, to see their accomplishments and watch where their career paths move forward. We’re thankful for SECU Foundation’s ongoing partnership and support to make this internship program such a success.”

Intern Rodriguez had this to say about the opportunity provided to her by her internship: “my internships with Caldwell County DSS will give me the impactful learning experiences I need to better serve this community and similar communities as a social worker.”

SECU Foundation’s investment totals $850,000 and provides students with local apprenticeship opportunities in rural, underserved communities. Undergraduate students participating in the Appalachian’s ACCESS program or degree-seeking undergraduate students in the Department of Government and Justice Studies or the Department of Social Work are eligible to apply.

The internship program was first announced in 2015, collaborating with the University of North Carolina System for a three-campus pilot. The success of the pilot, along with the growing need for paid undergraduate internships, led the SECU Foundation to expand the reach to nine universities: Appalachian, East Carolina University, Elizabeth City State University, Fayetteville State University, North Carolina A&T University, UNC Pembroke, UNC Wilmington, Western Carolina University and Winston-Salem State University.

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Appalachian State University senior Brittany Stewart, of Spruce Pine, interned with the Spruce Pine Police Department this summer through the SECU Public Fellows Internship Program. Photo by Ellen Burnette
Appalachian State University senior Appalachian State University senior Anne-Clare Brown, of Albemarle, interned with NCSBI at its Harrisburg office during the summer through the SECU Public Fellows Internship Program. Photo by Ellen Burnette
Appalachian State University senior Colton Moses, of Casar, interned with the Watauga County Courthouse during the summer through the SECU Public Fellows Internship Program. Photo by Ellen Burnette
Appalachian State University senior Alex Taylor, of Salisbury, interned with company Benchmarks during the summer through the SECU Public Fellows Internship Program. Photo by Ellen Burnette
Through the SECU Public Fellows Internship Program, Appalachian State University senior Nastajah Hutchens, of Kings Mountain, interned with the Gaston County District Attorney’s Office during the summer. Photo by Ellen Burnette
Appalachian State University senior Sarah Guzman, of Concord, interned with nonprofit Lily Pad Haven in Charlotte during the summer though the SECU Public Fellows Internship Program. Photo by Ellen Burnette

“The intern experience greatly enhances students’ education and future career. It has been a real joy to provide students with this opportunity, to see their accomplishments and watch where their career paths move forward.” — Dr. Susan McCracken, director of career development and economic engagement at Appalachian

Oct 7