Education and Human Services Internship Success Stories

Embarking on Careers that Change Lives.

PennWest California students from the College of Education and Human Services are gaining invaluable career experience. Explore their stories and find inspiration for your own.

Kim Zukauckas, Elementary Education Services Major

Intern, Rainbow's End Learning Center, Washington, Pa. 

"My experience really gave me the opportunity to not only grow as a future educator, but as a person."

Kim Zukauckas interned as a teacher's aide in the Pre-K Counts/5-year-old classroom at Rainbow's End Learning Center–a position she found through PennWest California's Internship Center. A typical internship day at Rainbow's End included greeting the children and parents in the morning, participating in circle time in the morning and in activities with the children throughout the day, serving meals and snacks, and putting the children down for their naps.

The best part of the internship, according to Zukauckas, was, "getting the opportunity to work with this age group of children outside of a regular classroom/school." And above all she learned that patience is key to being a successful teacher. "To have a child trust you," she says, "you have to build that relationship with the child first. It could be as little as playing Candyland. You're still building the child's trust."

Adam Laird, Professional Golf Management Major

Intern, Bhutan Youth Golf Association, Thimphu, Bhutan 

"This was an amazing experience which I will never forget."

Adam Laird flew halfway around the world to spend three months interning as the assistant program director of the Bhutan Youth Golf Association. His day-to-day responsibilities consisted of organizing and running junior golf clinics, tournaments, cultural events, and field trips for the young village children of Thimphu. 

A standout experience from the internship included meeting and having dinner with the Indian Ambassador for Bhutan (Laird gave the ambassador's son a few golf lessons).  At the dinner, the ambassador shared a story of how he met Nelson Mandela, the world leader and former president of South Africa. Another exciting experience for Laird was taking golf students to the Tiger's Nest Monastery, one of the most famous and holy Buddhist sites in the world. 

From this internship, Laird says he learned, "that not everyone in the world is nearly as fortunate as I am. Many people all around the world are suffering, and that there are things I can give of myself to help.  Also, I learned that I like working with children more than I thought previous to my internship."

Leandra Hickman, Elementary Education Services Major

Intern, The Make-A-Wish Foundation, Phoenix, Ariz.  

"Getting an internship with the Make-A-Wish Foundation was one of the best choices I made in regards to my education. I learned so much from the hands-on experience and realized that working for a nonprofit organization was something I would like to pursue in my future career."

Leandra Hickman became interested in interning at The Make-A-Wish Foundation because both of her younger sisters are Make-A-Wish recipients and she'd always found fundraising appealing. While interning, Hickman handled numerous tasks related to fundraising for three staff members. She wrote thank you letters when donations were received and wish stories on the wishes that were funded by these donations. She also created promotional materials on fundraising programs, performed research on prospective donors and worked on special events for the organization.

Hickman found that writing the wish stories was extremely rewarding, because she was able to sit down with a file and read all about a wish kid and turn those facts into a story for donors to enjoy. "I have learned a good deal about fundraising for a nonprofit and the process that must be completed," she says. "Also, I have really developed my writing skills by creating wish stories on a daily basis."