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Frostburg State University Named 2016 Public Institution of the Year by America’s Largest Academic Internship Organization
09/14/2016

Frostburg State University has been named the 2016 Public Institution of the Year by The Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars (TWC), America’s largest academic internship program. TWC partners with more than 500 U.S. colleges and universities.

“The Washington Center helps Frostburg arrange summer internships with high-profile organizations in D.C.,” said Amy Shimko, FSU’s director of student development. “These students gain invaluable experiences and connections, and our state’s residents get a great bargain. Maryland students are eligible for a scholarship that covers most of their expenses!”

FSU received praise for the engagement of faculty and staff and the growing number of student participants. TWC also highlighted the diverse academic interests represented among Frostburg’s interns.

TWC works closely with campus liaisons to pair students with the best internship sites before arranging interviews for students with multiple organizations. Students decide which site fits them best. The most recent cohort from Frostburg included nine students from academic disciplines such as Legal Studies, Mass Communication, Psychology, Economics and more.

Students in the program take courses through TWC, volunteer in the community and have regular time for professional development. They also get many opportunities to network.

“I could have worked the typical summer job and made more money, but it wouldn’t have pushed me to grow,” said April Kinyua of Joppa, Md., a senior dual-majoring in political science and international politics with a minor in Spanish. “I wanted to grow as a person, as a professional, as a human.”

Kinyua found a natural fit with the outreach coordinator for the Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute (CHLI). She performed voter outreach, worked events, communicated with CHLI alumni, performed research and drafted memos and correspondences. Her writing was reviewed by senior leaders. Stepping out of her comfort zone meant growing in many ways.

“I’m really glad about the different decisions I made this summer,” Kinyua said. “I feel I’m more prepared for life in general and ready to pursue whatever comes next without any fear or second guessing myself, especially deciding what to do beyond college. ... I’m really happy I went!”

Emily Michael, a senior majoring in English with a concentration in professional writing and minoring in public relations, landed an internship with the Sierra Club, the nation’s largest grassroots environmental advocacy organization. She worked on digital strategies, drafting emails and text alerts, figuring how best to reach their audience.

“I got to draft an email that went out to 2.4 million people! That was really cool,” said Michael, of Cumberland, Md. “And my internship site, they were really encouraging. If there was anything going on in the Capitol, they wanted us to go out and do it. ... They always wanted us to be engaged.”

As a life-long resident of Western Maryland, the experience was Michael’s first opportunity to live in a city – a setting that once intimidated her. Yet Michael and her internship supervisor have remained in touch, and she has been encouraged to apply for a job after graduation. She has discovered a newfound interest in politics.

“It was so overwhelming, but I just went for it and I’m so glad I did,” Michael said. “I made so many friends. ... I definitely became more open to the idea of working in politics. I never had before, but after you live in D.C., it’s all you can think about afterwards. I love the city so much!”

Senior Brandon Holmes of Clinton, Md., an exercise and sports science major and a photographer on FSU’s student Social Marketing Team, interned with Project Fitness, which promotes healthy lifestyles through fitness to build stronger communities through physical activities. Holmes worked on social media promotion, helping integrate Project Fitness’s social media pages into a cohesive digital presence.

“I feel like I know my professional self a lot better and have a lot more direction,” he said.

Beyond the skills Holmes gained, he appreciated the opportunity to network and volunteer in D.C. He also found a new mentor in the CEO of Project Fitness. They still text regularly, trading advice and ideas, and Holmes was invited to apply after graduation. The summer has left him more confident for the future and very grateful for the experience.

“I think the craziest part about it, because we’re Frostburg students, was the scholarship that we get for it,” Holmes said.

Maryland students at public institutions are eligible for a $9,000 TWC scholarship that covers the majority of the costs, with financial aid options available to cover any remaining expenses. The Maryland state scholarship is the largest TWC award offered in the country.

The 2016 Public Institution of the Year Award will be received later in September by a delegation comprised of Shimko, President Ronald Nowaczyk, Vice President for Student Affairs Thomas Bowling and Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs Jeffrey Graham.

Shimko has also been invited to join TWC’s Liaison Advisory Board, which offers advice and feedback to the organization about its programs and initiatives.

For information about the FSU Career and Professional Development Center, call 301-687-4403 or visit www.frostburg.edu/clife/career.

Situated in the mountains of Allegany County, Frostburg State University is one of the 12 institutions of the University System of Maryland. FSU is a comprehensive, residential regional university and serves as an educational and cultural center for Western Maryland. For more information, visit www.frostburg.edu or facebook.com/frostburgstateuniversity. Follow FSU on Twitter @frostburgstate.

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For further information on this release, contact:

Office of News and Media Services
Frostburg State University
101 Braddock Road
Frostburg, MD  21532-2303

Telephone: 301-687-3171
Fax: 301-687-7589
E-mail: news@frostburg.edu