Edinboro student completes internship in Harrisburg

Category:  News
Wednesday, February 12th, 2020 at 9:51 PM
Edinboro student completes internship in Harrisburg by Anisa Venner-Johnston
Raudel Franco de Santos, contributed photo

Every year, The Harrisburg Internship Semester (THIS) welcomes students enrolled in Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) who are interested in public policy to work in various departments in the state capital. 

According to the THIS website, “The semester-long internship experience provides [students] with a variety of opportunities with the state government structure, including both the legislative and executive branches, the Democratic and Republican parties, and a variety of agencies that are directly associated with Pennsylvania’s state government.”  

 Raudel Franco de Santos, a third-year political science major at Edinboro University, spent his Fall 2019 semester in this program, working with state prosecutors within the Pennsylvania Department of State. During his time in Harrisburg, Franco worked mostly in administrative law — a body of law that maintains the internal operations and procedures in government agencies and people with license to operate a business. 

“I would review [prior] charges,” Franco said. “I would evaluate [and] summarize the charges to determine whether they violated any terms or codes of regulations. From there, I would give it to an attorney, and they would mail it in and determine if they were going to further prosecute or suspend them.”  

 Before applying to college, Franco struggled with what he wanted to do, but knew he wanted to help people. Edinboro University provided him the opportunity to do so by awarding him the Board of Governors Scholarship. This paid for his tuition in full. 

 “As I applied to college, I struggled to know what I exactly wanted to be when I grew up, but with help from individuals, I realized that I wanted to help people that were facing similar situations as the ones my family did and are currently facing,” Franco explained. “So I chose to follow the career path of becoming an immigration lawyer, because I wanted to help my family and other families alike. This goal brought me to major in political science to help me understand what our country is doing about immigration politically and to help me fully understand the system.” 

 His drive to help others led him to Dr. Gerry Gendlin, associate professor of international politics and Franco’s academic advisor. Gendlin nominated Franco for the internship and encouraged him to apply.  

 “The Harrisburg Internship Semester is a great opportunity for our best political science students. They get real world government experience in a substantive, full-time position that adds perspective to their academic work,” said Gendlin. 

“We generally send one student every semester. Mr. Franco de Santos is not only a good student, he is also a hard-working, career-oriented young man with a great future ahead of him. I nominated him because I was confident he would do well in his internship, that he would benefit from the experience, and that his time in Harrisburg would help him in his professional future. I’m certain I was right.” 

 Despite being the only EU student in attendance, Franco was able to gain experience from the other PASSHE students. 

“Being the only student from Edinboro attending the program was interesting because I was able to compare what other students experience from their respective colleges.” 

 As he finishes up his junior year, Franco looks to the future — taking the LSATs and looking into more internships. 

“I want to maybe take the LSATs this summer,” Franco said. “During the summer, I will probably look at applying to law firms. Chester County has more minorities there and more Hispanics. I know there are more immigration law firms. I would like to get in contact with them and get an internship with them.”  

 Students looking to apply for THIS can visit the official PASSHE website, passhe.edu, for more information.

The internship program accepts 11 students from the PASSHE schools. And while still responsible for their tuition fee, THIS awards students a $3,500 stipend to help them with living expenses for their 3-month program. They can earn up to 15 semester credits.

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