Malika Fields, a senior communication and Spanish dual major from Pittsburgh, is currently working in the prosecution department of the Pennsylvania Department of State as part of The Harrisburg Internship Semester (THIS).
The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) sponsored THIS since 1989. THIS, which is open to juniors and seniors of any major from all 14 PASSHE universities, gives students the opportunity to work in various areas of state government through direct involvement and research.
Last semester, while Fields was part of the Presidential Search Committee, she decided to apply for the internship after discussing THIS with Kathleen Howley, PASSHE deputy vice chancellor for academic and student affairs.
“[The internship] kind of sparked my interest, so I looked further into it and it just seemed like something that I would like to try out and would like to do, so I went ahead and applied,” Fields said.
During the 15-week internship, all interns can earn 15 credits: nine from the internship placement, three from participation in academic seminar and three from an individualized project requiring research and analysis. Fields and the 10 other students from various PASSHE universities were also given stipends to cover living expenses for the semester.
So far this semester, interns have attended orientations and meetings and toured the Capitol building. For her placement in the prosecution department, specifically, Fields has listened to complaint hearings through professional boards and helped draft legal documents, which she said was especially beneficial since she is considering law school after graduation.
Fields hopes that, as a result from the internship, she can advance herself professionally and network with as many people as possible.
“I think relationship building is the most important thing on my list, aside from obviously my courses and internship. I think it’s going to be more beneficial in the long run to meet more people here,” Fields said.
Additionally, Fields said THIS added to her interest in law, a career path she never thought of as a communication and Spanish double major.
“Use it as an opportunity to explore other careers because it’s nice to be able to know if you like to do something before you hope into this profession,” Fields said.