Royal Experience Program Helps University of Scranton Students with Summer Internships

Sep 7, 2016

An age-old problem for college students has been the inability to get a job without experience and the inability to get experience without a job. The internship has always been the logical answer, but for many students an unpaid internship has been a stumbling block.

The new Royal Experience Summer Internship Program at The University of Scranton helped ease that burden for 13 students, who were selected from a competitive pool of 79 to receive a stipend of up to $4,000 to offset the burden of having accepted a meaningful but unpaid internship. The program is made possible by the philanthropy of the University’s Parents’ Executive Council and the generosity of alumni and friends of the University.

Margaret Dodgson, a junior biochemistry major from Olyphant, was one of the select 13 and chose to stay at the University to complete her internship as a molecular biology research assistant. She focused her research on birds but noted the techniques she used to decode their genetic makeup can be applied to humans as well.

The internship, she said, was “an amazing opportunity to develop skills that I can transfer to other research labs in my future career,” said Dodgson, who hopes to pursue a medical career. “I believe that the field of molecular biology and genetics will be a central part of the future of health care.”

Senior Christopher Louin won a coveted spot in the Mayor’s Internship Program of Philadelphia. The Doylestown resident said his assignment was especially meaningful because he was unsure of the real-world applications of his electronic commerce major and operations management minor.

Louin worked in Philadelphia’s Department of Public Records and said it took him only two weeks to discover how much non-computer-related information he could learn.

“I have always thought I was good at communicating with people, but this internship showed me there is still much more I need to learn,” he said, explaining he spent Fridays working on group projects with students from Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania. Initially a bit intimidated, he found that it took only two meetings for him to settle in and for his group to communicate well.

Daniel Muenkel, a sophomore accounting and finance major from Hopewell Junction, New York. interned at the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission and found himself among mostly graduate students, but working alongside them only increased his intake of in-depth information, he said.

 “I could not be more grateful for this opportunity,” he said, noting he learned a tremendous amount about financial markets, particularly their regulatory aspects, in a short period of time.

The Royal Experience program is modeled after a successful program at Boston College, said Christina Whitney, director of the Gerard R. Roche Center for Career Development. Rising sophomores, juniors and seniors in good academic standing who accept an eight- to 12-week unpaid internship with a minimum of 200 hours can apply. Selected students were required to submit blog posts (LINK during the summer, among other requirements.

Two Royal Experience interns gave their time to Scranton organizations or firms. Matthew Busch, a senior neuroscience major from Mahwah, New Jersey, interned at The Friendship House, and Kylie Mignat, a junior international studies/German cultural studies and Hispanic studies major from Canadensis, interned at TMH Law Offices.

Other Royal Experience students and their internships were:

▪ Marissa DeStefano, a junior psychology major from Martinsville, New Jersey, interned with Good Grief in Morristown, New Jersey.

▪ Alex Gardner, a senior chemistry and philosophy major from Moscow interned with the REU Program at Miami University of Ohio.

▪  Gretchen Selinski, a junior entrepreneurship major from Hanover, Maryland, interned with Weight Watchers in Towson, Maryland.

▪  Megan Bershefsky, a senior electronic commerce major from Factoryville, interned with the Democratic National Committee in Washington, D.C.

▪ Alyssa Purdy, a senior biology major from Syracuse, New York, interned with the Onondaga County Health Department in Syracuse.

▪  Emily Darcy, a junior journalism/electronic media major from Lynbrook, New York, interned with WHHI-TV in Hilton Head, South Carolina.

▪  Margaret Blount, a junior exercise science major rom Hanover, Maryland, interned with Pivot Physical Therapy in Columbia, Maryland.

▪  Kaitlyn Leithauser, a senior occupational therapy major from Washington Township, New Jeresy, interned at Atrium Post Acute Care in Park Ridge, New Jeresy.

“It was a dream to start this program,” Whitney said. “It was so exciting when we contacted students and told them they were selected; it was the best day of the year.”

For more information on the program, contact Whitney at 570-941-7460 or email

Emily Darcy, a journalism/electronic media major at The University of Scranton, was among 13 University of Scranton students who participated in the new Royal Experience Summer Internship Program at Scranton that provided financial support to students pursing an unpaid summer internship. Darcy interned with WHHI-TV in Hilton Head, South Carolina.

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