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SECU continues to fund Appalachian internships; 10 students complete 2017 summer internships

By Ken Keuffel

BOONE, N.C.—Ten students from Appalachian State University completed 2017 summer internships in public sector and nonprofit entities of rural and underserved regions of North Carolina as part of a program called the State Employees’ Credit Union (SECU) Public Service Fellows.

Each student intern earns a stipend of $5,000 and six credit hours for the nine- to 12-week internship. 2017 participants and their internship sites are:

  • Kristain Abrams of Columbus (criminal justice major), Rutherfordton County Sheriff’s Department
  • Jules Bouchard of Lawndale (criminal justice major), North Carolina Department of Public Safety – Cleveland County
  • Ashlyn Fish of Carthage (criminal justice major), Moore County Sheriff’s Department
  • Conner Gleason-Wallace of Kannapolis (nutrition/dietetics major), North Carolina Research Campus in Kannapolis and Total Nutrition Technology in Charlotte
  • Justin Parks of Hays (nutrition/dietetics major), Brenner FIT with Wake Forest Baptist Health in Winston-Salem
  • Jordan Boles of High Point (communication major), Ocean Isle Beach Sea Turtle Protection Organization
  • Tiffani Parker of Four Oakes (criminal justice major), North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, Hickory
  • Matthew Lee of West Jefferson (criminal justice major), North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, West Jefferson
  • Jeremy Yoder of Crouse (criminal justice major), Gastonia Police Department
  • Tyler Cook of Vilas (political science major), Boone City Hall

The SECU Public Service Fellows program is for undergraduate residents of North Carolina studying full time at Appalachian and seven other schools in the UNC system. It has two broad aims: to help build capacity in rural communities, which are prone to talent drains, and to generate interest in job opportunities that are closer to home for many students. At Appalachian, the Career Development Center administers the internship program.

Appalachian’s intern pool came from the university’s ACCESS program or its Department of Government and Justice Studies. ACCESS, which stands for Appalachian Commitment to a College Education for Student Success, gives qualifying students the opportunity to attend Appalachian and graduate debt free utilizing grants, scholarships and work-study jobs. ACCESS students applying for SECU-supported internships may pursue any major.

Students majoring within the Department of Government and Justice Studies are required to complete an internship. SECU funding makes that more affordable because it covers such costs as gas, food and rent.

The Public Service Fellows program began as a pilot program for Appalachian and two other UNC schools in 2015. Since 2016, the SECU Foundation, working in partnership with the UNC system, has awarded the eight universities $100,000 annually.

There is funding available for an additional 10 SECU Public Service Fellows during the 2017-18 academic year, said Dr. Susan McCracken, director of career development and economic engagement at Appalachian. Students interested in a SECU-supported internship should talk with their academic advisor before applying.

About SECU and the SECU Foundation

A not-for-profit financial cooperative owned by its members, SECU has been providing employees of the State of North Carolina and their families with consumer financial services for almost 78 years. The SECU Foundation, a 501c (3) charitable organization funded solely by the contributions of SECU members, promotes local community development in North Carolina primarily through high impact projects in the areas of housing, education, healthcare and human services.

About Appalachian State University

Appalachian State University, in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The transformational Appalachian experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and embrace diversity and difference. As one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina system, Appalachian enrolls about 18,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.