Chapel Executive Internship Program provides pivotal summer experiences

Molly Ligon
September 14, 2021

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Emmanuel Almonte wasn’t sure he would be able to participate in an internship this summer, but thanks to funding through the Virginia Todd Chapel Executive Internship Program in the College of the Liberal Arts, Almonte was able to afford the experience — one that has had a profound impact on his Penn State experience and changed his career goals.

Almonte, a Philadelphia native majoring in philosophy and political science, explained how his internship experience with WSFS Bank within their personal banking department was greatly impacted by the funds from the Chapel Executive Internship Program.

“The College of the Liberal Arts has given me the tools and resources to succeed in this experience,” Almonte said. “Receiving enrichment funds from the College of the Liberal Arts was the reason that I was able to participate in this internship.”

The Chapel Executive Internship Program supports internship experiences for Liberal Arts students who achieve academic success and who seek top-level career development opportunities in the private sector. The program was established by Virginia "Jinnie" Todd Chapel and her husband, John, with leadership gifts creating a $2 million endowment. Virginia Todd Chapel graduated from Penn State in 1965 as an English major.

This year, the program offered 13 high-performing students a stipend of $5,000 for their internship experience.

Jamal Ellerbe, a labor and human resources and journalism major from Havertown Pennsylvania, had to move to a new location to complete his internship at Amazon.

“The College of the Liberal Arts financially aided me during this internship,” Ellerbe said. “It has substantially helped lower the financial burden on me due to the relocation needed to complete this experience. With the funds given, I was able to focus solely on completing the internship without stressing, doubting, or questioning whether it was worth it financially to do so.”

Jade Gray-Davis, a Philadelphia native and labor and human resources major, completed her summer internship at TJX Companies. She explained the impact her studies had on her human resources internship.

“My major classes have impacted the way I understand the HR role of a company,” Gray-Davis said. “During my internship, I’ve been able to see how the theories I learned in class affect HR and how HR functions within a business.”

Lauryn Godfrey, a York, Pennsylvania, native and psychology and labor and human resources major, explained her role as an intern with Hershey Entertainment and Resorts has influenced her greatly as a student.

“This experience has impacted me academically because it has allowed me to put into practice concepts related to my academic field of study,” Godfrey said. “This has helped me to relate my work experience to the concepts I am learning in class, which has helped me to deepen my level of understanding about my academic studies.”

Jessica Hughes, a Summit, New Jersey native and a Spanish and supply chain major, completed her internship with Crate and Barrel over the summer in Cranbury, New Jersey.

“My main project pertained to improving shipping accuracy out of the Cranbury distribution center, so I watched how they went about shipping and implemented processes such as more frequent scanning of products for visibility and a checklist for leads and supervisors to fill out to maintain accountability for their daily responsibilities,” Hughes said.

Hughes explained her internship experience at Crate and Barrel shaped her career goals post-college.

“I truly love using Spanish day-to-day, and I find that to be something I would love to continue to do,” Hughes said. “I am also exploring continuing my career at Crate and Barrel, which is very exciting.”

Taksh Tripathi, an economics major from Allentown, Pennsylvania, also had an experience that he said was “crucial to his career goals.”

“As someone who strives to enter the financial services industry, understanding debt and the credit market is highly important,” Tripathi said. “To have a brand name and detailed experience on my resume as a rising junior will make me a more unique candidate for future positions and show the passion and knowledge I have for economics and finance.”

Victor Fuentes, a Paterno Fellow and Schreyer Scholar majoring in philosophy and political science with a minor in history, had an enriching experience as a management intern at Kohl’s in Kingstowne, Virginia.

“This internship has influenced my undergraduate liberal arts education by granting me a unique experience in an industry very different from that which I am studying, which will consequently enhance my perspective both inside and outside of the classroom,” Fuentes said.

Ji Seop Lim, an economics major from Suwanee, Georgia, completed a capital markets internship with UMortgage in Philadelphia. Lim said he applied to the internship based on advice from the Liberal Arts Career Enrichment Network.

“They encouraged me to apply for the Chapel Executive Internship when I originally applied for general Liberal Arts enrichment funding,” Lim said. “If it wasn't for the guidance of the center, I would have never been able to apply for this scholarship.”

Sarthak Vij, an economics and mathematics major from Pune, India, completed his summer internship with the Penn State Alumni Association. Vij said the help from the Liberal Arts Career Enrichment Network, specifically Susan Knell, the center’s director, propelled the success of his internship.

Luigi DeRubeis, an economics major with a Spanish minor, interned at Datto in Norwalk, Connecticut. He said the internship provided him with an unmatched experience that influenced his drive to succeed with his career and academic goals.

“Being selected as a Chapel Executive Intern was an honor and truly help me in being able to complete my internship,” DeRubeis said.

Paterno Fellow and Schreyer Scholar Om Salunkhe, who is majoring in economics, finance, and statistics, interned at LionTree in New York City.

Brigid Ostrowski, an Easton, Pennsylvania native majoring in global and international studies and Italian, worked at Lou Reda Productions as head intern and a creative assistant.

The Paterno Fellow and Schreyer Scholar explained that as a creative assistant, she worked on developing a proposal for an exhibit for The National WWII Museum in New Orleans and pitched a World War II three-part series for “National Geographic.” She said the experience helped her improve her writing and editing skills.

Shamar Stokes, a Philadelphia native, explained a similar feeling after completing a summer internship at WeaversWay as a human resources intern.

“The College of the Liberal Arts helped me find this opportunity by giving me access to funds,” said Stokes, a labor and human resources major with an African studies minor. “This money allowed me to pay for stay and everything I needed.”

Students with a major in the College of the Liberal Arts are encouraged to learn more and apply for the Chapel Executive Internship Program. The spring semester deadline is Dec. 1. Students who are not selected for the Chapel Executive Internship Program will automatically be considered for general Liberal Arts enrichment funds.

Last Updated September 22, 2021