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Career Center accepting applications for summer internship program

Friday, Feb. 15, is the deadline for applications for the SECU Summer Fellows Internship Program, said Theresa Cruz Paul (center), director of the Center for Career and Professional Development.

Western Carolina University’s Center for Career and Professional Development is accepting applications for the State Employees’ Credit Union Summer Fellows Internship Program, a 10-week opportunity to work with local community groups.

Deadline for applications is Friday, Feb. 15. Twenty WCU students will be selected to receive $5,000 each for the 30-hours-a-week internships during the summer sessions at various nonprofit organizations across Western North Carolina, said Theresa Cruz Paul, center director. Along with the internship experience, students will participate in a bi-weekly cohort meeting that will focus on their professional skills development and gaining workplace competency.

“Over the past few years of offering the SECU Summer Fellows Internship Program, we have seen students grow and develop their professional skills, identify areas of interest for future careers and consider being involved in the community as a viable option for work,” said Cruz Paul. “In the reflections of their experiences, students have articulated how these internships made a difference in their lives and their views on working in community-based organizations. Many have had their perspectives broadened and matured as future members of the WNC community.”

The internships are made possible by a $100,000 grant to WCU from the State Employees’ Credit Union Foundation board. The SECU Foundation promotes local and community development throughout North Carolina by funding projects to benefit housing, education, health care and human services. This is the third year in a row that WCU’s Center for Career and Professional Development has been funded for the internship program.

“Without the contribution from the SECU Foundation, hands-on experiences like these would be difficult for our students, who rely on income from part-time work experiences during the summer,” Cruz Paul said. “This opportunity has given students a chance to work in a field of interest, impact the local and regional community, and receive funding to support themselves through this experience.”

The internship can be beneficial for WCU’s College of Arts and Sciences students in particular, as they are working to identify potential career paths and gain hands-on experience, which will help them cement their career goals, Cruz Paul said. The experience also aids underserved segments of the local population, with the grant requiring that each participating organization be civic-minded, she said.

To be considered, WCU students must meet the following criteria:

  • Be an undergraduate majoring in sociology, psychology, political science, history, world languages, anthropology, philosophy and religion, communication or English
  • Have a minimum of 60 credits completed at the start of the internship
  • Have a minimum 2.5 cumulative grade-point average
  • Be a resident of North Carolina

For more information, contact Cruz Paul at or Dean Paulk at

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