Ligonier nonprofit groups share positive experiences with interns

| Wednesday, July 31, 2013, 9:06 p.m.

Several college students are gaining valuable hands-on experience this summer by interning at local nonprofit organizations. Thankful for the assistance, the organizations are pleased to offer the experience to these young adults.

“It's a win, win situation for all of us,” said Mary Manges, director of education at Fort Ligonier. “It's a great learning experience for the students and having the extra help with our programs is extremely helpful.”

Manges said the three interns at Fort Ligonier are a huge asset to their organization's summer programs.

Molly Ouchis of Reading said her experience interning at Fort Ligonier has been a positive one. “I worked with amazing people who taught me so much,” Ouchis said.

Ouchis, a junior at Saint Vincent College in the fall, is majoring in early childhood education. She recently completed her hours for the internship, but plans to come back to help for an event planned for August.

Jenna Thomas is a recent graduate from Saint Vincent College who holds a degree in art history. Thomas will be interning at the fort until mid-August. She considers her internship to be a stepping stone for her career.

“It's been great,” Thomas said. “This is the first museum experience I've had where I get to work with the visitors and it's been a lot of fun. It's neat to see how they interact with the exhibits.”

University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg student Bryan Edwards, who is majoring in education and biology, recently finished his intern hours at Fort Ligonier.

The Ligonier Valley Chamber of Commerce's intern is Sarah Mroczka of Bowell. Mroczka attends California University of Pennsylvania and plans to graduate in December with a degree in geography with a concentration in tourism studies and minors in both business and management.

“Having a college student around brings new ideas and enthusiasm to our chamber office,” said Holly Mowrey, executive director. “Sarah is a perfect fit. She has been involved in the planning stages of some of our events and has been able to follow them through to the end. I think her involvement with the chamber will teach her so much of what she will need to know to be successful in her chosen field of event planning.”

Mroczka agrees that the skills she learned have been helpful.

“I love working at the chamber,” said Mroczka. “It's been a very positive experience for me and I encourage other to intern there as well.”

Kelsey Harris of Somerset said interning at the Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor has reaffirmed that she would one day like to work for a historic nonprofit.

“I love the experience; it's been completely invaluable,” said Harris, a history major and management and public history minor at Saint Vincent College.

“Being an intern is a wonderful opportunity,” said Olga Herbert, the organization's executive director. “Kelsey is a hard worker and very capable.”

Herbert said she likes to give her interns a project they can develop and see the whole way through, and Harris has completed two such projects in her time with the organization.

Tina Yandrick, director of operation at the Ligonier Valley Historical Society, said there are a wide variety of opportunities for interns within the organization.

Hannah Miller of Bolivar attends Eastern Kentucky University where she is majoring in marketing. Miller said the experience she is gaining from interning at the historical society is extremely beneficial.

“I'm actually learning things and applying it instead of just reading about it in books,” Miller said.

Yandrick said the society loves the opportunity to work with interns and welcomes any who wish to apply.

“It's a hands-on experience that you can't get in a classroom,” said Yandrick. “We've enjoyed having Hannah. She's done an excellent job.”

Cami DiBattista is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.

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