Temple senior, Kiryl Marchuk, is a Criminal Justice major in the College of Liberal Arts. This past Spring, he participated in the Temple University’s Institute for Public Affairs, PA Capital Semester. This program allows students to have the opportunity to explore government affairs, policymaking and implementation first-hand while being full-time students and staying on track for graduation. Read more about Kiryl’s experience working in Harrisburg…
What company and department did you work with?
I worked as a full-time fellow for the House of Representative in the Judiciary Committee (Republican side) in Spring 2017.
What is your major and date of graduation and Major?
I am majoring in Criminal Justice and graduating in Spring 2018.
How did you find out about this opportunity, and what was the interview process like?
I learned about this internship while I was standing in line for the elevator in Gladfelter Hall. I saw a commercial/poster of the “Pennsylvania Capital Semester” on one of the TV screens. That day when I came home, I did a quick search on Google, read about the program, and became really interested in it.
As I completed my application and scheduled my interview, Michelle Atherton did a fantastic job in assisting me, making sure I filled everything out correctly. I was accepted into the program, and Michelle then scheduled an interview with Professor Cassidy where he asked about my interests, goals, and what I wanted to get out of this internship. We then discussed the internship placements that would best fit me.
What was your job function, and what does a typical day entail?
Every day is a new day. This was the most exciting part of my internship. Two weeks prior to taking part in this fellowship, I pondered the idea of what a criminal justice major might do in state government. In reality, I did not know much about state government. I was worried that I would not have experience related to my interest and my major, as I am planning to go to law school. However, within the first week of the internship, I found myself pleasantly surprised.
Fortunately, I was placed with the Judiciary Committee, and I was the first ever “fellow” to intern with the Committee (Republican side). Being a Criminal Justice major, I was mesmerized by the relevance of my coursework to the actual problems/agenda the Judiciary Committee was working on. For example, on the second week of my internship my executive director asked me to do some research on the mandatory minimum in regards to drug laws. I had recently completed a similar task in one of my courses at Temple, so I was able to come back to him within minutes with the completed assignment. He was astonished! This is one of many examples where I was able to apply my coursework from Temple University for work purposes.
I never had a “typical” day at work. Everyday entailed its own adventure. In general, I was responsible for drafting bill analyses, constituent letters, and performing extensive policy research for various House members. On other days I would attend Judiciary Committee meetings as well as House sessions. Often my executive director would take me to lobbyist and special interest group conferences and delegate me to research numerous topics relating to the legislation the Committee was trying to pass. Working with the Judiciary Committee, I had the opportunity to develop close relationships and network with many of the representatives in my county.
I had the honor to work besides the most hard-working and intelligent co-workers. Each one of them played a significant role in making this a special and rich internship experience for me.
How has your internship related to your coursework?
As I mentioned above, my coursework was closely related to kinds of tasks I worked on at my internship. The final project of my fellowship consisted of researching and drafting an original piece of legislation. I based my legislation on a paper that I wrote in one my course called “Planned Change” with Professor Joanna Metzger. At my internship, I then “translated” my research paper into a piece of legislation with the help of a few legal experts.
My legislation called the “Corrections Investment Act” consisted of a simple formula, reducing the state’s high recidivism rate and saving taxpayers’ dollars on corrections by providing small tax breaks for employers who hire ex-offenders.
The bill’s focus to reduce the recidivism rate and save taxpayers’ dollars has bipartisan support. Currently, a few legislators offered to pick up the bill. Dom Costa, a representative from Allegheny County, most likely will be the candidate to introduce the legislation on the House Floor in the near future.
What is the most important thing you’ve learned during your internship/job experience?
My experience in state government has taught me the importance of having good character. One of my favorite quotes was written by Charles H. Spurgeon, “A good character is the best tombstone. Those who loved you and were helped by you will remember you when forget-me-nots have withered. Carve your name on hearts, not on marble.” Helping others and doing upright deeds to people around us will not only benefit others, but it will also significantly impact our lives. These values developed a desire in me to work on a bill idea that would revolve around these principles. My bill is designed to:
- Reduce our state’s large recidivism rate
- Reintegrate ex-offenders into our society
- Save/invest money for our state
In addition, I have learned that developing healthy relationships with individuals around you at work is an essential component that will only help you later in life. That’s why networking is one of the keys to success.
What piece of advice would you give to current students embarking on an internship/job search?
If you truly want to expand your knowledge and development as an individual, finding the right internship is essential. No matter what major you are or what your interests are, the abilities that you will gain at an internship will benefit you in any field of study that you are pursuing. This is something of great value.
Have you learned any valuable lessons about obtaining jobs/internships during your time at Temple?
I believe Temple University does a wonderful job of helping students find various kinds of internships. For example, Professor Joseph Alkus is a great asset to Temple in aiding and providing students with the best feedback on how to write excellent resumes and cover letters, as well as finding internship and job opportunities that best fit the student’s interests. Overall, Temple helped me understand the wisdom, skills, and abilities that I may need to aid in reaching my future career goals.
I have also learned that it’s incredibly important to take part of the opportunities (such as workshops, career fairs, etc.) that Temple University offers to its students.