SECU Foundation renews public fellows internship program
Monday, May 6, 2019
With the recent renewal of the SECU Public Fellows Internship program, nine campuses in the University of North Carolina system have been awarded funding in 2019 to support paid internships for up to 20 eligible in-state undergraduates.
Universities accepting the SECU Foundation’s invitation to participate in this year’s program include: Appalachian State, East Carolina, Elizabeth City State, Fayetteville State, NC Agricultural & Technical, UNC-Pembroke, UNC-Wilmington, Western Carolina, and Winston-Salem State. SECU Foundation’s investment totaling $850,000 demonstrates SECU members’ ongoing commitment to providing students with local apprenticeship opportunities in rural communities, helping them gain practical experience and job opportunities close to home.
The internship program was first announced in 2015, collaborating with the UNC System for a three-campus pilot. The success of the pilot, along with the growing need for paid undergraduate internships led SECU Foundation to expand the reach to nine universities. The Public Fellows Internship program is designed to help students learn, grow, and develop their professional skills as they work with leaders of community-based businesses, non-profits, or government agencies, and receive funding to support themselves during the internship.
“The Public Fellows Internship program is filling a financial gap for students who might not otherwise be able to participate as an intern,” said Bob Brinson, SECU Foundation Board chairman. “This is a chance for students to obtain real experience under the guidance of a mentor and broaden their perspective on how their skills can be used to make a difference in our communities. On behalf of the members of State Employees’ Credit Union, we’re proud to continue our investment to benefit North Carolina students — our future leaders.”
“Since 2015, 100 Appalachian students have been able to fully invest and focus on a professional, full-time internship thanks to the SECU Public Fellows Internship program,” said Susan McCracken, director of career development and economic engagement at Appalachian State University. “They understand the value of internships and how the work experience will enhance their education and future career. It has been a real joy to provide students with this opportunity, to see their accomplishments, and watch where their career paths move forward. We’re thankful for SECU Foundation’s ongoing partnership and support to make this internship program such a success.”
Appalachian State University graduate Jeffrey Sedlacek interned in 2018 with Insight Human Services in Winston-Salem, N.C. and said, “Through working with Insight’s substance prevention branch, I was able to provide information to people about the effects of drugs and assist local governments with resources to make their communities healthier.
“My experience allowed me to see how much of a positive impact nonprofit organizations have in rural communities,” Sedlacek said. “This internship was an exciting opportunity and it would not have been possible without SECU Foundation and Insight Human Services.”