Political science major sees future come into focus with Department of State internship

By Jaime North, Digital Marketing Specialist

Heading into her senior year, Kendyl Swank wanted to have her next steps after Bloomsburg University more firmly mapped out.

Her summer internship helped do just that.

Swank, a political science major, got an inside look at her future in law as a prosecution intern this summer with the Department of State’s general counsel office, which handles filed complaints from the Professional Compliance Office of PA on license violations.

“I wanted to have hands-on experience,” said Swank, an Honors student who’s also pursuing minors in law and public relations. “… that would allow me to determine if pursuing a degree in law is something that still interests me after seeing the types of work they handle daily.”

According to Swank, among her key responsibilities were to draft documents regarding decisions involving:

  • whether or not the licensee would be further prosecuted
  • if they would be warned
  • or if the complaint would be filed but the licensee would not face any disciplinary actions

Although some of her internship was done remotely, Swank said she was still able to get a lot from the experience.

“My internship supervisor initially told me she would be fairly hands-off but was more than willing to help when needed,” Swank said. “So, I took it upon myself to dive headfirst into the position, ask for extra work, and tried to soak up the most knowledge I could.”

Some of the key takeaways for Swank included gaining new insights into the legal field and applying critical thinking to a variety of tasks and situations.

“I was encouraged to ask questions and further investigate case reports, offer my own insights about actions taken in multiple cases, as well as attend office-wide continuing education trainings,” Swank said. “In my professional pursuits, this initiative will allow me to demonstrate a strong work ethic to future employers and show willingness for a heavier and more difficult course load in the workforce.”

And she’s ready. Swanks says the Department of State internship helped validate her interest in becoming a lawyer, particularly an aspect of practicing law that’s more hands-on involving active criminal cases.

“The Department of State is a great place for students to start in figuring out what they want to do for a career or what type of law they would like to go into, because the internship offers a wide range of work to do and allows students to get out of the experience what they put in,” Swank said. “Students are able to curate their own experience and cater their workload to what they would like to learn.”