Career Center receives $100,000 grant from SECU board

Christine Harriger (left), a counselor in the Center for Career and Professional Development, advises a student about the center’s offerings, with office director Theresa Cruz Paul in the background.

Western Carolina University’s Center for Career and Professional Development was awarded a $100,000 grant from the State Employees’ Credit Union foundation board, which will be used to fund the SECU Summer Fellows Internship Program.

Twenty students have been awarded $5,000 each for the 10-week summer internship at various nonprofit organizations across Western North Carolina, said career center Director Theresa Cruz Paul.

The program is designed for juniors and seniors to become more involved in the WNC community. The students chosen had to be sociology, psychology, political science or English majors.

“Those areas were particularly chosen because the students struggle to find their place in the work world,” Cruz Paul said. “They oftentimes are undecided about what their major may lead to as far as a career option. So this was a good way to kind of give them some guidance, as well as provide Western North Carolina with some support.”

The grant requires that each participating organization be civic-minded. Also, each student must have completed 60 or more credit hours, have a 3.0 or higher GPA and be residents of North Carolina. They will work 30 hours per week and have an opportunity to receive course credit for their work.

In addition to the internships, the students have to participate in a cohort program. Every other week they will meet at the career center to get professional development training where they will be taught topics such as “Who Am I?,” “What Skills Can I Contribute?,” “Becoming A Professional,” “Workplace Ethics And Culture” and “Working With Supervisors And Peers.”

The following is a list of the participating students followed by their major, hometown and agency they will be interning for:

  • Katherine Osborne, English, Wake Forest, Full Spectrum Farms (Cullowhee)
  • Alli Rios, English, Cornelius, WCU Fine Arts Museum
  • Darby Terrell, Political Science, Burlington, Legal Aid Society (Sylva)
  • Hailee McGraw, English, Zirconia, Safelight (Hendersonville)
  • Kristin Morris, Psychology, Sylva, Juvenile Justice Center (Waynesville)
  • Madeline Moore, English, Greensboro, I.B.MEE (Asheville)
  • Frank Cline, English, Robbinsville, Eternal Truth Ministries (Robbinsville)
  • Joy Johnston, English, Mills River, Biltmore Church (Asheville)
  • Jake Browning, English, Mills River, Henderson County Public Schools (Hendersonville)
  • Emily Dorsey, English, Highlands, Crossroads Chronicle (Cashiers)
  • Dillon Jeffrey, English, Cullowhee, Smoky Mountain Living (Waynesville)
  • Dani Moody, Psychology, Hayesville, REACH of Clay County (Hayesville)
  • Jacqueline Bermudez, English, Charlotte, Vecinos Farmworker Health Program (Cullowhee)
  • Jordan Privette, Psychology, Mills River, Baptist Children’s Home (Franklin)
  • Mikayla Baldwin, Psychology, Thomasville, AWAKE Children’s Advocacy Center (Sylva)
  • Kayshila Duffy, Political Science, Arden, Family Support Network – Mission Hospital (Asheville)
  • Brandon Wyatt, Psychology, Asheville, ARC of Haywood (Waynesville)
  • Hayley Morris, Psychology, Naples, Undetermined
  • Mack McDougald, English, Monroe, Friends of Jackson County Public Library (Sylva)
  • Julie Copper Fox, Psychology, Sylva, Undetermined