Christopher Higgins, senior at Millersville University, taking part in THIS.

Millersville University (MU) senior Christopher Higgins of Horsham was one of 11 students in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) selected this fall for The Harrisburg Internship Semester (THIS), a 15-week internship program that offers invaluable firsthand experience in state government.

“I chose to participate in THIS to gain a better understanding of how government and politics function. Government has always been an interest of mine ever since I was in high school, and I thought that THIS would give me a behind-the-scenes look into how the state government operates on a daily basis,” says Higgins.

THIS invites students from each of the 14 State System universities to participate. Higgins, a geography major, is interning with the state House Democratic legislative policy office where he provides research for legislators who are considering drafting legislation on a particular issue.

“Students who participate in THIS receive an unforgettable experience, making a direct contribution to workings of state government. I hope in the course of this semester these 10 students have the opportunity to learn how in the future they can contribute to Pennsylvania’s success,” says State System Chancellor Dan Greenstein.

Higgins and the other students participating in the program will attend several academic seminars during their fall semester internship. Each of the students will also complete an individualized research project as part of the program’s requirements.

More than 600 students from the PASSHE universities have participated in THIS since the program began in 1989, each gained valuable insight into the workings of state government at the policy-making level. Interns have worked with dozens of state agencies as well as in the offices of the governor, speaker of the House of Representatives and the attorney general.

Students enrolled in the program earn 15 credits toward any major as they work at the state capitol, an experience that can be a springboard into employment or public service. Students also receive a $3,500 stipend to assist with living expenses while they reside in the Harrisburg region.

Students interested in applying for THIS in a future semester can obtain information on the program by contacting their campus coordinator, internship office, or by calling the Dixon University Center at 717-720-4089. Information on the program is also available at www.passhe.edu/this.

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