Tyler McClenithan '13
Lehigh Carbon Community College, Schnecksville, PA
Alumni Association BPIP Internship Fund
As a Community College Scholar and a College Student Personnell Major, I am extremely interested how community colleges function, their effects on higher education institutions as a whole, and power structures in society that effect their success or failure. Since I had such a great experience at Lehigh Carbon Community College (LCCC), prior to coming to Bucknell, I decided I really wanted to learn more about the school, its students, and their success. I spent the summer developing, executing, and analyzing the college's orientation program for new students in hopes that I could improve the success of new students and thus, the school. On day one, my boss, the Associate Dean for student success, handed me the proposed orientation programs. I spent the week, along with my student staff of about 20, whom I was now in charge of, analyzing the programs to make sure they would be exciting, relevant, and productive to new students. Once the developing was over, my boss and I trained our student staff on how the orientation programs would run. The rest of the summer was spent preparing both the student staff and new students for their orientation to come. This meant making sure that students had their transcripts, financial aid, and standard test-scores in. With the wide diversity of types and reasons students attend community colleges, this proved more difficult than expected. Sometimes it required working with families for the success of the student. When orientation arrived, I gave a brief presentation to the new students and their families, and then monitored and trouble-shooted with the student staff as they presented the rest of the sessions. Finally, after each session, we reviewed and reflected on what went right and wrong. By the end of the summer, our programs became very effective in preparing new students for their future at their community college.
What is the most interesting or important thing you took from your Internship this summer?
The most important thing I learned this summer is that higher education as a whole is in need of change. Largely driven by changes in America's social structures and technologies, the students we are serving and going to serve, the future keepers of this planet, are continually changing. They are learning differently and world they are going to inherent will forever change. Community colleges especially, since they serve such a diverse student body and provide a wide-variety of educational opportunities, need to reform their administrative and functional structures to address the new needs and learning-styles of their students. If higher education is going to stay relevant, and I sincerely hope it does, there is a need for new visions and energy which can restructure these institutions to reflect and address the growing problems concerning its students and the world presents.
How did the BPIP Fund help make your experience possible?
The opportunity to work and serve at LCCC was a tremendous one. Yet, as a working class individual, I need to work over the summer in order to sustain myself financially. Yes, I could've worked at LCCC and worked part-time somewhere else, but I wanted to devote my full attention to the future students of LCCC. Without BPIP funding, my financial situation would have required me to work a second job over the summer. This would have been a drain on my physical and mental energies which could have been put to better use at LCCC. Luckily, I was chosen as a BPIP recipient and therefore, was able to focus completely on LCCC.
Why would you recommend the BPIP Fund?
I would recommend the BPIP Fund because it allows students to explore both a broader range of professional development opportunities and potentially more meaningful experiences through not-for-profit industries. In this way, not only do students expand their horizons and gain experiences that will last a lifetime, but they give back, even if in the smallest way, to a world in dire need of help.
A key highlight of the summer was when my boss got shingles in his eyes. Now before you get angry, of course the highlight wasn't him getting shingles! The highlight was that, since he got shingles, I was needed to assume his position. One day, a professor came into my office to ask me some questions about our program and I just had to say, "This just doesn't feel right. I should be coming to you for advice!" It was in that moment, that I realized I was well on my way to becoming a higher education administrative professional.