BPIP Students Gain Experience with Public Service and Nonprofit Groups

December 26, 2017

From Myanmar to France and back to the U.S., the Bucknell Public Interest Program (BPIP) gives students an opportunity to explore an area of interest as they complete summer internships in public service at the state, county or federal level and at nonprofit organizations. Applications for 2018 are now open.

Since 2004, the BPIP Internship Fund has provided more than $1 million in stipends to 397 students in summer internships. Gifts from alumni and parents are the primary source of funding and students come from academic disciplines that span the more than 50 majors offered at Bucknell.

The diversity of majors that make up the program is complemented by the diversity of the internships themselves. Students have worked in many different states and countries for organizations with one uniting mission: working toward the common good.

"We have many students who want to explore careers in the nonprofit and public service sectors, but these sectors frequently cannot pay interns and that is a barrier," said BPIP Director Marilyn Shull. "A BPIP stipend helps students cover living and other expenses so that they can afford this valuable experience."

In addition, each BPIP intern is assigned a summer alumni mentor, who serves as a valuable resource about the world of work as the internship experience unfolds.

Applications for summer 2018 are open until March 26 and access to the online application is available on the BPIP website. To apply, students must have already secured a full-time internship with a nonprofit or public sector organization. For more information, visit this page and attend one of the scheduled information sessions listed on the CDC website. 

Meet some of last year's BPIP interns in the student participant profiles below.


Yasameen Mohammadi '20

With the help of Afghan Girls Financial Assistance Fund and BPIP, I did something valuable for the community and country I grew up in: I built the very first Braille library in Afghanistan. The realization of this dream into a sweet reality was a process that made me a better manager, a better communicator and a better analyst. It also taught me a lot about myself, bureaucrats and stakeholders and the community that I was serving. I am very blessed and thankful for the amazing opportunity, which boosted my self-confidence and desire to do more social good and pursue a career in nonprofits.


Jill Gosling '19
Education and Psychology

My internship at Geisinger's Autism & Developmental Medicine Institute placed me with a multidisciplinary team that helps children with developmental disorders. I worked alongside doctors, genetic counselors, psychologists and behaviorists to better understand their roles. Additionally, I worked on research projects behind the scenes. I was also lucky enough to run my own research, which I presented at the Susquehanna Valley Undergraduate Research Symposium.


Jacob Sustersic '20

The opportunity BPIP provided me to work with Community Legal Services was invaluable. During my internship, I not only learned a lot under the supervisors and attorneys in the housing unit, but I also helped dozens of low-income Philadelphians and clients seek justice when needed. The experiences I had going to municipal court, attending meetings with notable figures and being exposed to many different clients from all walks of life will shape my future for years to come.


Amaryllis Kanyabwero '20
Cell Biology/Biochemistry

I worked at the National Institute of Public Health in Burundi as a lab technician and learned how biochemistry can be applied in a medical context. I was in charge of analyzing blood samples and I had to determine if a person was at risk of having a disease like cancer, diabetes or kidney failure based on the chemical composition of their blood sample. Without BPIP, I wouldn't have been able to take on this internship and get firsthand experience as a lab researcher.


Katherine O'Shea '20
Early Childhood Education

Working with an occupational therapist at the Concord Integrated Preschool gave me experience helping young special-needs children with fine and visual motor difficulties. I loved getting to know the children in the preschool during one-on-one treatment sessions and in the classroom environment. By using different lesson plans and activities catered to each child's individual needs, I was able to watch them improve their skills.

Hayley Pogue '20

Before my internship with the Timken Museum of Art in San Diego, I was unaware of the challenges facing most nonprofit organizations — that admission fees and memberships don't come close to covering the budget and that the majority of revenues come from grants, events and donations. This made for a creative, challenging and fast-paced environment. I learned skills in social media, marketing and special events in the nonprofit community.


Adriana DiSilvestro '18
Environmental Studies

My internship with the Baltimore branch of the International Rescue Committee (IRC) was the perfect opportunity for personal and professional growth. Serving newly arrived refugees taught me the principles of public service and gave me a greater appreciation for the opportunities our country has to offer. Working in refugee services is definitely a career path I would be interested in pursuing after Bucknell.


Emily Ryan '18
Psychology and English-Creative Writing

My internship with the Cardiac Neurodevelopmental Program (CNP) at Boston Children's Hospital last summer gave me great insight into the role of a clinical psychologist and allowed me to have an active role in the CNP team. I had the opportunity to shadow psychologists and related professionals, organize patient data for the ongoing CNP registry, help with marketing projects and organize the first Cardiac Neurodevelopmental Family Symposium at BCH.


Sabrina Linskey '19
Animal Behavior

Interning at the New England Wildlife Center gave me a unique learning experience that will help me in my future career in the veterinary field. Not only did I gain knowledge in how to medically care for a variety of animals, but I also became familiar with the emotional drive it takes to be responsible for another being's life. Every day consisted of working in a different ward — such as the medical ward or one of the baby wards — and educating the public. Without BPIP I would not have been able to work at a nonprofit all summer and I am grateful for the opportunity.


Lauren Whelan '18, who majors in markets, innovation & design, is an undergraduate executive intern in the Division of Communications.