Pennsylvania’s policy makers are broadening students’ perspective on government, including Melanie Ianniello, this semester’s participant in The Harrisburg Internship Semester Program (THIS), who is working for Pennsylvania’s Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC) as part of the 15-week internship sponsored by PASSHE.

The internship counts for 15 semester hours, consisting of nine for the internship program, three for a research project, and three semester hours for participating in an academic seminar.

Students can intern with a variety of government agencies learning how the legislative process works, meeting many different state officials, networking with a variety of public policy makers, working on a thesis-length research project, and studying public policy in a weekly graduate-style seminar, according to Dr. Glenn Geiser-Getz, THIS resident faculty director.

Ianniello, who is a government major with a minor in economics, said she chose IRRC because, “I felt that I would receive the most comprehensive introduction to state government there. I also enjoyed the office dynamic.”

IRRC is a non-governmental and non-partisan organization which reviews regulations to ensure that the agency has the statutory authority to enact the regulation and to make certain the regulation is consistent with legislative intent, while considering economic impact, public health and safety, reasonableness and clarity, according to Ianniello.

Each of the 14 state-owned institutions participate in the program, sending one student each semester.

The Campus Coordinator at Millersville, Dr. Richard Fulmer, said the process begins right after pre-registration in October to recruit new interns and promote the program, with the application deadline in the beginning of February.

While THIS interns are selected from all majors, to be eligible to apply a student must have maintained a 3.0 GPA in at least 45 semester hours.

“Many of the interns over the years have secured employment in government, sometimes even at the office where they did their internships,” said Geiser-Getz.

“Democracies are healthy only if its citizens have a fundamental understanding of how public policy creation actually takes place. It is my hope that the interns in THIS will not only achieve their career goals as a result of their experiences in the program, but will also achieve certain intellectual goals that they will value for the rest of their lives.”

“One of my objectives was to maintain professionalism while developing my public speaking skills through the duties presented to me by my sponsor,” Ianniello said.

“During a meeting on Thursday Sept. 11, I presented my research to two website consultants.”