SHARON, Pa. — Penn State Shenango senior Karsyn Rupert, of West Middlesex, was recently awarded a grant from Penn State’s Student Engagement Network (SEN).
The Student Engagement Network grant provides funding to support Penn State students who are actively involved in various engagement opportunities including internships, study abroad, undergraduate research and volunteerism, among others. As part of the grant, awardees are required to attend an online course which assists in the creation of a project plan to outline and set project benchmarks.
Rupert, a human development and family studies (HDFS) major who is completing her internship at the Mercer County Behavioral Health Commission, credited the SEN grant with providing additional financial stability.
“For the HDFS program, we need to complete 480 internship hours," Rupert said. "So, that’s the equivalent to working 40 hours a week for about 13 weeks. The SEN grant will help me with transportation and food, as well as supplies I’ll need for my project.”
Rupert's capstone project is with the Children's Advocacy Center, which requires reaccreditation — measured with new standards — every five years.
“I am creating a component that is required under a new standard for reaccreditation," said Rupert, who noted that she believes her time at Shenango has prepared her for this work. "My grant project is on the forensics side of things, helping inmates in reducing their reincarceration rates. It’s so nice having smaller classes and more individualized learning. My faculty members have been collaborating and they’ve been really helpful. I can connect a lot of things in my internship with what I’ve learned in class. You go through all these classes, and now, I can actually apply it.”
Upon completion of the experience, students who received grant money are expected to present at the Penn State Student Engagement Expo at University Park within one academic year.