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At Lebanon Valley College, students can gain unique opportunities from their internships, as economics major Ian McGinnis ’17 can attest to after interning with the World Trade Center (WTC) Harrisburg, where, among other experiences, he was able to attend a reception in the formal gardens of the Pennsylvania Governor’s Residence.
Due to his work with WTC Harrisburg, McGinnis was invited to the “Bringing the World to PA” reception, which was hosted by Governor Tom Wolf and First Lady Frances Wolf. For McGinnis, the reception was a great way to wrap up his summer introduction to local and global business.
“Seeing how small businesses in the area really become involved in international trade—that was the coolest thing to me,” McGinnis said. “It’s not something you really think about.”
Dr. Treva Clark, assistant chair and associate professor of business and economics at LVC, was also invited to the reception due to her active involvement with the WTC Harrisburg. At the reception, both had the opportunity to speak with Governor Wolf and even take a quick selfie with him.
For McGinnis, the reception was full of unexpected surprises. He had the chance to speak with Governor Wolf twice during the program.
“He’s someone that in my eyes is very important,” McGinnis said. “And for him to be so personable was impressive…he was very approachable.”
The event, sponsored by WTC Harrisburg, featured 15 trade representatives from abroad who presented their work from the last year. The representatives were also able to hold consultations for local businesses seeking to have an international presence. Both McGinnis and Clark enjoyed meeting the representatives and hearing about the global reach of Pennsylvania businesses.
“People don’t realize how strong the reach of the Pennsylvania economy is compared to other economic entities,” Clark said. “More than 30,000 jobs in Pennsylvania are related to its role as an exporter.”
For Clark the evening also marked another occasion for LVC to celebrate its own global and local impact.
“The World Trade Center really views LVC as being an important partner,” Clark said. “I had quite a number of people who I’d never met before say ‘Oh, you’re Dr. Clark. I hear about your interns and LVC’s program.’ It was really neat to see us starting to be known in those circles from a government and industry standpoint. We were deserving of a seat at that table, I think.”
The College is one of the few private institutions in the local area to be a full member of the WTC Harrisburg. Due to that membership, students have gained opportunities to attend educational seminars and workshops, and access to a community of PA businesses committed to furthering their global outreach.
Ultimately, the experience left a lasting impression on McGinnis, who plans to continue studying economics in graduate school. His internship at the WTC Harrisburg impressed upon him the importance of staying involved with local economies. In summarizing his experience, the reception was memorable, but his internship was invaluable.
“We all like to learn in classes, but to have that real world experience—it’s as much about what you learn in your internship and who you meet,” McGinnis said. “That’s the neat part of getting hands-on experiences like this.”