History Internships & Student Resources

Put your knowledge into practice, and prepare for your career.

History majors have numerous opportunities for hands-on or field experience, options for national and international scholarships and fellowships, or to pursue departmental honors through a research thesis.

We encourage majors in Lebanon Valley College’s History Program to complete an internship as part of their undergraduate experience. Internships offer students the opportunity to work in a professional setting, guided by practitioners in the field with academic supervision by the college. Students in the Law & Society program are required to fulfill at least one three-credit internship.

  • Help students identify career goals and formulate plans for graduate study
  • Provide job experience in a professional setting
  • Offer contacts (often invaluable for post-graduate job search or graduate school applications).

If you are interested in setting up an internship for credit, you must enroll in GLB 400, HIS 400, LAW 400, or POL 400, depending on your major or minor. Please contact Dr. Philip Benesch (benesch@lvc.edu) for more information.


Internship Agreement Form

The Office of the Registrar plays a critical role in the process as well. Be sure to obtain, complete, and return the Internship Agreement Form if you expect to receive credit for your internship experience.

Examples of Internships and Info

  1. The student will write a journal entry each week to be uploaded via the journal link on the POL/GLB/HIS/LAW 400 Canvas page. The journal is the single most important component of your assessment; please complete journal assignments in a timely and professional manner.
  2. The student will maintain a log of hours: please use an Excel spreadsheet to enter the hours for each week and to keep a “running total” of hours for the semester; a print-out of the spreadsheet, signed by the on-site supervisor, must be handed to the faculty supervisor at the end of the semester. You are reminded that for EACH hour of internship credit, you MUST complete a minimum of 45 hours of work (not including lunches or breaks) at the placement; it is your responsibility to ensure that the requisite number of hours is attained by the completion of the semester.
  3. The student is expected to maintain regular contact with the academic supervisor throughout the semester.
  4. The student will write a term paper (MS Word format preferred) on a topic related to their internship (length of the paper = 2-3 pages for each credit); it must be uploaded via the Canvas/Turnitin assignments link.
  5. The student must receive faculty supervisor approval for both the paper topic and the bibliography/list of sources from which the paper is to be drawn.
  6. The faculty supervisor will send a mid-term and an end of semester evaluation checklist to the on-site supervisor to assist his/her assessment of the intern.
  7. The faculty supervisor will be in phone and/or email contact with the on-site supervisor during the semester to check that all is going well.
  8. If time permits, and/or circumstances require, the faculty supervisor will visit the internship site when both the intern and the on-site supervisor are present.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) has developed the six factors below to evaluate whether a worker is a trainee or an employee for purposes of the FLSA: 1. The training, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar to what would be given in a vocational school or academic educational instruction; 2. The training is for the benefit of the trainees; 3. The trainees do not displace regular employees, but work under their close observation; 4. The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the trainees, and on occasion the employer’s operations may actually be impeded; 5. The trainees are not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the training period; and 6. The employer and the trainees understand that the trainees are not entitled to wages for the time spent in training. If all of the factors listed above are met, then the worker is a “trainee,” an employment relationship does not exist under the FLSA, and the FLSA’s minimum wage and overtime provisions do not apply to the worker.

In recent years, History majors have enjoyed placements with several museums, media organizations, and archives. Students placed with museums have received diverse training in cataloging and tracing the chain of ownership of donated, borrowed, or purchased artifacts, conducting museum tours and associated in-museum classroom instruction for school field trips, and researching and describing items to be displayed in upcoming special exhibitions (one student was commissioned by a museum to prepare an educational video to be featured in a special exhibition).

  • One student arranged a library archival internship while studying for a semester in Italy
  • Several students have completed archival internships with the Lebanon County Historical Society
  • One student secured a prestigious Pennsylvania House of Representatives Archival Fellowship
  • One student did a summer archival internship with the Watkinson Special Collections Library at Trinity College in Connecticut
  • Five students have interned with the Antique Automobile Club of America Museum in Hershey
  • Two students have interned at the Cornwall Iron Furnace
  • One student interned at the Pennsylvania Railroad Museum
  • One student interned at the Pennsylvania State Police Museum at Hershey
  • One student interned at the Lebanon County Historical Society (Museum & Archives internship)

We have also had students placed with media organizations including WGAL, Source Media, and the LVC Office of Marketing and Communications. The next step? Contact internship coordinator Dr. Philip Benesch (benesch@lvc.edu).

Our Political Science students have been very successful in securing rewarding and exciting placements with government agencies, elected politicians, political campaigns, lobbyists, and interest groups. Here are examples of some politically-interesting internships that our students have developed over the past few years:

  • Ten students have secured highly competitive paid Legislative Fellowships with the PA House of Representatives
  • One student received a paid legislative internship with the New York Assembly
  • Several students have been placed as interns with individual PA State Senators and Representatives
  • Three have held placements in the office of U.S. Congressman Holden (Lebanon and Harrisburg offices)
  • One student interned at the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington D.C.
  • One intern was placed at the District Office of U.S. Congressman Murtha
  • One student interned as an organizer with the Obama primary election campaign and subsequently with the fall ’08 Barack Obama Presidential Campaign
  • One student interned with the fall 2006 Democratic Coordinated Election Campaign
  • Five students have interned at the Republican Party of Pennsylvania’s main office.

Further, during recent years, Political Science majors have been placed with a number of interest groups (e.g., Common Cause, Sierra Club, the Lincoln Institute), lobbyists (e.g., Pugliese Associates; Kline Associates, The Ridge Policy Group), public relations firms (e.g., La Torre Communications), media organizations (e.g., CBS Boston, WGAL Lancaster), state and local government offices (e.g., PA Office of International Business Development, Dauphin County Clerk, District Attorney offices), and community groups (e.g., Domestic Violence Initiative, Aids Community Alliance).

Additional internship resources for Political Science majors are available from the American Political Science Association.

The next step? Contact internship coordinator Dr. Philip Benesch (benesch@lvc.edu).

Law office internships allow pre-law students to have a better grasp of a lawyer’s life (all too often glamorized in movies and on TV) and to observe how the workload of most lawyers is organized. Most interns have thrived as a result of their legal placements, forming long-term friendships with supervising lawyers and receiving career guidance and letters of recommendation when applying to law school. Students placed with Mid-Penn Legal services (since spring 2006 LVC has placed 13 interns with various office of this legal services organization) experience directly how lawyers are able to act as advocates for the poorest and most vulnerable populations – providing socially significant legal assistance to those seeking Protection From Abuse Orders, those needing counsel in custody disputes, those facing aggressive landlords, and those requiring bankruptcy guidance when oppressed by debilitating indebtedness. The following list is offered as a representative sample of pre-law internships recently available to LVC students:

  • Mid-Penn Legal Services
  • Office of the Legal Counsel to the President Pro-Tem of the State Senate, Harrisburg
  • Feather & Feather Law Office, Annville
  • Manke, Wagner, Spreha, & McQuillan Law Office, Harrisburg
  • County D.A. offices in Onandaga, NY and Harrisburg
  • Piontek Law Office, Hershey
  • Stock & Leader Law, Lancaster
  • Engler Law Office, Lebanon
  • Office of the Attorney General, State of New Jersey
  • Public Defender’s Office of Lebanon County, Lebanon
  • Schutjer Bogar, Harriburg
  • Clymer and Musser, Lancaster
  • Law Office of Dennis E. Cuomo, Baltimore, MD
  • Coughlan & Gerhart, LLP
  • Wilson Esler Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker LLP, Philadelphia

The next step? Contact internship coordinator Dr. Philip Benesch (prelaw@lvc.edu).

Scholarships and Fellowships

We encourage our students to consider applying for one or more exciting national and international scholarship and fellowship opportunities, such as the Fulbright, the Udall, and the Truman Awards. A current list of awards, including a brief description of the program, eligibility requirements, and application deadlines, is available through The Breen Center for Career and Professional Development.

Interested students should contact Dr. Philip Benesch, Associate Professor of Political Science and the College’s Faculty Director for External Scholarships and Fellowships, at scholarfellow@lvc.edu.


Departmental Honors

Majors in Applied History, History, Global Studies, or Political Science may apply for departmental honors. Students write an honors thesis on a subject of their choosing, under the guidance of an honors committee made up of three faculty members.

The student is required to defend his or her thesis publicly, at which time the committee determines whether the project is worthy of honors. If successful, the student’s diploma will state that he or she received departmental honors, and this also will be listed in the graduation program.

Students who are interested in pursuing honors should contact a professor in their discipline to discuss their proposed project. This is a two-semester commitment, and the expectations and demands of an honors thesis are much higher than a regular class paper.

We strongly recommend that students complete their thesis and defend it during the semester prior to the semester they plan to graduate. That allows time for the student to make minor revisions after the defense, which is a common requirement. This will be particularly important for Global Studies or Political Science majors who are using honors to meet a requirement for graduation. Moreover, the final semester is typically particularly busy, and we believe that students are likely to be able to devote more time to the thesis in the previous semester.

Students with a junior or senior standing are eligible to apply for Departmental Honors. Students must have a GPA of 3.5 in their major courses and a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0. These requirements must be met both at the time of application and at the time of graduation.

In addition to the GPA requirements, the honors program includes a substantial piece of work requiring extensive independent research within an Independent Study program resulting in a high-caliber thesis. A thesis of this quality requires sustained research effort throughout at least one semester and requires a topic of study and research before the start of the semester.

The student must form an Honors Committee consisting of three faculty members. The Chair and Second Reader must be full-time professors in the student’s major. The Third Reader must be an LVC professor who works in a related area, but in a discipline other than the student’s major. For example, a History major would need two History professors and one from a discipline such as Politics, Economics, or Psychology.

The student is expected to work independently and to meet with his/her Committee Chair on at least a bi-weekly basis. The Chair may require written work for each meeting. If at any time the Chair believes that the student’s research effort is insufficient for an Honors project, s/he may recommend cessation of Honors and dissolve the Honors committee. In this eventuality, the student will still be enrolled in an Independent Study and will receive credit assuming satisfactory completion of the Independent study program.

  • The semester before the project begins:
    • The student must submit by Dec. 1 (for those pursuing Spring honors) or May 1 (for those pursuing Fall honors) a one-page abstract that describes the proposed project, including research question, objectives, and methods.
    • The student must sign up for an Independent Study in his or her major (e.g. PSC 500, HIS 500) with the professor who will chair the Honors Committee.
  • Late January (or September): Students will be informed whether their proposal has been accepted for Honors. All proposals must be approved by all full-time faculty members in the student’s major. Students whose proposal is not approved for Honors may still complete the Independent Study, subject to approval by the supervising professor.
  • Third week of March (or October): Draft submitted to Committee Chair. The body should be at least 7500 words exclusive of notes, bibliography, etc.
  • Early April (or November): Draft submitted to full Honors Committee.
  • After reading the draft, the Second and Third members of the Honors Committee make a recommendation to the Chair as to whether or not the thesis is worthy of Honors.
  • Third week of April (or November): Final draft submitted to the Honors Committee. The Committee members have between one and two weeks to review the thesis.
  • Finals week or the week prior to finals: Oral defense of the project

The Committee Chair will schedule the oral defense in consultation with the Honors Committee and members of the Department of History, Politics, and Global Studies. The oral defense is announced to the public. It will normally take place during the examination period or the week prior.

During the oral defense, the student will present his or her work to the Committee and members of the Department of History, Politics, and Global Studies and respond to questions. Students should expect to be judged on the quality of their analysis and topic as well as their presentation of the research. The student will be expected to respond to suggestions, significant points and critiques of his or her work. The Chair and member(s) of the Committee have no role in defending the thesis. The oral defense may, but is not expected to last beyond one hour in total.

Immediately following the oral defense, the Committee will decide whether the candidate receives Honors (without revision), Honors (with revision), or No Honors. The Chair informs the candidate of the Committee’s recommendation. If revisions are required, the student will resubmit the thesis to the chair within one week.

The grade for the Independent Study will be assigned by the Committee Chair.

The student must file one paper copy and one electronic copy (CD) of the final thesis as well as a signed release form with the College Archives in Bishop Library.

The student should also submit a paper copy of the thesis to the Department of History, Politics, and Global Studies office.

Honors Recipients

May 2016 |”When Voters Say ‘No’ to Their Party: The Impact of Unfavorable Candidates in the 2016 Presidential Election”

This project was inspired by the author’s internship with the PA Victory team, a grassroots organization committed to electing Democrats to office in Pennsylvania in the 2016 election. In talking to registered voters prior to the election, she was struck by the number of both Democrats and Republicans who were not supportive of their party’s candidate. From these encounters, she became interested in the “normal” level of defection in an election – a term used by political scientists to describe those who vote for the candidate of a party other than their own – and predicted that we might see an abnormally high level of defection in the 2016 presidential election. The thesis tested the hypothesis that in states where the candidates’ unfavorability ratings were the highest, the level of defection also should be high. But while this did occur in some states, the evidence showed somewhat surprisingly that in the five states with the highest levels of unfavorability for both candidates, the correlation with levels of defection was fairly weak.

May 2016 | “Mobile Money and Mobile Finance as a Tool for Financial Inclusion and Economic Development in Sub-Saharan Africa”

This thesis examines the efficacy of utilizing mobile finance and mobile money as a tool for financial inclusion and economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa. Grounded in a conceptual framework constructed from selected schools of thought and economic growth literature, this study utilizes an ordinary least squares linear regression analysis to examine an endogenous econometric growth model. Accounting for other known drivers of growth – such as capital accumulation, human capital, savings, technology, and institutional quality – the model examines the explanatory power of the mobile subscription rate in determining the level of economic growth of a nation-state, as measured by Gross Domestic Product per capita at Purchasing Power Parity. Concluding that the mobile subscription rate is a statistically significant variable in explaining the level of economic growth, this thesis further examines the connection of mobile money and mobile finance services to the level of financial inclusion and the institutional quality in a nation. Finally, considering the results and previous literature on the subject, this paper develops specific policy prescriptions in order to optimize the growth potential from the use of mobile money and mobile finance services.

May 2016 | “Reimagining the Nation of Immigrants: Law and Society’s Role in Shaping the Citizen Identity”

Gio’s project examines the Supreme Court’s role in representing the will of the popular sovereign through upholding the Constitution in order to protect the exclusion of vulnerable minorities in the population, specifically, immigrants and refugees. Her interest in this topic was initiated during her internship with CWS-Lancaster Immigration Legal Services Program, where she studied immigration cases on the Supreme Court docket and began observing the attitudes of those in her community about immigrants. She incorporated her reading of the work of Paul Kahn, who suggest that as a justice authors the Opinion of the Court, public acceptance or disapproval of the decision can reinforce or delegitimize the authority of the law. Giovanna studied the Supreme Court’s role in shaping attitudes about immigrants when the rulings contain persuasive legal reasoning. Moreover, by investigating the historical development of the law alongside popular discourse about immigration, Giovanna investigated the process by which the language of elite political actors, like the delivered Opinion of the Court, affects identity politics.

Dec. 2014 | “Booms and Busts: The Politics behind Banking Stability” 

The importance of finance in the structure and workings of the global community is incomparable to any other factor. The delicate status of the economy in any state is primarily held in the hands of its banking system. Why then is a sector that is so important and highly regulated in most countries working so badly? Using the case studies of the United States and Canada, this thesis explores the politics of banking and the differences in the American and Canadian banking systems in order to explain why the American system is so prone to failures in comparison with the Canadian system. It argues that it is not the amount of regulation that dictates bank stability, but rather the type of regulation that influences stability. Regulation should improve market outcomes rather than serve special interests.

Dec. 2013 | “Sustainable Energy and the Path toward a More Principled Foreign Policy” 

This paper examines the different factors that affect America’s foreign policy decisions, and the struggle between realism and idealism in making U.S. foreign policy. Dillon analyzes the country’s principles and ideals, focusing on how today’s principles were influenced by the early American Republic, Lincoln’s republicanism, and Wilsonianism. He then conducted a series of case studies to show the interplay between idealism and realism in U.S. foreign policy, with special attention to the way that energy resources have affected policy decisions. In his analysis, Dillon considers the potential of sustainable energy for increased freedom of action by U.S. policymakers, and how this might lead to more principled decisions in the future.

This was a study of Hazleton, Pennsylvania, that focused on the city’s immigrant experience from the mid-19th century through present time. The author traveled to Hazleton regularly to conduct research and interview historians, reporters, and now-Congressman Lou Barletta, who was Mayor of Hazleton at the time. This honors thesis transitioned into the author’s post-LVC involvement in Hazleton, where he writes a column for the Hazleton Standard-Speaker and has served as a consultant for the Downtown Hazleton Alliance for Progress, the city’s public-private revitalization organization. He also serves as a board member of the Greater Hazleton Historical Society, where he has organized academic panel discussions and recently hosted a presentation on the region’s Irish immigrant experience with an Irish historian and New York Times editor. In March 2015, McElwee was honored in a ceremony held by the City of Hazleton for his community involvement. Recent photo of the author at his graduation from Penn’s Fels Institute of Government with a Master of Public Administration.