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Four Seniors Are Maryland Public Service Scholars

Katherine Stohlman

Elizabeth Schwab in Annapolis

Elizabeth Schwab, at right, is a Maryland Public Service Scholar in the Criminal Justice Division of the Governor's Office of Crime and Prevention, Youth and Victim Services.

Four Mount students are participating in the Maryland Public Service Scholars program this summer. Christopher DePiazza, William Onofre, Elizabeth Schwab and Devin Peart, all members of the Class of 2023, are working at community-oriented, 10-week internships across the state. The Maryland Public Service Scholars program is an outreach of the Shriver Center, based at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Member organizations include the Maryland Department of Transportation Fellows Program, the Sondheim Nonprofit Leadership Program, the Sondheim Public Service Law Fellows and the Governor’s Summer Internship Program.

chris-dep-in-text.jpgChristopher DePiazza is an intern at the Food Recovery Network (FRN), a nonprofit that aims to fight hunger by mobilizing college students in efforts to reduce food waste and redistribute unused perishable foods. DePiazza, who works remotely from the Mount’s campus as he completes another internship at the university’s new Center for Service, primarily helps FRN with survey reports, grant reports and marketing. After hearing about the program through the Career Center, he decided to apply and, after a rigorous application process, was accepted to the Sondheim, Nonprofit Leadership Program.

The St. Mary’s County, Maryland, native is double majoring in sociology and economics, with a minor in Spanish. “For the writing sample [in the application], I submitted the first half of my major research project [from a sociology class] on unemployment due to COVID-19 for Mount undergraduate students’ families,” he noted. When asked how the work he is doing this summer will impact his future career, he remarked that the work “aligns very well with my future goals because I see myself working in the nonprofit sector for a while post-graduation.” He emphasized how much sensitivity and intentionality are needed to work with underprivileged communities successfully, and how much he has grown as a professional because of the internship.

william-onofre-in-text.jpgWilliam Onofre, who hails from Silver Spring, Maryland, is interning at the Governor's Office of Crime Prevention in the Youth and Victims Services unit. Like DePiazza, he heard about the Public Service Scholars program through Career Center emails. He described the application process as long, but helpful in terms of developing as a writer. The unit where he is working, under the Governor's Summer Internship Program, aims to provide aid, monetary and otherwise, to victims of sexual assaults and other violent crimes.

Fittingly, Onofre is studying political science as his major, with minors in business, legal studies, history and international studies. His goal is to attend law school and one day become an attorney. His work this summer consists of submitting crime victims’ requests for reimbursement, primarily to cover medical expenses related to the crime they suffered. Difficult as the work can be, Onofre has found it rewarding to “hear of the different stories of innocent individuals who have fallen victim to crimes. I can put myself in their shoes and understand the pain victims go through…make them feel that this office cares about them and that we are willing to help them as much as we can.” Onofre stated that he hopes to bring the deep empathy that this internship is teaching him to his future career as a lawyer. “This program allowed me to not only learn how my state government works but also allows me to help those in need,” he reflected.

elizabeth-schwab-intern-in-text.jpgElizabeth Schwab, a criminal justice and sociology major with a minor in political science, is also an intern for the Governor’s Office of Crime Prevention, Youth, and Victim Services, in the Criminal Justice division under the Governor's Summer Internship Program. Her many duties include reviewing grant applications, learning how to plan a statewide summit on a new model being used in criminal justice, and attending meetings on issues affecting Maryland, such as the ongoing opioid epidemic. During her internship thus far, she has learned “about the different policies, efforts and systems in place to help prevent crime as well as assist youth and victims in our state” and has even obtained a Grants Financial Management certification from the Maryland Department of Justice.

Schwab, originally from Faulkner, Maryland, has always known that, upon graduation, she wants to pursue work helping victims of crimes and their families—a dream that her internship has transformed into a tangible goal. She noted that she had previously thought to attend graduate school and then apply to work for the FBI but has become more interested in crime prevention and crime-focused state policies. “This internship is showing me the direct impact that legislation has on victims and their families,” she observed. “Most people think of criminal justice as police work, but there is so much more. We need to prevent crime as well as aid the victims and their families.”

devin-p-in-text.pngDevin Peart, a Littlestown, Pennsylvania native, is a political science major. Like the others, he heard about the Public Service Scholars program via Career Center emails. His internship through the Governor's Summer Internship Program is with the Maryland Center for School Safety, a state-level arm of the Department of Education. With his long-term hopes of working for the federal government, in either a legislative or executive capacity, program that introduces participants to state-level government seemed to be the perfect fit.

For the summer, Peart is working as the assistant to the Maryland Center for School Safety’s executive director. He assists her with a variety of tasks, including drafting analyses, drafting reports, collecting data, attending the Maryland Center for School Safety’s Summer Conference in Baltimore, and much more. Reflecting on his work, compared to a previous internship at the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, he stated that he’s learned just how different executive and legislative work can be. While the work has been, in some ways, a “major adjustment” for him, he’s found deeper confidence in his abilities and his chances of finding a meaningful job after graduating next year. No doubt echoing the sentiments of all four Public Service Scholars, Peart took the time to “thank the Career Center as well as Mount St. Mary's for the support and resources they have provided for me,” recommending that any other students who feel lost as they try to plan their trajectory, reach out for the Career Center’s help.

Katherine Stohlman