Mwaba, Mohammed, appointed as college of arts and sciences’ undergraduate executive interns

Charles Beers, Staff Writer

The University’s Undergraduate Executive Internship Program has thrived throughout the 2015-2016 academic year. It has not only allowed undergraduates to receive direct professional experience from staff members within their fields of interests; it has also provided students with the opportunity to give back to the University community. Bwalya Mwaba ’16 and Mona Mohammed ’16 are current interns in the College of Arts and Sciences.

The Undergraduate Executive Internship Program is comprised of a group of distinguished University students who help contribute to the community by working closely alongside a senior staff advisor, while simultaneously learning about a specific field of their choice. In building a relationship with this professional, the student participates in a project that benefits the campus as a whole. Last week’s issue focused on the interns working for the Office of Communications; this week’s issue turns its attention to interns in the College of Arts and Sciences and highlights their efforts in the program.

Mwaba is an international relations and environmental studies major with a minor in French and Francophone studies. In addition to this internship and his studies, Mwaba keeps busy by participating in extensive extracurricular activities. He is currently a member of the Bucknell Advancing Communities, Educating & Serving (B.A.C.E.S) and former Head of Publicity, as well as the former president of the class of 2016 and a former class representative.

“I was inspired to apply for the Executive Internship because it was a great way for me to learn more about Bucknell and how this institution operates while gaining valuable work experience,” Mwaba said. “The UEIP program at Bucknell is a fantastic opportunity … because you are working in a professional setting, enhancing your soft and hard skills, and are constantly presented with fantastic networking opportunities. I also love how the program gives you room to grow in so many different ways.”

Mwaba expressed his excitement about the internship program, stating that his senior staff advisor, Associate Dean of Arts and Sciences Lynn Breyfogle is “absolutely amazing.”

“She allows me the liberty to approach tasks as I see fit and encourages independent, critical, thinking. I am currently working on changing a facet of the first-year orientation program for the college under her guidance,” Mwaba said. 

For Mwaba, becoming an Executive Intern was a new type of learning experience.

“You learn more just by being in the program because it is centered heavily on the interns,” Mwaba said. “One meeting, the group actually had a professional development session with the CDC which focused on how to work a room. The event was very rewarding, as well as a whole lot of fun!”

When asked about what his plans are for after graduation, Mwaba stated his intention to go to graduate school and further his academics.

“Being a part of the Executive Intern program … has given me the opportunity to receive mentoring and advice from many different voices and perspectives about how to reach my objectives,” Mwaba said. 

The Undergraduate Executive Internship Program spans all disciplines and interests, providing the student body with rewarding opportunities to grow as leaders with a valuable voice on campus.

Mohammed, who calls the College of Arts and Sciences “her home,” is a distinguished member of the Class of 2016. Originally from Sana’a, Yemen, Mohammed is a civil and environmental engineering and women’s and gender studies double major. Despite her commitment to her studies, she finds time to contribute in the University community. Mohammed serves as a student worker in the Women’s Resource Center, as well as an International Orientation Leader and a researcher in the Environmental Engineering Department.

This semester marks the second consecutive year that Mohammed, who is earning her degrees in a five-year program in liberal arts and engineering, has been a part of the Executive Internship program.

“My sophomore year, I received an email from a friend who was an exec intern about the program, but I knew I couldn’t apply because I was going to be abroad for a semester in my junior year,” Mohammed said. “However, that put the program on my radar. The year after I kept checking the program and waiting to see when the applications would open.”

In starting her internship at the University, Mohammed has since held the program as a precious learning experience.

“I value the opportunities the program gives me and the other interns. [I’m] always getting introduced to a variety of people who care about Bucknell, from administration to trustees,” Mohammed said. “I especially value the relationship that I have been able to develop with my mentor as we continue to work together.”

Mohammed is currently working with Breyfogle on a Dean’s Student Advisory Council. Both Mohammed and Breyfogle are committed to making the Dean’s Office more responsive to the student body.

“We want to make sure that the student’s voice is heard and [that we are] able to take their input in decisions that the Dean’s office ends up making,” Mohammed said.

Mohammed said that she has been happy to give back to the community over the course of her two years as an Executive Intern. Her work with Dean Breyfogle was not only a learning experience, but also an outlet for her to make the campus more unified and welcoming for future classes.

“I have especially been involved on working with [Dean Breyfogle] on the STEM scholar program, and I think that is a program that creates a support system for students who otherwise don’t have that support system readily,” Mohammed said. “We all work together to shape the Bucknell we want, and I try to add my little piece to it.”

Mohammed said that she will never forget her time as an intern for the College of Arts and Sciences, nor will she forget the lessons she learned from her mentor as she prepares to graduate in the spring.

“It has made me want to stay in school longer. I am currently applying to graduate school to study water purification systems and their application in the developing world,” Mohammed said. 

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