W&J senior boosts career in government with PA Department of Revenue internship

Created: July 30, 2018
Last Updated: July 17, 2020

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WASHINGTON, PA (July 30, 2018)—Washington & Jefferson College (W&J) senior Tara O’Toole ’19 is getting a jump start on a career in government with a summer internship at the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue.

Tara, a political science and business administration double major on the pre-law track, received guidance from W&J Professor and Department Chair of Political Science Joseph DiSarro, Ph.D., and others in the pre-law department to find the internship, which is managed by the James A. Finnegan Foundation. The Foundation provides practical training in government and politics for outstanding undergraduate students by offering a number of ten-week paid internships in executive agencies located in Harrisburg.

Tara was offered an internship at her choice of state agencies, and selected the Department of Revenue. She has been involved in a variety of projects with the department’s Bureau of Enforcement, Planning, Analysis, and Discovery.

“This internship has given me a great look inside how our state agencies operate and what type of tasks they do on a daily basis. It has given me an even greater appreciation for our government at all levels and has shown me every job and task done within the government truly plays a part in meeting a goal to assist the public,” Tara said. “Considering I hope to work for the government in some form in the future, this internship has been a very valuable and eye-opening experience. I’ve obtained a lot of practical skills in analysis-based work that I can use in a multitude of different positions in the future.”

This is not Tara’s first internship experience while studying at W&J; she’s also worked with the office of Congressman Keith Rothfus (PA-12) and the Peace Corps. She credits her previous internships with helping her to hone her skills in communication, marketing, event planning, and recording and documentation.

Tara credits the outstanding education provided through W&J’s pre-law track with leading her to success in her internships.

“The classes in both my political science and business administration majors have given me a lot of much-needed background knowledge for this internship,” she said. “What I’ve previously learned in these classes about the government on the state level and about business and taxes not only helped me to get the internship position, but helps most of what I do in my internship make sense on a greater scale. Additionally, the critical thinking skills a liberal arts education has provided helps me think through the projects I’ve been assigned from all different angles and make a thorough determination of how to best complete a task.”

In addition to a weekly salary from the Finnegan Foundation internship program paid through funds from the Commonwealth, W&J’s Franklin Internship Award financially supported Tara’s experience. Awards are available to sophomores and juniors who have a GPA of at least 2.5.

Students interested in internships with the state government through the Finnegan Foundation can find more information on their website.

About Washington & Jefferson College

Washington & Jefferson College, located in Washington, Pa., is a selective liberal arts college founded in 1781. Committed to providing each of its students with the highest-quality undergraduate education available, W&J offers a traditional arts and sciences curriculum emphasizing interdisciplinary study and independent study work. For more information about W&J, visit www.washjeff.edu, or call 888-W-AND-JAY.

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