The Graduate Public Service Intern (GPSI) Program is one of nine units within the University of Illinois Springfield’s (UIS) Center for State Policy and Leadership. Since 1974, GPSI has been placing UIS students seeking a master’s degree or higher within state government agencies, not-for-profits, and associations. This program affords eligible graduate students an introduction to public service, the opportunity to get work experience in their field of study, and provides them with a tuition waiver and monthly stipend that makes graduate school more affordable. Additionally, GPSI allows participating agencies an opportunity to educate and train potential future public service professionals and obtain necessary help on various projects throughout their agencies.
At UIS, approximately 200 graduate student interns are employed at any given time through the GPSI program and are receiving financial assistance for their graduate degrees. The GPSI program is often regarded as one of the best ways for students to fund their graduate education at UIS while getting unique and invaluable work experience not present anywhere else in the state. As COVID-19 endures, so has the GPSI program. The proof is in the stories and experiences of our students and the hope that lives within the new interns continuing to be hired through virtual interviewing.
In light of the current COVID-19 pandemic, GPSI had to get creative in order to share details about the program normally delivered in person. GPSI Assistant Director Myra Kaufman conducted webinars and interviewed three students regarding their internship experience and their experience as a UIS graduate student.
One of those students, Brianna Klein, is currently working towards a dual degree in a Master’s of Public Health and a Master’s of Public Administration. Brianna is a Chronic Diseases intern at the Illinois Department of Public Health where her primary internship focus is on Diabetes Education. Through her internship, Brianna has had the ability to become a certified Diabetes Educator along with learning many other skills related to Public Health and Administration. Learn more about Brianna’s experience here.
It is GPSI’s hope that by continuing to share the stories and experiences of our interns and their supervisors, we can create new and revitalized interest in the growth of the GPSI program. From our recent expansion to the Chicago area, to the addition of a Doctoral Fellowship program in partnership with the Doctor of Public Administration program at UIS, GPSI has no intention of slowing down, nor letting a pandemic put an end to this program’s 47-year history. Internships are a common way for students to get their start in the professional world and it is the mission of the GPSI program to train and educate a new generation of public service professionals.
Myra Kaufman is the Assistant Director of the Graduate Public Service Intern program at UIS. Prior to her start at UIS and GPSI in July 2017, Myra earned her Bachelor’s degree in Applied Communication Studies- Interpersonal Communication and her Master’s degree in College Student Personnel Administration from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.