Most Clarks Summit University programs have elements of hands-on learning and real career experience built right into the program. Student teaching, internships and counseling observations all help students gain experience in a safe place before stepping into their careers. Here is glimpse at just a few of those experiences from CSU students in 2020.
As a senior Elementary Education major at CSU, Stephanie Fry completed half of her 16-week student teaching experience in her hometown of Coudersport, Pennsylvania, where she taught kindergarten in-person and virtually. She completed the second half of her experience as a second grade teacher at another school. Although there were times she felt uncertain about her major, she fell in love with being a teacher as she began to work with elementary students in a classroom.
With schools adopting various safety measures due to COVID-19, Fry has learned how to be flexible as a teacher. “With all the COVID changes, students flip-flopping between school and online, and the personal changes in my life, I am learning the importance of flexibility,” she said. Her faith has helped her to work diligently through the challenges.
Throughout her four years at CSU, she has seen how God is at work in her life. “God has put specific people in my life, sports and events that have all contributed to God’s plan, and it has been so cool to recognize what He is doing,” she said. Since graduating in December, she has accepted a teaching position at an elementary school in Mercersburg, Pennsylvania.
Sara Filimon wrapped up her last semester as an Intercultural Studies major at CSU in the fall. Her internship with Mission Scranton allowed her to put her passion for serving others into practice. “I love working with kids, and I think that it is everyone’s duty to invest themselves in the next generation,” she said. She used her time at Mission Scranton to help children understand the work God is doing in their lives and to communicate His love for them.
Filimon’s professors taught her about cross-cultural communication and helped her decide an internship she was excited about that would help her reach her future goals. In her time at college, she says she’s learned how to be fruitful for God’s kingdom.
Filimon is raising support to begin as a full-time missionary to her native Romania through Baptist Mission Association of America. She is part of a gospel-centered church planting team heading to Brosov, Romania this February; she plans to focus on multiplication of disciples through planting churches. (Watch for more of her story to come on CSU’s website and social media!)
Pastoring in Utah
Noah Valen is as an Accelerated Pastoral student at CSU, earning a Pastoral Ministry undergraduate degree at Clarks Summit University while he works on his Master of Divinity through Bible Baptist Seminary. During his summer internship, he worked with CenterPoint Church in Orem, Utah, serving as the director of the reopening procedures of the church. “The church is quite large, around a thousand people,” Valen describes. “My job was to help the church safely reopen during the pandemic and then restart the welcoming place.”
His internship helped him to connect with different ministries, pastors and Christian ministers. It required him to think of ways that the church can open during the pandemic by following the CDC guidelines. “This ranged from research…to developing social distancing plans, creating cleaning and sanitizing procedures for the Welcome Team,” he said.
Through the internship, he learned administrative, leadership and communication skills as he led 30 people on a team; he learned how to collaborate with others when the pastoral staff did not fully agree. He plans to return to the region to work with Utah Valley Church for his seminary internship after getting married. “My fiancé and I both have felt the desire to go back out there and leave an impact for Jesus,” Valen said. Future plans may include planting evangelical churches, because of the lack of them in the region.
By Tatyana Carmona, Communications-Writing major