Careers and Internships

Careers and Internships

Political Science Jobs

Recent graduates of Penn State Behrend’s Political Science program are employed at the following: Toyota Motors, Pennsylvania State Police, Pennsylvania General Assembly, Central Intelligence Agency, Internal Revenue Service, U.S. Peace Corps, U.S. Border Patrol, U.S. Navy JAG Corps, U.S. Marshals Service, U.S. State Department, and NASA. Many graduates have obtained positions in private law firms and public high schools.

Graduates have also continued their education at a number of graduate and law schools such as Cornell University, Johns Hopkins University, University of Michigan, University of Maryland, The George Washington University, The University of Pennsylvania, The Ohio State University, and Case Western Reserve University.

Student Internships

Please read Internship Programs and Policies for information on how to find internships and how to obtain academic credit.

Political or government internships are recommended for all political science majors. Penn State Behrend students have a wide variety of internship opportunities due to the large number of political and government offices located in Erie. Internships can be obtained for academic credit or just for the experience - students are responsible for contacting political or government offices to set up the internships.

Recent political science students have interned in the following offices:

  • Erie office of Senator Bob Casey
  • Office of State Representative Flo Fabrizio
  • Governor's Northwest Regional Office
  • State Attorney General's Office Bureau of Consumer Protection in Erie
  • Erie County Department of Health
  • Erie City Police
  • Office of Erie Mayor Joseph Sinnott
  • Erie County District Attorney's Office

Your Career Starts Here

Penn State Behrend has a comprehensive support system to help you identify and achieve your goals for the classroom and beyond. Meet with your academic adviser often and take advantage of the services offered by the Academic and Career Planning Center beginning in your first semester.

Employers Are Looking For You!

Wall Street Journal survey of 479 corporate recruiting executives across thirty industries ranked Penn State the number-one overall institution in the nation for producing the best prepared, most well-rounded new hires.



Shannon Lawlor, Ashley Solo, Sarah Veslany, Sarah Hall, and Nicole Malinowski (l-r) meet Tom Ridge, former Congressman from Erie, former Pennsylvania Governor, and former US Secretary of Homeland Security, at the Erie County Bar Association Law Day event on April 24.

Shannon Lawlor, Ashley Solo, Sarah Veslany, Sarah Hall, and Nicole Malinowski (l-r) meet Tom Ridge, former Congressman from Erie, former Pennsylvania Governor, and former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security, at the Erie County Bar Association Law Day event on April 24.

Careers of Penn State Behrend Political Science Alumni (as of August 2016)

There are 439 POLSC alumni since the first major graduated in 1977. 

We were able to determine the current jobs of 347 (79%) of those alumni.

Of those 347 alumni, the most common career paths are:

  • Business professionals             (n=89, 26%)
  • Law                                        (n=73, 21%)
  • Government service                (n=72, 21%,)
  • Education                                (n=53, 15%)
  • Politics and policy                   (n=19, 5%)
  • Health care                              (n=19, 5%)
  • Non-profit professionals          (n=12, 3%)
  • Political Activism                     (n=6, 2%)

Note that 12 government attorneys are double counted in both the law and government service fields, and that 3 policy researchers who work for government agencies are also double counted.



Among the 73 alumni who work in the legal field are:

  • 60 attorneys
  • 7 in law school or who just finished this year
  • 6 paralegals or legal assistants

Some of the attorneys are partners in large law firms, some of our alumni have opened up their own law firms, some work for the government, and some work as corporate counsels or for non-profit agencies.

The government attorneys work for:

  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection
  • New York City Department of Education
  • U.S. Department of Labor
  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
  • U.S. Department of Justice
  • Erie County District Attorney (our alumnus is an assistant district attorney)
  • Potter County District Attorney (our alumnus is the elected district attorney)
  • Warren County District Attorney (our alumnus is an assistant district attorney)
  • Cuyahoga County (Ohio) Prosecutor's Office
  • Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission
  • Federal Bureau of Prisons
  • Michigan Attorney General

Some of the corporate and non-profit counsels work for:

  • The Nature Conservancy
  • American Eagle Outfitters
  • AmeriHealth Caritas


Business Professions

Among the 89 alumni who work as business professionals, 16 work in management, 10 work in insurance, 9 work in sales administration, 8 work in banking, 8 work in finance, 4 work in marketing, 3 are human resources executives, 3 are MBA students, and 11 run their own small or medium-sized businesses, with the rest in a variety of business professional careers.

Some of the business professionals hold the following positions:

  • Senior Financial Analyst, Southeast Toyota
  • Commercial Underwriter, Erie Insurance
  • Program Manager, Raytheon
  • Senior Associate, Brand Marketing, Burson-Marsteller
  • ​Senior Business Systems Analyst, AbbVie Pharmaceuticals
  • Recruiting Manager, Deloitte


Government Service

Among the 72 alumni who work in government service:

  • 28 work for the federal government
  • 20 work for state governments
  • 12 work for local governments
  • 12 are career military

Among those working for the government are seven who work as law enforcement officers at the local, state, or federal level. Twelve alumni work as government attorneys.

Two alumni hold elected office - a member of the Pennsylvania State Senate and the District Attorney for Potter County, Pennsylvania.

Federal government positions of alumni (excluding attorneys) include:

  • CIA agent
  • Foreign Service Officer, U.S. Department of State
  • Senior Inspector, U.S. Marshals Service
  • U.S. Capitol Police officer
  • Research Analyst, FBI
  • Case Analyst, Social Security Administration
  • Revenue Officer, Internal Revenue Service
  • Supervisor and Program Analyst, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Equal Employment Opportunity Specialist, U.S. Department of Defense
  • Senior Engineer, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
  • Database Administrator, U.S. Senate Office of Public Records
  • U.S. Border Patrol agent
  • Community Planning and Development Representative, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

State government positions of alumni (excluding attorneys) include:

  • Pennsylvania State Senator
  • Pennsylvania State Police trooper
  • Deputy Director for Community Development, Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development
  • Environmental Planner, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
  • Executive Director, Pennsylvania Governor's Action Team
  • Director of Adult Protective Services, Pennsylvania Department of Human Services

Local government positions of alumni (excluding attorneys) include:

  • Chair, Human Relations Commission, City of Durham, NC
  • Caseworker, Erie County Office of Children and Youth
  • Police Officer, Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Police Department
  • Park Ranger, New York City Department of Parks and Recreation

Those with military careers are serving in the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Coast Guard, and U.S. Marines.



Among the 53 alumni who work in education are:

  • 11 social studies teachers
  • 8 who work as teachers in other fields in elementary or high schools
  • 2 school administrators
  • 4 university professors
  • 21 college or university administrators
  • 7 who are pursuing graduate degrees in order to teach

Positions held by our alumni in education include:

  • Social Studies teachers in Erie School District, Iroquois School District, Millcreek School District, in Baltimore, MD, in suburban Orlando, in suburban Pittsburgh, in suburban Philadelphia, in suburban Rochester, NY
  • Professor of Public Administration, Florida State University
  • Director of Risk Management and Safety, University of Notre Dame
  • Student Affairs Officer, UCLA
  • Associate Director of Student Affairs, Penn State Behrend
  • ​Academic Advisor, Penn State Behrend
  • ​International Services Advisor, Clemson University
  • Reference Librarian, University of Connecticut Law Library


Public Policy

Of the 19 alumni with careers in public policy, 3 are currently graduate students in policy, 3 work for government agencies, while the other 13 work in the private sector.

Among the positions of our alumni in public policy are:

  • Director for International Trade Policy, Toyota Motor North America
  • Government Relations Specialist, Erie Insurance
  • Senior Advisor, Center for Naval Analyses
  • Managing Editor, Geospatial Intelligence Review
  • Senior Director, The Advisory Board Company (health care research consultants)
  • Senior Analyst, The Investigative Project on Terrorism
  • Associate, Enviroissues



6 alumni currently work as political activists.

Among their positions are:

  • Political Director at Unite Here (union), Local 25, in Washington, D.C.
  • Project Associate, Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research (political consultants)
  • Political Consultant, Meridian Strategies
  • Field Organizer, Pennsylvania Democratic Party


Other Career Areas

Our remaining alumni work in a variety of fields, with health care, non-profit professionals, and entertainment among the most numerous careers. Jobs held by some of our alumni in these other fields include:

  • Senior Interactive Producer, Dreamworks Animation
  • Executive Director, Neighborhood Learning Alliance in Pittsburgh
  • Executive Vice President for International Distribution, Dick Clark Productions
  • Registered Nurse, Carolinas Health Care System
  • Clinical Supervisor, KidsPeace
  • Writer/Producer, Turner Classic Movies
  • Investigator, Keypoint Government Solutions
  • Case Manager, Health South
  • Business Acceleration Agent, The Hague Institute for the Internationalisation of Law


Graduate and Law Schools

Among the law schools attended by our alumni since 2000 are:

Cornell University, Syracuse University, New York University, Duquesne University, University of Pittsburgh, The George Washington University, University of Maryland, University of Illinois, Case Western Reserve University, Michigan State University, The Ohio State University, Vermont Law School, University of Michigan, Thomas M Cooley Law School, Ave Maria School of Law, Widener University, Cleveland Marshall College of Law, Penn State Dickinson School of Law, University of Buffalo, Willamette University, Ohio Northern University, Catholic University of Washington, D.C., Boston College

Among the graduate schools attended by our alumni since 2000 are:

University of Pennsylvania, Cambridge University (England), The Johns Hopkins University, University of Virginia, University of Buffalo, The George Washington University, Georgetown University, Louisiana State University, Fudan University (Shanghai, China), University of Windsor (Ontario, Canada), Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (Geneva, Switzerland), University of Delaware, Cleveland State University, University of Akron, Mercyhurst University, Penn State Harrisburg, University of South Carolina, Edinboro University, University of Illinois at Chicago, Oregon State University, University of Connecticut, University of Pittsburgh, Pepperdine University, University of Leeds (England)