August 10, 2022

By Haley Dittbrenner ’25

During her first year at Susquehanna, Alayna Wenrich ’25 turned a service program opportunity into a summer internship.

Drawn to the Susquehanna University Student Leaders for its leadership aspects and the direct impact it has on her local community, Wenrich gained hands-on volunteer experience at Ashburn’s Animal Farm and Selinsgrove’s Regional Engagement Center — setting her up for her work at the Lewisburg Children’s Museum.

Wenrich, a double major in anthropology and art history, first began working with the museum in February. She credited the SUSL program for helping her build her leadership, public speaking and customer service skills, leading to increased confidence in her preparedness for a summer internship.

“The SUSL program, its seminar course and the Career Development Center staff are the reasons I was so prepared for this internship experience,” the Selinsgrove native said.

Wenrich participated in many large-scale projects, ranging from conducting research to planning outreach programs. In addition to developing an emergency plan for the museum, researching training programs for staff, and conducting grant research and outreach, she was tasked with planning and facilitating the Kid Olympics program.

“This was by far the biggest success I accomplished at the museum,” Wenrich said of the Kid Olympics. “I learned how to proactively communicate with individuals who held positions above mine, how to write formal donation request letters for nonprofit organizations and how to plan an entire event that included everything from volunteers, supplies, activities and more.”

To increase parental engagement at the museum, Wenrich introduced an interactive play program.

“I designed ‘play prompts’ for the different exhibits within the museum. These prompts are based around three concepts — engage, build on it and at home — and are linked to exhibit activities parents can do alongside their kids,” she explained. “My hope is that, through these play prompts, child-parent interaction will increase.”

In addition to learning the daily operations of a children’s museum, Wenrich gained experience and skills that can be applied to other museum jobs. The Selinsgrove native, who is pursuing a minor in museum studies, plans to either enter the workforce immediately after graduation or pursue a master’s degree in art history or museum curation.