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Philosophy Major Receives Finnegan Foundation Fellowship

Published on April 16, 2014

Adrian “AJ” Dean II, a junior philosophy major at Susquehanna UniversitAdrian ''AJ'' Dean II wins Finnegan Foundation Fellowship.y, has been awarded one of this year’s James A. Finnegan Foundation fellowships. His fellowship includes a compensated summer internship in Pennsylvania state government and an additional $1,000 stipend. Dean, of Harrisburg, Pa., and three other recipients were honored at an awards luncheon March 21 at the governor’s mansion in Harrisburg.

The foundation was created in 1960 in memory of James A. Finnegan who served as Secretary of the Commonwealth under Governor George M. Leader. The foundation seeks to help promising students gain the experience needed to be successful in government positions. Each year it provides students with paid internships in cabinet departments or the legislature.

The fellowship competition is open to college students studying in Pennsylvania, as well as Pennsylvania residents studying at out-of-state institutions. The foundation selects recipients based on applicants’ academic standing, leadership potential, and quality of the essays they write on a timely political issue. This year’s essay topic was same-sex marriage.

“The possibility of gaining hands-on experience in state government while meeting many important figures attracted me to the program,” says Dean, who has “always had a strong interest in government and the policy-making process.”

Although his internship has yet to begin, Dean’s experiences with the foundation have already been positive. In addition to meeting representatives of the Finnegan Foundation, Dean was introduced to several cabinet members in Gov. Tom Corbett’s administration who attended the awards luncheon.

“Being able to meet and talk to so many successful people in one room was a great experience,” says Dean. “That afternoon further motivated me to be successful.”

This summer he will continue to have opportunities for formative conversation and relationships with government leaders while interning in the Pennsylvania Department of Aging’s Bureau of Quality Assurance. In addition to the hands-on learning he’ll get at his internship site, Dean will receive mentoring at a weekly lunch with high-ranking public officials, including cabinet members.

After graduating from Susquehanna, Dean plans to attend law school and pursue a career as an attorney.

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