By Melanie Cain
Megan Boyle had just graduated from UIUC with a degree in Political Science and an emphasis in Pre Law. She was in the middle of filling out applications for law school when she heard about the Graduate Public Service Internship program at UIS.
“I have family who work at UIS, and they told me about the program,” says Megan, who is from Chatham. “I also heard about it from one of my family’s friends who used to employ GPSI interns.” Megan decided to apply because she knew she wanted to continue her education after earning her undergraduate degree.
“I was in the middle of applications for law school, and I decided that I might want to try this as well. I figured I would take some time before I went to law school to make sure it was what I wanted to do,” she explains. So Megan enrolled in UIS’ master’s degree program in Public Administration and was accepted into the GPSI program. She was chosen for an internship with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency’s Legal Division.
In her current position, Megan is assigned a variety of duties that will help prepare her for law school or a career down the road. She does case briefings, schedules meetings, conducts legal research, investigates accidents, and looks into new incidents. She is also involved in a new “Right to Know” act that will require companies to inform people if they are responsible for a toxic spill that will have an effect on their land.
Asked about her overall experience with the internship and program in general, Megan had nothing but good things to say. “Until I started the GPSI program, I didn’t realize how highly regarded it was. When people ask what I am currently doing, and I tell them I'm in GPSI, they always say what a great program it is,” she says. “I know people who have gotten jobs from this internship, and those who did not get a job directly have gone on to succeed in other areas because of the experience they have gained.”
Megan feels that she made the right decision in choosing GPSI before going on to law school. “This internship is helping me to decide what I want to do with my life. I couldn’t be in a better place right now,” she explains. “If I decide to not attend law school, then I will have my master’s and can go on in my career. And if I stay here, a lot of law schools look favorably on students who do have a master’s because they’ve shown they can succeed at upper-level studies.”
“What’s great about this internship is that it’s real life experience,” says Megan, adding that it’s giving her an opportunity to realize what a lawyer at the state level might do. “This internship is helping me to decide, based on experience, if law school is what I really want to do.”
Megan is currently debating on whether she will continue on to law school or not. She has been accepted, but is unsure if that is what she wants to do. She is also contemplating going on to get her doctorate degree and possibly becoming a professor.