Alumni

Michelle Runkle

  • Human Services & Restorative Justice

When you talk to Michelle, it’s clear that she loves her job. Her heart is big and caring for others is second nature. After graduating with a degree in Human Services from Penn College in 2013, she began working with the Jobs Corp. And she hasn't looked back since. Today, she is the social development director at Keystone Job Corps Center where she oversees five different departments.

Michelle Runkle
Leading the Way
Sharing the success

Sharing the success

Michelle's grateful for the education she received. To share this experience with others, she joined the Tomorrow Makers Program at Penn College, an alumni-led initiative designed to identify and recruit the next generation of future-minded students. 

Check out the program

Q&A with Michelle

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE HUMAN SERVICES?

I started in the daycare setting and I built myself into a therapeutic foster parent. Then, I decided I wanted to get a degree and actually help people. I started in occupational therapy, but along the way, a good friend of mine who was in the same course, helped me realize I wanted to work with the mind more than the body. I really wanted to help the whole person.

WHAT DOES YOUR CAREER WITH KEYSTONE JOB CORPS ENTAIL?

I provide oversight to residential living, safety and security, recreation, the student government association and the center shift managers. My day to day is really just empowering students to go to the next level. It's truly rewarding. It's taking individuals that didn't believe that they could and taking them to the level of believing that not only that they can, but they must.

HOW DID YOUR EDUCATION PREPARE YOU FOR YOUR CURRENT POSITION?

I couldn't have asked for a better education. I tell everyone what I learned at Penn College really opened my eyes. It opened my eyes to diversity. It opened my eyes to treating the person, before whatever it was that was holding them back as an individual. My education taught me to be a very diverse and well-rounded individual.

HOW DO YOU STAY PASSIONATE ABOUT YOUR FIELD?

I humble myself. I go to the rec area and hang out with the students. I go to the dormitory and hang out with the students. I make sure that I'm providing the types of programming that the students need. As you move up the ladder, you can forget who you're servicing. Individuals change. They grow and they develop. The population that I was servicing a year ago is not the same population that I'm serving today. So, I just stay humble and always remember to keep the person first.

Real-World Ready

“I enjoy helping the next generation become self-sufficient and successful. At the heart of it all, my job is to never give up on a student. It’s as simple as that.”

Michelle Runkle

Human Services, '13

Programs

Human Services & Restorative Justice

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