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The Graham Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership Studies at Penn State York is more than an internship program, providing the framework for an ongoing opportunity for Penn State York to partner with business and industry and provide a solution to a major workforce issue in the region – the need for college graduates who are mature and independent, can think critically, and can lead.

The Center coordinates efforts among three partnering entities, Penn State York faculty, local and global corporate partners, and Penn State York students nominated by their faculty. The end result is the creation of a tool box of skills for each student designed to support the host company’s culture and the unique demands of their particular workplace.

The Guiding Vision

Believing that companies in the York region face a need for college graduates with well-honed critical thinking and leadership skills, Donald Graham provided the program’s guiding vision. Watch the video above to learn what he has to say about entrepreneurialism.

“I believe that entrepreneurial thinking, as I define it, is much broader than just what is usually thought of when we talk about entrepreneurialism, which is the starting up of a company. Not everyone can be an entrepreneur, but it is important to be exposed to entrepreneurial thinking. Entrepreneurism is the fundamental backbone of the free market system.”
–Donald Graham

Key Components of the Graham Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership Studies

Interdisciplinary education is an important element of the program that allows students to expand their knowledge base beyond the general scope of their major. The Center’s trio process structure is unique. It provides for collaboration among students, faculty members, and corporate partners in planning, carrying out, and then evaluating the results of internship opportunities with companies in the York region.

The Graham Center coordinates those joint efforts to develop a tool box of skills for each student designed to support the host company’s culture and the distinctive demands of their particular workplace.

Student interns will:

  • Receive performance appraisals and continuous feedback from the company, through their corporate mentor, that is shared and discussed with their Penn State York faculty member.
  • Experience working in company culture and take on real projects to benefit them as well as the partner organizations.


Photo of Kayla Gladfelter, former Graham Fellow


Explore a unique opportunity at Penn State York – become a Graham Fellow. Participate in out-of-classroom experiences which combine the real-life use of skills and knowledge with lessons learned from professors.

Learn more »

Photo of Patrick Gwinn, Graham Center corporate mentor with Harley-Davidson

Corporate Partners

Learn how to become a partner in an exciting program that will introduce you to students and faculty who will make a difference at your company or organization.

Learn more »

“At Shipley Energy we had Adam Mattel from the Graham Entrepreneurial Leadership Program. He interned in our Information Technology Division as a software developer. Adam did an outstanding job. He is the best intern I've had since I've been here. I usually hire all of my interns so I've hired everyone in the past five years and Adam’s been the best so far.”
–Steven Downey, Chief Technology Officer, Shipley Energy
“The experience that we’ve have with the interns has really been terrific. This year, our marketing intern did so well that we offered her a part-time job for this fall, which she took. In addition to that, last year we had an intern in our engineering department who continued to work part-time through the year, and then we actually hired him when he graduated, so it worked out very well for both of us. The experience we had with the Graham Entrepreneurial Leadership Program was excellent.”
–James F. Eisenbeis, Director of Marketing, Graham Architectural Products



Thumbnail image of Shambhavi Gupta video Thumbnail image of Eric Swartz video Thumbnail image of Jacob Newcomer video Thumbnail image of Joe Weaver video Thumbnail image of Kayla Gladfelter video Thumbnail image of Eduardo Rayner video Thumbnail image of Adam Mattel video

Corporate Mentors

Thumbnail image of Patrick Colon video Thumbnail image of Patrick Gwinn video Thumbnail image of James F. Eisenbeis video Thumbnail image of David Bross video Thumbnail image of Steven Downey video Thumbnail image of Mark Secord video

Faculty Liaison

Thumbnail image of Harley H. Hartman video