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How York College prepared State Rep. Seth Grove for career as public servant

Seth Grove 2017
Pa. State Rep. Seth Grove (’02) credits his York College professors for helping him get to where he is today.

Staying in York for college wasn’t Pa. State Rep. Seth Grove’s first choice.

Back in high school, he’d wanted to go to school in Florida, but it didn’t work out. So, he applied to York College of Pennsylvania – a school that wasn’t even on his list – figuring he’d go there a couple of years before transferring to that school in Florida.

But after his freshman year, Seth had a change of heart.

He found he liked the small campus and the academic challenge. He decided to stay, studying Public Administration.

“I had a lot of friends who went to big schools,” he says. “At York College, I liked that you could actually have a relationship with your professors. We didn’t have oversized classes where you were lost in the weeds.”

Opening the door to public service

One of those classes – a course on state and local government taught by former Pa. State Sen. Ralph Hess – helped open the door to his career in public service.

As part of the class, he ended up working at a fundraiser where he landed an internship – working for State Rep. Stan Saylor for 30 hours a week while going to school. He did it for another year after graduating in 2002, then went on to work with U.S. Congressman Todd Platts, who represented Pennsylvania’s 19th District, and then Pa. State Rep. Keith Gillespie.

“Without the combination of work experience and active and engaged professors, I wouldn’t be where I’m at today,” Seth says. “It was a great decision to go to York College.”

Changing his viewpoints

In the School for History and Political Science, Seth found the professors to be nonpartisan and engaged. They challenged all viewpoints, no matter where on the political spectrum they fell. But, rather than tearing students down, professors encouraged them to back up their point of view.

This allowed for a more rounded education, Seth says. Rather than being indoctrinated, Seth says he was able to have engaging discussions and hear different perspectives, which has helped him in his job today.

For students interested in pursuing a major in Political Science (or any degree for that matter), Seth recommends focusing both on academics and pursuing internships, which he says are critical for getting job experience, for networking and for resume building.

“You have to know people to know where the jobs are,” he said. 

Keeping his door open

While Seth might not represent York College, he does represent York, so he makes sure to keep track of what the school does in the community. His oldest child attended basketball camp there this summer, and he always enjoys alumni events – whether it’s a visit with Santa on Christmas or the Easter Bunny on Easter.

In addition, he participates in an annual forum hosted by Harrisburg area alumni, which includes panel discussions on current events and offers tours of the capitol to alumni and students. He also supports an internship program at the capitol for York College students.

Because York College has been so instrumental to the success he’s found, he wants to make sure to keep his door open to the school in helping it achieve long-term goals.

“It’s a little economic engine for our county,” he says.