Macricostas School of Arts & Sciences

Social Sciences

Angela Rossi Zurowski Anderson

Connecticut Institute for Immigrants and Refugees (ARZA-CIRI) Internship Program
Department of Social Sciences
Western Connecticut State University (WCSU)

Program Description and Objectives
This initiative is designed to remember and commemorate Ms. Angela Rossi Zurowski Andersen, and her devotion to the cause of helping new immigrants, by providing a Social Sciences student with a paid internship at the Connecticut Institute for Immigrants and Refugees (CIRI) in Bridgeport, where she worked as the Executive Director. (Formerly, and while Ms. Andersen was the Executive Director, CIRI was known as the International Institute of Connecticut (IICONN) but the name was changed in 2017 to more accurately reflect the mission of the organization.)

Angela was born in Waterbury on December 12, 1978, daughter of Regina “Gina” (Rossi) Priest of Cheshire and Anthony J. Zurowski Jr. of Cheshire. She graduated from Cheshire High School Class of 1996. She completed her undergraduate work at Western Connecticut State University and her Masters of Science at Southern Connecticut State University, earning both degrees in the field of political science. She was the Executive Director at Connecticut Institute for Immigrants and Refugees for several years and sat on the board of the Bridgeport Neighborhood Trust, devoting her life to the non-profit sector. Angela made it her mission to enjoy every moment of her life while keeping her unique sense of humor intact right until the end.

The Connecticut Institute for Immigrants and Refugees, founded in 1918, provides immigration services to over 3,000 individuals in the state each year. CIRI is a non-profit, non-sectarian agency dedicated to helping foreign-born persons achieve self-sufficiency. Their services include refugee resettlement, basic needs, English classes, job training and placement, counseling, translation/interpretation services and legal assistance. CIRI advocates for fair and equitable treatment of immigrants, refugees and others, and works to increase public awareness of the contributions of foreign-born persons to American culture and values.

In Angela’s memory, several private donors have contributed the means to create a paid internship position with CIRI each year, hereafter referred to as the ARZA-CIRI Internship Program. The program offers student interns the opportunity to learn about and contribute to the mission of CIRI, and offers CIRI the chance to work with and learn from a Social Sciences student intern each year.

The ARZA-CIRI Internship Program meets the mission and objectives of the University by providing:

  • Strong skills in communication, problem solving and critical thinking
  • Opportunities for experiential, cooperative and field experiences
  • A strong sense of commitment to public service

The ARZA-CIRI Internship Program offers interns the opportunity to achieve the following Student Learning Objectives:

  • To learn about a state-wide non-profit human services agency that addresses the need to provide new immigrants and refugees in Connecticut with services to help them become self-sufficient, integrated and contributing members of society
  • To understand one’s own philosophy and role in providing public service
  • To develop skills and strategies to manage common human services challenges such as motivating people, working with people’s strengths and weaknesses, managing interpersonal communication, demonstrating empathy, boosting morale, and managing difficult situations, conflict and change effectively
  • To understand and manage one’s own strengths and weaknesses
  • To learn about fiscal responsibility, transparency, accountability and being able to manage budgets and resources effectively
  • To act as an ethical service provider, to have integrity, and to live in alignment with one’s values
  • To be able to balance one’s personal and professional responsibilities

ARZA-CIRI Internship Program Logistics and Timeline

  • Internship Timing and Location:
    • Interns will be selected during each spring semester and placed the subsequent fall semester, with flexibility in this timing as needed.
    • Interns will be placed at the Connecticut Institute for Immigrants and Refugees, 670 Clinton Avenue, Bridgeport, CT, 06605.
  • Application Process:
    1. Eligibility: WCSU full-time undergraduates, majoring in Social Sciences, with a minimum of 45 or maximum of 105 credits, are eligible to apply for the ARZA-CIRI Internship Program. Any member of the Department of Social Sciences (Full or part-time faculty, students or staff) or the Dean of the Macricostas School of Arts and Sciences may encourage students to apply for the program.
    2. Application forms are available from the Department of Social Sciences Office, 224 Warner Hall or by emailing the Program Advisor, currently Dr. R. Averell Manes, at The completed application includes several brief essays, a current résumé, unofficial transcripts, two letters of recommendation and a Statement of Academic Integrity (See Application Form for detailed requirements).  Application materials will be submitted in hard copy to the secretary of the Department of Social Sciences, 224 Warner Hall during normal business hours or after hours to the drop box outside the office. The application deadline will is always March 17th of each academic year, with an internship placement during each Fall semester. For the first year of the program the due date was in October 2016.
    3. An ARZA-CIRI Internship Selection Committee shall be comprised of at least one member of the Department of Social Sciences (who shall also serve as the Program Advisor), one member of the WCSU Office of Institutional Advancement and Ms. Regina “Gina” (Rossi) Priest (Angela’s mother). Applicants will be informed of the outcome of their application within four weeks of the application deadline. Students will be provided with orientation materials after their acceptance into the program.
  • Program Awards:
    1. Students accepted into the program will receive a $1,500.00 Award.  $500.00 of the award will be disbursed to the student’s WCSU account at the beginning of the internship placement and $1,000.00 will be disbursed upon the successful completion of the internship program. (The accepted student will be required to provide a completed 1099 Tax Form in order to receive their award.)  The award may be used for any educational and travel expenses, and will be provided to the student in the form of a disbursal check if the student’s WCSU account is paid-in-full at the times of disbursal.
    2. Students accepted into the program will receive three academic credits during the fall semester for their internship, supervised by the President of the CIRI and the ARZA-CIRI Internship Program Advisor or by a full-time faculty member/advisor in their area of study.
  • Program Requirements:
    1. Internship placements will require eight hours per week for fifteen weeks, beginning during the second week of the semester and ending during the last week of the semester, for a total of approximately 120 hours, on site, at CIRI. Preferably the student will intern at CIRI on Fridays but other days may be negotiated depending on the needs of the placement site and the student’s schedule commitments. (The student’s faculty advisor will complete and submit a Student Independent Study form, with a standardized proposal tailored to the interests of each intern, to the department chair and school dean in order for the student to receive academic credit. Students may receive ANT, ECO, PS, SOC or SS 297 credit.)
    2. Interns will be required to read several relevant texts, assigned by their faculty advisor, which will be discussed, along with their progress through the semester at their CIRI placement, during three mandatory Reflection Sessions, with their faculty advisor, scheduled during the course of the semester.
    3. Interns will be required to write a Final Reflection Paper (See Final Reflection Paper guidelines, provided with the orientation materials) at the end of their placement. This essay will be submitted to their faculty advisor by Monday at noon of final exam week.
    4. Interns will complete a Student Evaluation of ARZA-CIRI Internship form, provided in their orientation packet. The Student Evaluation form should be submitted with the Final Reflection Paper.
  • Program Benefits:
    • Financial awards
    • Experiential/Service-Learning/Internship opportunity with three academic credits
    • Résumé enhancement for future employment or graduate education
    • Improved public service, communication and other “real world” skills
    • Potential letters of recommendation from CIRI personnel and faculty advisor
    • Networking opportunities and connections
    • Contributing to the community
    • Enhanced confidence and competence
  • Program Sponsors:
    • Connecticut Institute for Immigrants and Refugees
    • Macricostas School of Arts and Sciences at WCSU
    • Department of Social Sciences at WCSU
    • Office of Institutional Advancement at WCSU
  • Initial Program Advisors and Contacts:
    • Claudia Connor, JD
      President and CEO,
      Connecticut Institute for Immigrants and Refugees
      (203) 336-0141, ext. 150
    • R. Averell Manes, PhD
      Associate Chair/Professor of Political Science,
      Department of Social Sciences, WCSU
      (315) 869-0869