03.15.13 VILLANOVA, Pa. – Four Villanova Vatican Interns witnessed history on Wednesday, March 13, as white smoke flowed from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel and Pope Francis emerged as the newest Pontiff. These students are in Rome as part of Villanova’s exclusive Vatican Internship Program, helping contribute to the Vatican’s communication with the rest of the world – through social media, web and multi-media technology.
The four students interning in the Vatican this semester include two communication majors (Sean Hudgins and Danielle McMonagle) interning in the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, one communication major (Lauren Colegrove) in the Rome bureau of Catholic News Service, and one computer science major (Christopher Backofen) in the Vatican’s Internet Office of the Holy See.
The work of the Vatican interns includes creating and editing content for the Vatican’s social media platforms. Last semester, two Villanova communication students interning in the Pontifical Council for Social Communications helped in the launch of the Pope’s Twitter account. Computer Science majors in the Vatican are working on a variety of technical projects, including content and infrastructure for Vatican websites, news aggregation services, mobile application development, virtual reality, network security, and Java development.
Villanova’s Vatican interns in Communication and Computing Sciences have also contributed over time to the collaborative effort between Villanova University and the Vatican to bring the papal basilicas in Rome to a worldwide audience – through the creation of virtual reality tours of the Vatican’s most sacred sites: Sistine Chapel; Papal Basilica of St. Peter; Pauline Chapel; Basilica of St. Paul; Basilica of St. John Lateran; St. Mary Major