Grants help students afford unpaid summer internships

By: Kathy Hovis,  A&S Communications
September 22, 2016

With the help of alumni donations and a partnership between the College of Arts and Sciences’ Career Development Center and the Student Assembly, 19 students from A&S were able to take advantage of unpaid summer internships to boost their resumes and help them determine what they want to do in their future careers.

The college distributed $15,000 in funds from two alumni gifts, as well as $23,023 in Summer Experience Grants from the college and Student Assembly, which helped students pay for living expenses, transportation and travel, costs that often make unpaid internships unaffordable for many students.

“I'm very grateful I had the chance to see what it would be like working in front-end development,” said Yoo Kim ’17, an economics and information science major who spent the summer working for Startup Tree, an Ithaca company that offers an online entrepreneurship hub and communication tool for students, alumni, and faculty. “I was uncertain about how the summer would go since I had recently switched majors and wasn't sure if I would even enjoy working in the field, but the internship did help me decide I wanted to pursue a career in front-end development.”

Kim worked as a front-end engineer, helping to redesign existing web pages, find and fix bugs in the product and build new features for the site through a series of iterations.

“It was definitely a good choice for me since I felt I had a lot to learn going into the summer,” Kim said. “I was able to work closely with team members who specialized in different aspects of the product and it was very eye-opening for me.”

Chelsea Sincox ’18 spent her summer in a very different environment, working as an intern for Rep. Pete Olson (R-Texas) in the U.S. House of Representatives.

“The opportunity I had this summer really shaped my desire to pursue a legal/political career, and hopefully one day return to Capitol Hill,” said Sincox, a government major. “My day-to-day tasks included office tasks, assisting constituents in various ways and researching and summarizing legislation or briefings. The highlight was definitely witnessing the interaction between the different actors and institutions, and the action or reaction of our elected officials to current events.”

Jael Goldfine ’17, used her grant funding as she interned on the press and media teams for the National Women's Law Center (NWLC) in Washington, D.C. Her work included responding to every-day events and news cycles related to the center’s issues, including abortion and reproductive rights, women's workplace safety, education and wage equality and family leave.

“I'm really proud of the millennial media guide that I produced, because it surveyed the millennial media landscape and created a course of action for the NWLC to improve its engagement with millennial women — something that I believe is very important in getting younger women engaged with feminist issues in the spheres of law and politics,” said Goldfine, who’s majoring in American studies and feminist, gender and sexuality studies.

“Our students pursued a wide variety of internships, both domestic and international, and these internships would not have been possible without these sources of funding,” said Jennifer MacLaughlin, assistant dean, and director of Arts & Sciences Career Development. “The College of Arts & Sciences values intellectual inquiry and exploration and the internships that students pursue are prime examples of connecting their academic and career interests. The Arts & Sciences Career Development Center hope to continue to offer such opportunities to students for many years to come.”

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