Participating in an internship is one of the best ways for college students to prepare for a future career or explore a field of work. Internships help students get a taste of what a job in their field of interest could be like and provide them with valuable networking opportunities and skills that are instrumental in securing employment after graduation.
But for many students who face financial challenges, internships are often unfeasible. Unpaid or low-paying internships, along with the likelihood of having to forgo other work, bar many college students from taking part in an internship. The Fleishman Center’s internship funds can help support students in these circumstances. These funding opportunities, which range in award amount and eligibility requirements, sponsor students for both paid and unpaid high impact internship experiences. They can help cover travel, rent, food, clothing, and a variety of other expenses that students often have to take on during a summer internship.
During the summer of 2022, the Fleishman Center awarded a total of $204,700 to 56 students through six different funds to support summer internships. This is the highest total sum to date and is more than double the amount of funding provided for students during the summer of 2021. The Fleishman Center remains committed to providing funding opportunities for summer internships, which have had an incredible impact on students’ career and professional development.
Participating in an internship was out of reach for Julia Rosen, a senior majoring in Human Development, until she received funding. With her award from the Student Affairs Internship Fund, Julia was able to work at the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation—a non-profit dedicated to supporting people with Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis—enhancing the organization’s media outreach and presence.
“Supporting those who have, or have loved ones who have, these debilitating diseases is critical to the development of community and togetherness,” Julia said in a letter of thanks to the fund’s donors. “The compensation and support of these funds helped me gain invaluable knowledge that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.”
Kristen Hall, a masters student of biology and ecology who also received an award from the Student Affairs Internship Fund, used the funding to intern at the Westmoreland Wildlife Sanctuary in Mt. Kisco, Westchester, NY. Kristen aided in the organization’s mission to protect and manage local wildlife, and to educate the next generation of students and families.
“I spent most days caring for animals, managing invasive species within the Sanctuary and surveying the new lands acquired by the organization,” Kristen recalled. “I was also taught how non-profit organizations work and how to write grants for nonprofit organizations.”
The funding helped cover travel and other expenses that allowed Kristen to complete this internship.
Aspiring attorney and political science major Brooke Starkey was able to use her funding to work in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, doing hands-on work with high-profile legal cases. Brooke’s experience will help her application stand out as she begins applying to law schools.
“As an intern, I assisted with cases on topics ranging from housing discrimination to health care fraud, and performed a range of tasks from helping organize subpoenas to cite-checking legal briefs,” Brooke recounted. “As an aspiring attorney, my internship helped to further confirm my passion for law. None of this would have been possible without the gracious support of the internship funds.”
Students interned at a variety of other sites both domestically and abroad, including Ronald McDonald House Charities, Child Mind Institute’s Summer Program, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
During 2022 Homecoming Weekend, recipients of the new Fleishman Career Success Initiative fund had an opportunity to meet with the donors Steve and Judy Garczynski Fleishman to thank them and share the impact of the fund on their career development. This fund, which was introduced for the first time this summer and awarded up to $5,000 to students with the highest level of financial need, allowed students with significant financial barriers to explore work in a variety of fields over the summer.
The Fleishman Career Success Initiative is different from older funds in that it benefits students with the highest levels of need and offers a generous amount of funding for both paid and unpaid internship opportunities. Previously, many funds supported only students completing unpaid internships. However, the Fleishman Center has noticed that many students who face high levels of financial need often must turn down paid opportunities that do not pay enough to cover the cost of living. New internship funds can supplement paid opportunities and allow students to participate in these pivotal high impact learning experiences. This is an important amendment to previous fund requirements as paid internships become standard in many industries and the cost of living continues to rise.
Beyond internships, there is a new fund launching this year, the Professional Development Fund, to support students with any activity that helps them in their career path. Often the expenses associated with attending conferences, taking standardized tests, applying for graduate school, or even buying professional clothes for interviews are a burden to students. This fund can be used to cover any expenses that a student may incur while completing a professional development activity. Applications are now open on the Fleishman Center website.
With the establishment of the Professional Development Fund and the increase in overall internship funding, the Fleishman Center is aiming to increase access to high-impact opportunities for students to develop their career path. Not just internships, but all professional development should be accessible for students at all income levels.
Before you pass up an opportunity for personal and professional development because of financial constraints, stop by the Fleishman Center and learn about our resources. See the available funding on our website, and make an appointment to plan your career path in a way that is tailored to you.
If you are interested in supporting our students by making a contribution to an internship fund or the Professional Development Fund, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org Erin Zipman