An entry-level job has more requirements than ever. Employers seek workers who have it all: varied extracurriculars, leadership positions, impressive academics and, most of all, work experience. Students turn to internships to gain an edge, but many are unpaid, and the resulting financial hardship may be insurmountable.

The Experiential Learning Center (ELC) recognizes this and, through the new ELC Unpaid Internship Support Scholarship, helped several CU Denver students ease the burden of unpaid internships this summer.

One student said, “Without the scholarship, I would have never accepted the internship.” Here are the stories of four recipients of the new support fund:

Diana Lee
Sophomore, music business

Diana Lee smiles with her mentor, Karen Radman.
Diana Lee with her mentor, Karen Radman.

Lee worked with Take Note Colorado, a statewide initiative to provide access to musical instruments and instruction to K-12 students in Colorado. Working with the organization really “struck a note” with Lee. “My internship has taught me so much about this industry and has intensified my passion,” she said. “I’m proud to be a CU Denver student and represent the university at this amazing initiative.”

Raven Chavez
Junior, criminal justice

For her criminal justice program, Chavez completed an internship with Colorado Legal Services, a non-profit organization that helps low-income individuals in Colorado. Chavez completed three professional-development activities, each bolstering her resume and providing unique hands-on experiences.

“This scholarship has allowed me to continue making valuable relationships. It has given me the exposure and experience I need when it comes to practicing law in the near future,” she said.

Emily Wolff
Senior, business management

Wolff worked with Conscious Alliance, a “nonprofit organization committed to supporting communities in crisis through hunger relief and youth empowerment.” While completing requirements for her business management program, Wolff was reassured in her career path.

“I’ve made such unique connections through this opportunity,” she said. “The ELC has given me the opportunity to focus all my energy and attention on tasks within the internship. It has been such an amazing learning experience.”

Leah Porter
Leah Porter worked with Tanya Brown this past summer.

Leah Porter
Junior, business management and human resources

Working with Arapahoe Community College, Porter helped develop content for a dean’s website.

“This internship has helped me think of what I want out of my future career,” she said. “The scholarship helped me with many different financial aspects of the internship, including paying for child care and getting some job-appropriate, professional clothing. Without the scholarship, I would have never accepted the internship.”

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