For many college students, an internship is transformative: it focuses their career goals and offers access to in-the-field mentors who can help move them ahead. But with “unpaid” being the reality of many internships, this critical learning experience can be burdensome to students who can’t afford to work without pay.
The internship advising team in CU Denver’s Experiential Learning Center (ELC) recognizes that while some students have the financial means to do an unpaid internship, many do not. So, the ELC has launched the ELC Unpaid Internship Support Scholarship that provides funds to help bridge the gap.
“We want to offer a resource for students who find it hard financially to participate in an unpaid internship,” said Lesley Bishop, assistant director of the ELC, which places around 700 students in internships every year. Bishop noted that about half of all available internships are unpaid.
To kick off the effort, the ELC has a pool of $7,000 available for scholarships this summer. The pool amount is likely to increase as word spreads and more companies and individuals recognize the value of donating to the cause.
Rebecca Minasian, a graduate intern for ELC’s internship advising, said it’s important to help students gain access to an internship that helps them develop professional skills. “It may be critical to landing their first job – being able to participate in a career-development opportunity and gaining access to a professional network,” she said.
The deadline to apply is the end of April. Contact the ELC for more information, or email Lesley Bishop at [email protected]
Students interested in applying for an ELC Unpaid Internship Support Scholarship, should log-in to ScholarLynx here. All scholarships for this summer will be awarded by mid-May. The goal is for the scholarships to provide a level of financial support that’s comparable to a student earning at least minimum wage; the internships can be either full or part time. Awardees won’t be required to receive academic credit for their internship experience.
Criteria to qualify for the ELC Unpaid Internship Support Scholarship: Must be an undergraduate student; other factors include: financial need, previous experiences (e.g. work, volunteerism, curricular, extra-curricular), clearly defined goals, including how the internship will contribute toward these goals, contribution to internship site (i.e. organization providing the internship), the community (e.g. Denver, Colorado) and CU Denver, and quality application (i.e. well written, spelling, grammar).