Students take advantage of new program for domestic summer internships

Students posing on a grassy dorm quad on the Yale University campus.
(Photo credit: Michael Marsland)

This summer nearly 200 Yale undergraduates will participate in unpaid internships across the United States with the support of the Domestic Summer Award (DSA).

The new fellowship program, announced last November, provides stipends of $4,000 to Yale undergraduates receiving financial aid who have secured an approved unpaid summer internship with a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, a government entity, a non-governmental organization, or an arts apprenticeship.

Jeanine Dames, director of the Yale Office of Career Strategy, reported that the Common Good and Creative Careers Team, in collaboration with the Yale Fellowships Office, had approved 191 applications from rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors, for a total investment from Yale of more than $750,000. DSA recipients will participate in a wide range of summer opportunities: Dames reported that 59% of approved opportunities are with nonprofit organizations, 15% with educational organizations, 14% with government entities, and 12% are apprenticeships with practicing artists. All DSA recipients will work full-time for a minimum of 8 weeks during the current summer recess.

DSA recipients will be working at 179 different organizations in 33 states or tribal nations across the country. For some students, their internships will provide opportunities to explore new fields, while others will be expanding their experience in an area they hope to pursue after graduation.

Finley Doyle ’20 will apprentice with a professional wood carver and traditional Japanese printmaker in New Hampshire and will use the experience to guide her upper-level work as an architecture major. Molecular, cellular, and developmental biology major Carlin Hagmaier ’19 will work alongside veterinarians at the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife in southwest Florida to prepare for applying to veterinary school after graduation. Abraham Shim ’20 will be working with the structural genomics team at the Center for Infectious Disease Research in Seattle and plans to apply the cutting-edge techniques he learns there to his own research in molecular biophysics and biochemistry at Yale.

 “These summer experiences are a tremendous benefit for both Yale students and the myriad of organizations that hire them. And when our students choose to devote their talent and energies to service and the arts, society benefits as well,” said Dames. “These experiences serve as valuable learning opportunities, by adding a new dimension to the topics students study during the academic year and helping prepare them for their careers after graduation.”

Caroline Heilbrun ’19, who will intern at the Environmental Defense Fund said, “I would not have been able to accept my summer internship position without the Domestic Summer Award. The award is guaranteed, so the application process is less stressful than a competitive grant system. I’m so grateful Yale has established this.”

In announcing the DSA, Dean of Yale College Marvin Chun pointed to Yale’s history of educating students who become leaders in public service, advocacy, education, and the arts.

Yale College seeks to prepare students to make positive and lasting impacts in every community in which they will engage throughout their lives. By creating this award, Yale enables more students to gain direct experience with organizations and individuals whose work is focused on the common good.”

The DSA complements the Yale International Summer Award (ISA), which provides up to $12,500 for students receiving financial aid from Yale to pursue an international experience during the summer. This summer more than 415 Yale undergraduates will use an ISA award to pursue an international experience, representing an investment of more than $3,000,000. Students receiving financial aid are eligible for both the ISA and the DSA and may use both during their time at Yale.

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