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Summer experience grant removes barriers of access for students

In the midst of a new normal, work environments have shifted, and summer opportunities are no different. From research labs to office-based internships, students now navigate through modified job listings as in-person experiences are limited.

Remote openings, while offering more flexibility, are often lower paid and many students are also taking unpaid internships or minimally paid work opportunities during this time. Such economic factors make it difficult for students to accept these positions, especially considering the costs of travel and housing.

Harper Tooch

Arts & Sciences Career Development is here to help. Its Summer Experience Grant exists to ensure that students can walk through the doors that have opened up for them. Applications are now open until April 19 and students can find the application for the summer experience grant here.

“We aim to be able to fund as many students as possible who want a meaningful summer experience,” said Jennifer Maclaughlin, assistant dean and director of Arts & Sciences Career Development.

Summer Experience Grants are made possible through generous alumni donations and support from the Student Assembly. With $500,000 of grant funding available this year, a maximum of $5,000 will be awarded to qualifying Arts & Sciences students. Additional funds may be granted on a case-by-case basis. Funds will be distributed until all funding is dispersed.

Previous award winners include Tomás Reuning ’21, who interned at the legendary Nuyorican Poets Café in New York City in the summer of 2019.

Tomás Reuning

“As a Latinx member of the LGBTQ community and a poet, it was an honor to contribute to the long-term success of such an important cultural center,” Reuning said. “Moreover, as an English major with minors in Latina/o Studies and Spanish, I was exposed to the art and culture I study at Cornell at its rawest source.”

During his time at the café, Reuning worked on improving the café’s social media presence and creating new promotional materials.

“The most exciting aspect of working at the Nuyorican Poets Café was having the opportunity to meet so many successful and talented artists in New York City,” Reuning said.

For Harper Tooch '21, her summer internship at the Smithsonian’s Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage allowed her  to combine her interests in anthropology, archaeology and art history to study the culture of Armenia.

Tooch spent last summer studying the impacts of the  2018 Smithsonian Folklife Festival program, Armenia: Creating Home, on people’s understanding of Armenia and its culture.

Last summer, Tooch took part in the Tel Abel Beth Maacah excavation in Israel, a Cornell archeology project in which many Cornell professors have been involved over the years.

The summer experiences have confirmed for Tooch that working in anthropology, archaeology or at a university is definitely a career goal.

Amina Kilpatrick '21 spent the summer of 2019 at the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. as an intern in the Social Media department.

Amina Kilpatrick

"Although this internship was paid, housing in D.C. is very expensive and I had to find a place to live," she said. "This summer experience grant afforded me the opportunity to experience living in a big city for the first time and do an internship away from my home."

In 2018, recent alum Tristan Magloire ’20 had the opportunity to work as a social media and digital marketing intern at The William Morris Digital Agency (WMA) and Republic Records in New York City. Magloire helped his supervisors brainstorm ideas on how to brand and promote artists such as Drake, Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj.

“I have a passion for music and helping creatives achieve their full potential and get their message to as many people as possible,” Magloire said.

Having the proper financial support allowed Magloire to focus his energy on his internship.

Tristan Magloire

“The summer experience grant allowed me to afford housing, transportation, and food during my summer in New York City without having to worry about taking out a loan,” Magloire said.

Students whose living expenses exceed their work compensation could qualify for a summer experience grant. In order to be considered for financial assistance, applicants are encouraged to apply by April 19.

Interested students can find the application for the summer experience grant here.

Amaris Janel Henderson is a communications assistant for the College of Arts & Sciences.

Read the story on the College of Arts and Sciences website.

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