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Students head across globe thanks to Summer Experience Grant funding

Sometimes it’s hard for Cornell students to accomplish all that they want to do during the summer.

They want an experience that will help them move forward with their career or grad school plans, but they also need to have a paying job so that they can help with expenses or fulfill their financial aid requirements.

Elda Abayneh ’26 had a summer internship at the public defender’s office in Aurora, Colo.

That’s where Summer Experience Grants come in. A fund established in 2019 by the College of Arts & Sciences expanded upon grants already offered by Cornell’s Student Assembly to provide funding to help students cover the costs of housing, transportation, food and other expenses.

The grants, which helped 139 students this year, allow students to take minimally-paid or unpaid summer positions and are made possible through generous alumni donations. This year’s grants totaled $437,346.

For Elda Abayneh ’26, the grant helped her to afford an unpaid summer internship at the public defender’s office in Aurora, Colo. There, she works with a deputy attorney reviewing body camera tapes from police, reading police reports, meeting with clients in prison and observing trials at the courthouse.

“As a first-generation American and first-generation college student, there’s no one in my family who’s a lawyer or who has had this kind of experience,” said Abaynah, whose parents came to the U.S. from Ethiopia. “I wanted to explore what it would be like to be a lawyer and learn how the criminal justice system worked.”

Read more about students and their summer positions on the College of Arts & Sciences website.

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