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Middlebury student Matt Birnbaum ‘12 is interning at American Retroworks, a national electronics recycling firm.

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Special funds make unpaid internships affordable

July 9, 2010

MIDDLEBURY, Vt.-It's always been a dilemma for undergraduates:  how can they afford to take a summer internship if they're not going to get paid or get college credit for their efforts?

Middlebury has found a way to help students keep their internships and make them financially feasible through an ever-growing and highly competitive program of endowed internships and alumni gift awards.

For the summer of 2010, 138 students applied to the Career Services Office to receive Middlebury funding for unpaid internships with organizations and companies around the world, and 58 undergraduates - or less than half of those who applied - were selected to receive funding.

By the time summer ends, the 58 student-interns will receive over $106,000 (up from 33 awards, $76,500 last year) in combined support from the College and its donors, thus enabling the undergrads to acquire valuable, real-life experiences and gain the skills needed for success in today's global community, said Susan Walker, associate director of career services.

"Our students' commitment to these internships demonstrates again how Middlebury is a model for the liberal arts in the 21st century," Walker added.

A committee of Middlebury faculty and staff selects the student recipients, and the Career Services Office administers the endowed internship and alumni gift awards program in cooperation with other College offices. For more information about internships at Middlebury, contact Susan Walker at


Following is a list of this year's award funds and student recipients:


The Ronald H. Brown '62 internship program awards stipends of up to $3,000 each and is open to juniors for work in any industry anywhere on the planet. The 2010 recipients are Vincent Blais '11, interning with Emerging Asia in Shanghai; Molly Brister '10.5 with Boston Consortium on Gender, Security, and Human Rights; Sopheak Chheng '11 with Daniela Ruby Papi in Cambodia; Austin Davis '11 with Center for American Progress in Washington, D.C.; Alison Fonseca '11 with San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and Dan Glanz '11 with U.S. Arab Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C.

Also, Domas Girtavicius '11 with Emerging Asia in Shanghai; Alyssa Ha '11 with Christie's in New York City; William Higgins '11 with Insiders' Corp. in Paris; Nora Hirozawa '11 with Bronx Defenders in New York City; Alexander Hirsch '10.5 with British American Drama Academy at Oxford, U.K.; Di Jiao '11 with Sopher Investments in Burlington, Vt.; and Benjamin Manger '11 with Transformative Justice Law Project in Chicago.

Additionally, Sophie Morse '11 with the Public Health Department in Pichincha, Ecuador; Amelia Noble '11 with Global Emergency Care Collaborative in Uganda; Nancy Riwa '11 with Networkers North-South in Oslo, Norway; Awa Sanou '11 with IOS Partners, Inc. in Miami; Ruchi Singh '11 with America's Growth Capital in Boston; Rebecca Wear '10.5 with two public health agencies in Los Angeles; and Hannah Waite '11 with N.Y. State Senator Daniel Squardon in Brooklyn.

The CLIMB internship fund (Colorado Leaders, Interns, and Mentors in Business) is open to current Middlebury students seeking internships in the Centennial State. A total of $1,600 is awarded to Kent Diep '11 with Analysis Group of Denver; Peter DiPrinzio '13 with Cherry Creek Arts Festival; Connor Burleigh '11 with Colorado Non-Profit Development Center; and Kristin Maletsky '11 with University of Colorado Medical Center.

The Deixler-Swain internship fund consists of one award of $1,900. This summer's recipient is Moria Robinson '11.5 interning with David Wagner, a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Connecticut.

The Dirks '30 Fund for Economic Literacy promotes student interaction with economists working in areas of policy. The recipients of this year's awards totaling $10,000 are Chaoyi Chai '12 with Asia Economic Institute in Shanghai; Dylan Fitzpatrick '11 with Ecologia in Inner Mongolia; Andrew Ostroff '11 with Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) in Washington, D.C.; Laxman Timilsina '11 with Center for Microfinance in India; and Daniel Pulido '11 with IDB in Washington, D.C.

The Felton Family internship fund focuses upon business, community service, education, health or non-partisan government service, and is open to current Middlebury students. This year's recipient of $1,900 is Lei Lei '12 with JLM Pacific Epoch in China.

The Louis Kutzner '51 internship program is open to sophomores and juniors interested in sales, marketing, or management in the field of communications. The recipients of grants totaling $4,900 are Ashley Cheung '11 with Strategic Group in New York City; Sarah Harris '11 with North Country Public Radio in Canton, N.Y.; and Fengxue Zhu '11 with Focus Advisory Services LLC in Los Angeles.

The Mahoney Family internship fund focuses on humanitarian service in the non-profit sector either in the United States or abroad. This summer's Mahoney Family awards total $5,800 and the recipients are Ewen Bazirake  '12 with Gambia Vermont Collaborative in Gambia; Xian Chiang-Waren '11 with Leander Hollings in Cusco, Peru; and Elizabeth McCarthy '13 with David Angeles in Thailand and Burma.

The Middlebury Arts Council supports sophomores and juniors with stipends for their unpaid internships or workshop experiences in theatre, music, dance, studio art, history of art and architecture, museum work, or film and media studies. This year's awards total $11,590 and the recipients are Alena Giesche '11 with Ponderosa Tanzland in Berlin, Germany; Michael Baker '13 with Bates Dance Festival in Lewiston, Maine; and Catherine Miller '11 with Susan Loman in Keene, N.H.

Also, Naomi Shafer '11 with Double Edge Theatre in Ashfield, Mass.; Ilsa Shea '11 with Martha Rosler and Arlen Austin in Brooklyn; Christopher Stevenson '12 with Christie's International Fine Art Auctions in New York City; and Lindsay Selin '11 with Marpillero and Pollak Architects in New York City.

The Nature Conservancy internship fund is an award of $1,500 for work at the organization's research location on Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts. The recipient is Charlie Fry '11.

The New Millennium Fund program forges connections with Vermont-based start-ups, small companies, venture firms, and innovative non-profits or non-governmental organizations. Open to current students, the program reimburses employers for one-half of the host company's internship costs for the summer. This year that amounts to $13,500 for nine students. They are Worth Baker '11 with Bridging the Divide in Burlington; Matthew Birnbaum '12 at American Retroworks in Middlebury; Sarah DeCamp '12 with Choose Responsibility in Washington, D.C.; and Trevor Dodds '11 with Union Street Media in Burlington.

Also, Spencer Ellis '12 with Brighter Planet in San Francisco; Di Jiao '11 with Vermont Center for Emerging Technologies in Burlington; Jack Kramer '11 with Encore Development in Burlington; Quincy Liao '11 with NEHP in Williston, Vt.; and Lois Parshley '11 with Orton Family Foundation in Middlebury.

The Tormondsen Family Internship and Service Fund supports participation for undergraduates in unpaid internships either in the U.S. or abroad. Three students received a total of $2,100 for the summer of 2010. The recipients are Madelihe Niemi '11 with GLS Capital in London; Brittany Gendron '12 with U.S. Department of Education and National Archives in Washington, D.C.; and Alexander Margarite '12 with Saxelab, the Social Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory at MIT in Cambridge, Mass.