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Mary Richards '15 at the helm of the Rozalia Project for a Clean Ocean's 60-foot research vessel.

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College Funds Summer Internships

July 10, 2014

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. – Two hundred forty-eight Middlebury undergraduates are participating in internships this summer from Washington to Cape Town to Tel Aviv thanks to financial support from the College’s summer internship fund. 

The fund allows Middlebury students in all majors to explore careers, acquire skills, and develop the kind of insight and connections one can only get in the real world. And because so many internships in 2014 are either low paying or not paying at all, support from the internship fund is often what enables students to pursue their greatest interests or passions.

The summer internship fund is administered by the Center for Careers & Internships (CCI) on a competitive basis. Students must apply in writing and submit a detailed budget request. This summer $453,000 in internship funding was awarded to 248 students, while as recently as 2011 the College awarded $125,000 to 63 students.

"Helping to fund internships has become an important priority for us over the past few years,” said Peggy Burns, director of CCI, “and we are pleased to see that funding support so many students in gaining critical real-world experiences this summer. Thanks to the generosity of our donors, we now can empower more students to apply their liberal arts education through internships.”

Among the funded interns, 55 are performing internships in 28 different countries. They are doing important work, for example, in developing nations such as Rwanda (health care), India (international development), Ukraine (banking), Kenya (education), Nicaragua (food and agriculture), and West Bank (youth development).


India Huff '15 (at left, with members of the medical staff) has funding from Middlebury to support her internship at Howard University.

Stateside, 34 students are in Washington, D.C., interning with members of Congress, the Smithsonian Institution, the White House, Gardens for Health International, the State Department, the Nature Conservancy, and the Clinton Global Health Initiative. Scores of others are in New York, San Francisco, Chicago, and Los Angeles.

One of the students in the nation’s capital, rising senior India Huff, is examining hypertensive disorders of pregnancy within the African American community. “I am having an extremely fulfilling experience at Howard University Medical Center,” she said, “and I would love to continue research in this area of obstetrics beyond my summer internship.”

Other students are working in the sciences in an HIV vaccine trials network in South Africa, in molecular medicine at Yale University Medical School, and in geriatric psychiatry at McLean Hospital outside Boston. Middlebury interns are also exploring environmental science at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory, thoracic oncology at the University of California San Francisco, and research with the SPHERE Lab at Columbia University.

With support from the College, students are also making contributions to the fields of social and human services (e.g., Futures Without Violence, Road2Argentina), the environment (1% for the Planet, TerraCycle), entertainment (the Ellen Degeneres Show, Steeplechase Films)), the arts (ArtLA, Greek Museum of Byzantine Culture), and the media (Time Out London, Sports Illustrated).

Mary Richards ’15 is working with the Rozalia Project for a Clean Ocean in the Gulf of Maine aboard the 60-foot sailboat American Promise. “Most of our research involves using Hector, our VideoRay Pro 4 ROV (remotely operated vehicle) that explores the ocean floor and helps protect the kelp forests,” she said. Hector not only records valuable data; the robot also grabs plastic bags, beverage cans, and any other trash it encounters, Richards added. 

Students receiving summer internships funds must demonstrate that their work will benefit both the individual and the host organization, and show that a professional in that field will mentor the experience.

In addition to this summer’s college-funded interns, another 300-plus students are engaged in paid internships this summer, many of which are provided by members of the Middlebury alumni community, the CCI director, Peggy Burns, added.

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