Donation doubles funds for summer internships

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LEANN BURKE / THE DEPAUW

Midterm stress may be in full swing, but the Hubbard Center is looking to assuage some student stress this summer. A donation from the Cornelsen Charitable Foundation of St. Louis has essentially doubled the funds available for students to pursue unpaid summer internships in the coming years.

“Unfortunately we still live in the world of unpaid internships. There are certain industries, especially, that will never have built-in budgets to support students at their organizations and unfortunately those industries are often areas that need extra support in help and staff members,” says Internship and Employer Relations Coordinator for the Hubbard Center of Student Engagement, Christine Munn.

There has previously been a grant process that aspiring students apply to in order to participate in these unpaid internships, but resources have been somewhat limited.

“I hate turning students away, it’s a competitive program,” continues Munn. “Our goal is to grow the fund every summer and increase the number of grants made every summer. Our first year, we had 38 students that were funded. In the second year, we were able to increase that a little bit and had 44 students. The fact is that there is no outside scholarship or funding sources for unpaid internships like there are for study abroad.”

Rick Neville, a 1976 graduate of DePauw, made the first major donation to the summer internship grant fund with his wife, Jan Neville. He interned with Western Petroleum while attending DePauw, and then spent almost 40 years with the company thereafter.

“More of the valuable internship experiences are with nonprofit and they can’t always afford to pay. DePauw helped me when I was an undergraduate and even after that,” said Neville. “It was just an obvious way to help pay back DePauw.”

The most recent donation of 750,000 dollars from the Cornelsen family has allowed the grant program’s resources to cover double the students as it did previously, allowing it to accept 35-40 new applicants.

Katherine Cornelsen St. John, ’89, a Trustee of the Cornelsen Foundation, said, “The donation aligned with our foundation’s mission. We work with new initiatives and encourage growth in new programing, especially revolving around children and families; this seemed like a really great fit.”

The funds will go to unpaid internships or internships without sufficient funds for living. These areas include government, nonprofit or entrepreneurial start-ups.

“These are areas where there are valuable skills learned. They are also organizations that are making wonderful, great change in our world. Our DePauw students are very much aligned with wanting to make change in the world. So we want to help support them by giving them funding,” adds Munn.

Cornelsen St. John agrees that it is important for DePauw students to engage in any internship or opportunity they can gain access to.

“I think it’s wonderful, the more the merrier. If DePauw is going to be competitive, DePauw needs a program like this that can be competitive in the nonprofit arena,” said Neville about the most recent donation.

Cornelsen St. John summarized, “It is really for our love of the university and our belief in the liberal arts education. We just wanted to make sure that this kept going.”