InternAway to fund student summer internships in US


Author: Cory Lomberg

The Hameetman Career Center (HCC) will fund approximately 20 students’ unpaid internships in any U.S. state this summer through InternAway. This new program has replaced InternPDX, which offered intern positions with specific organizations in Portland, Oregon.

“While we enjoyed working with our partners in Portland, our office was receiving more and more requests for funding outside of the Portland area,” HCC Assistant Director for Internship Development Liselda Fabian said via email. “By not limiting our funding to a particular site and city, it provides students the freedom to intern at a site of their own choosing and a location that is more convenient for their summer needs.”

Unlike InternPDX or the HCC’s Los Angeles-based internship program InternLA, students do not have to target specific internship sites when applying to InternAway. In contrast, InternLA applicants must select one or two sites out of a pool of 34 organizations approved by the HCC. InternLA’s process appealed to 2015 participant Katherine Torrey (junior), who had already established a relationship with one of the program’s partners, arts nonprofit Machine Project, before her summer internship.

“InternLA gave me the opportunity to keep doing an internship I already knew I enjoyed, but get paid for it,” Torrey said.

Through InternAway, students have the option to seek funding for positions at specific internship sites that do not partner with Occidental through the HCC or any other office. They can also apply for funding by citing a general interest and asserting that they will seek out an internship opportunity that suits this interest, should they receive a stipend. At the final InternAway information session on March 2, Fabian suggested applying to the HCC program and potential internship sites simultaneously, though the process is ultimately at the discretion of the applicant.

“It provides the student the opportunity to have ownership of the internship process,” Fabian said via email. “Also, [it supports] students who would otherwise have to look to another option for a source of income in the summer. By being funded through InternAway, it will allow those students to pursue and explore their interests without limitations.”

Students accepted to InternAway must confirm their secured internships with the HCC by May 20, more than a month after awards are distributed April 13. Although compensation varies based on the need of the student, the maximum award for the summer is $4,000, which can be spent how the student sees fit. During the information session, Fabian said that the HCC committee charged with evaluating InternAway applications will take students’ estimated housing and transportation costs into account while determining awards.

Priority acceptance for the program will go to rising seniors who have not been funded by the HCC through a program like InternLA or InternPDX in prior years. Additionally, students receiving funding from any other Occidental department or office — for purposes of independent research or otherwise — are ineligible. Applicants must have a GPA of at least 2.5 and no high-level conduct infractions logged with the dean of students or the Title IX office.

The HCC has placed a set of restrictions on eligible organizations and students in order to narrow the application pool and economize available funding. According to Fabian, internships must begin in late May or early June and end no later than Aug. 12, providing ample time for students to complete 200-400 work hours over the course of the 10-week program. All positions must be unpaid and held in a work environment. Circumstances that compromise the professional nature of a site, such as a student’s employment at a virtual internship or an organization run by a member of their immediate family, will not be permitted.

InternAway’s application deadline is April 1. The application requires a 500 word statement on how a particular internship experience could contribute to a student’s academic and professional goals. Interested students must also submit a current resume and questionnaire via Occidental’s career portal, TIGERlink. The HCC selection committee will evaluate these materials and report back to applicants with admission decisions in under two weeks.

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