Students take on summer experiences with help from alumni

A total of 135 students in the College of Arts & Sciences are able to take on unpaid or minimally-paid summer experiences this year with help from the College’s Summer Experience Grants (SEG).

Students will be traveling as far as Ecuador or staying on campus to join a research lab for these experiences, which help them make decisions about their majors and future career goals.

“As a college, we are excited to continue to provide the ability for students to explore various career-related experiential learning opportunities without the worry of the financial undertaking of paying for basic living expenses,” said Samantha Stafford, program manager for A&S Student Services.

SEG is a collection of summer funding awards that provide financial support for students to complete unpaid or minimally-paid career-related experiences. The awards can be used for living expenses, transportation and travel.

The selection process for these grants is competitive; the College’s Career Development Office received 225 applications this year for the funding.

The College offers its own grants specifically for A&S students, including funding for students on financial aid, first-generation college students, students who will have experiences in the field of journalism or communication and experiences in think-tank or government work in Washington, D.C.

person outside near Eiffel Tower
PJ Brown

PJ Brown ’25 is spending his summer in the New York City office of U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. He said he’s working on a mixture of casework, policy research and constituency outreach for the Department of Veterans Affairs.

“This is my first internship experience and I'm very excited to make my first connections in my field of interest in government, both with students at other institutions and professionals in the public service arena,” Brown said. “The senator's staff all care so much about their constituents in such an authentic and admirable way and I'm looking forward to continuing to be inspired by their dedication.”

Brown, who is majoring in government and philosophy, said the SEG funding was “imperative” for him to pay for the expenses of rent, transportation and food in the city.

“I can tell it is going to give me a remarkable amount of insight into the field of public service and help me decide whether to pursue law, political communications/press or political campaign management as my career of choice,” he said.

Olivia Ochoa ’24 is in Washington, D.C. this summer working with the Migration Policy Institute.

As an events and communications intern, she helps to plan and staff the institute’s private and public events and meetings, writes social media campaigns, completes translations and makes time for professional development and networking.

“It's incredible to get a behind-the-scenes look at the research I've been studying from the outside for years. It provides amazing context for how I previously analyzed (the institute’s) publications,” she said. “As a first-generation student, it's amazing to offer my perspective to the organization.”

The position is helping her to think about whether she might one day want to work at a think tank like the institute. Ochoa is majoring in Spanish and American studies with a minor in Latino studies.

“While my post-graduation plans are still up in the air, I know that the connections I'm making now will be invaluable as I move forward, as I am certain that individuals within this organization share my passion for improving the immigrant experience within the U.S.,” she said.

SEG funding helped allay some of Ochoa’s worries about having to budget her predicted internship salary, find an affordable place to live and fulfill basic needs like healthcare and groceries.

“The SEG funds gave me complete access to all these things, and managing the funds and budgets have taught me invaluable lessons about what finance management will look like post-graduation,” she said.

To find out more about Summer Experience Grants and the application process for next year, visit this page on the A&S Career Development website.

More News from A&S

woman sitting on bench
Provided Olivia Ochoa enjoys a break in Dupont Circle in Washington, D.C. She's working this summer with the Migration Policy Institute.