Matching Values with Mission and Vision: New College-wide Internship Scholarship is Established

Thanks to a generous endowment, the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences is developing its first college-wide internship scholarship. 

As a college-wide scholarship, the CAHSS Internship Scholarship celebrates the importance of internships to every department in CAHSS and the interdisciplinary nature of a CAHSS education, regardless of major.

The goal of the scholarship is to promote high-impact experiential learning and make it more accessible to students, given over 50% of CAHSS internships are currently underpaid or unpaid. The opportunity for students to explore fields they’re interested in via internships is invaluable as it can reinforce their career plans or reroute them to a better fit. Internships also encourage students to apply abstract concepts they’re learning on campus, use the skills they’re developing in their liberal arts degree, and demonstrate their value to potential employers. 

The scholarship will also help connect students with community members. It will remove barriers by helping the community understand what skills and knowledge students have to offer and enabling CAHSS students to confidently answer what they’re going to do with their liberal arts degree. 

The exact amount for the scholarship and the number of scholarships available will vary based on number of applicants and available fund dollars, but leadership expects $500 to $1000 will be available to students based on demand. The scholarship will be offered on a rolling-basis, both in timing and amount. 

CAHSS Director of Development Bryce Nixon has emphasized that the college plans to work toward increasing both the monetary amount offered and the number of scholarships available. According to Dean Jeremy Youde, that goal is attributable to the scholarship fund’s value as a retention tool given all the benefits it will offer students.

Students will be able to apply for the first round of scholarships at the end of spring semester 2024. Students will need to have an internship lined up in order to apply for the scholarship. Application information will be publicized to students through email and CAHSS social media, and will also be available through internship coordinators in all CAHSS academic departments. The application will be a simple Google Document designed to collect necessary information while minimizing the burden on students. If students have questions about applying, they should contact the internship coordinator in their major department or the CAHSS Dean's Office.

The idea for the scholarship originated from a college-wide conversation with faculty. Faculty were unified in desiring funding to supplement underpaid and unpaid internships which in turn enhance student learning on campus. Nixon was able to match a donor’s values with the mission and vision of CAHSS to lay the foundation for the scholarship.

The scholarship is endowed by a UMD alum who asked for their name not to be attached to the scholarship. When asked what inspired them to fund the scholarship, the donor explained, “Through my work, over the years I have met a number of interns working in roles from the Midwest to the East Coast and West Coast, sometimes in very expensive urban areas. Whenever we get a chance to discuss how they’ve made ends meet, their stories are often heroic and sometimes horrific. The sacrifices they make for their internship are astonishing. 

“These encounters made me remember my time as a student, how my family and I struggled simply to cover my tuition, books, and housing. An internship–at least an unpaid or low-paying internship–was not an option for students like me. 

“After some conversations with UMD’s Development Office, I slowly realized that there was a way to soften the impact of economics and finances on internships. I got excited, to think students like me could take on a challenging, rewarding, perhaps life-changing internship without having to worry as much about basic expenses. My goal for the new CAHSS Internship Scholarship is for it to mitigate this sort of dollars-versus-education type of decision-making.”

Dean Youde is also excited about the potential for this scholarship, noting that in conversations, “Its premise makes sense to faculty, students, and donors.” 

Indeed, the original donor affirmed: “I like to think of the myriad paths students could take, given the opportunity of an internship, whether it’s in a massive office tower, a wildlife sanctuary, a far-off city, or closer to home. It has tremendous potential for building confidence, opening one’s eyes to how the world functions, and introducing the intern to new people and ways of life. Anyone who donates to the internship fund will be a part of that endless network of learning, adventures, and memories.”


Potential donors interested in contributing to the scholarship fund should contact Director of Development Bryce Nixon at [email protected] or 218-726-6708.

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