Monday, April 5, 2010

Finding a Great Summer Opportunity

by Laurel Mylonas-Orwig

Now that it’s April and the first week of Spring Quarter is already gone, you may feel the pressure mounting to find the perfect summer opportunity, if you haven’t already. As a student at this university, I had planned on taking classes in the summer between my third and fourth years. When I suddenly realized this wasn’t possible (for a variety of reasons), it was already the third week of April, and all of my friends had already secured internships and other opportunities. I was left feeling panicked and uncertain about how I would fill my time—and more importantly, how I would pay rent!

Fortunately for me, there were still a few Jeff Metcalf Fellows internship opportunities floating around, and the good folks at CAPS helped me pin down my own (nearly) perfect internship. If the beginning of this story sounds familiar to you, the first step is not to panic—with planning, a little bit of research and the assistance of on-campus resources like CAPS, you too can find you own happy summer ending. And it may be that that opportunity won’t necessarily be an internship—besides internships, there are a variety of other great options you may not have heard about. Read on to learn more!

  1. Planning Resources and Involvement for Students in the Majors (PRISM)
    The PRISM program was created to support the educational goals of the College, and to address three major concerns of liberal arts education: building a departmental, intellectual home for undergraduate majors, increasing student awareness of CAPS resources and services and, helping students understand and articulate the skills and knowledge gained through their liberal arts education. Run by Deborah Neibel, Associate Director for Undergraduate Preparation at CAPS, PRISM serves students in eight majors: Anthropology, Art History, English, History, Human Development, Philosophy, Political Science and Psychology. In addition to several departmentally specific programs, PRISM features two research grants: PRISM Research Grants, funded by the College, and Seidel Scholars PRISM Grants, funded by a generous donation from the Larry R. and Kathleen Gilles Seidel Charitable Trust. Both of these grants offer PRISM students the opportunity to propose and fund their own research projects over the summer. In addition, students have the chance to present their work at a Research Symposium in October. For students interested in doing graduate work in the future, or for those who have a specific BA project in mind, PRISM grants are a wonderful opportunity to receive funding to study something you love.

    This year, PRISM Research Grant applications are due on April 23rd. Seidel Scholars PRISM Grant applications are due on May 3rd. To learn more about the PRISM program, find out how to apply for a grant, or read abstracts of the research done by past grant recipients, click here to visit the CAPS website.

  2. Chicago Careers in Journalism (CCIJ) Internship Grant Program
    The CCIJ program supports students who are interested in pursuing careers in publishing or journalism. Through College funding, CCIJ is proud to offer grants to students who have secured unpaid internships at established news organizations around the world. Each grant is $3000, and students are expected to complete 300 hours of work for the organization. This year, applications are due on April 22nd. To learn more about the program and find out how to apply, click here to visit the CAPS website.

  3. The Jeff Metcalf Fellows Program
    Likely the best known internship program on campus, the Jeff Metcalf Fellows program works with the College and external employers to offer paid, substantive internships to undergraduates during the summer and the academic year. This year, more than 350 internship opportunities have been posted. Although many deadlines have passed, internships are posted on a rolling basis, and many are still available. In addition, new ones are being posted almost every day. Check Chicago Career Connection (accessible through the CAPS homepage) often for a full list of internships still accepting applications. To find out more about the program, learn about eligibility requirements and how to apply, or read profiles from past Fellows, click here to visit the CAPS website.

  4. Internships for Credit
    As you may have read recently in the New York Times, unpaid internships, especially at for-profit institutions, can be illegal. To allow students to still be able to take advantage of unpaid internship opportunities, CAPS and the College have partnered to offer an internship for credit class. The class, which meets once in the spring and once in the fall, requires the student to submit a short paper after the internship is completed detailing the experience. To find out more, contact Rachael Ward in the CAPS office (rcward@uchicago.edu) or click here to visit the CAPS website.

  5. Internship Databases and Career Fairs
    If you’re looking for an outside opportunity, or feel that you have exhausted the possibilities in Chicago Career Connection, consider using the NIC and UCAN internship databases. These internship consortia draw on opportunities posted by a variety of schools, so that you can, in effect, have access to the internships posted for Harvard or Brown students, just as they have access to our internships. To start your search, log into your Chicago Career Connection account from the CAPS homepage using your CNET credentials, and choose the appropriate link.

    For those students who have some free time this coming Friday, April 9th, the Big Ten Career Fair will be taking place at the DePaul Center (1 E. Jackson St.) downtown from 1:00pm to 4:00pm. More than 80 organizations will be in attendance, so this is a great opportunity to do some networking and find out more about potential internship opportunities. Log in to your Chicago Career Connection account to view a list of participating organizations.

No matter where your search takes you, remember that the staff of CAPS is here to help. Don’t hesitate to make an appointment by calling (773) 702-7040, or drop by for walk-ins. We are always happy to assist you in any way we can!

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