The Career Services Advisory Council has awarded the first round of Knowledge in Action Career Internship Fund (KACIF) grants to 37 students pursuing unpaid internships that will advance their career opportunities and build on their academic studies.
The council awarded KACIF grants to 37 undergraduates and graduate students, totaling $50,000 in funding provided by parent and alumni donors.
“We hope that the Knowledge in Action Career Internship Fund inspires GW students to pursue necessarily unpaid internships that they might not have applied for in the past due to their financial constraints,” said Rachel Brown, council chair and assistant provost for university career services. “Our goal is to meet the need of as many of our students as we can.”
KACIF is an initiative of the development and philanthropy project team of the Career Services Advisory Council led by Scott Schroth, associate dean for administration in the School of Medicine and Health Sciences, and Mag Gottlieb, director of career services in the Graduate School of Political Management.
More than 170 undergraduate and graduate students applied for the grant program, which was announced in March. Each student was required to submit a completed application including three essays, a budget template, transcripts and a letter confirming the status of their summer 2013 internship.
“The Knowledge in Action Career Internship Fund and the overwhelming response to it—considering the amount of applications and financial support provided— demonstrates that the students, parents, alumni, faculty and career services departments at GW understand the value afforded to students who explore internship experiences in their chosen fields of interest,” Ms. Brown said.
Career Services Advisory Council members and other GW career services professionals selected the recipients based on the quality of the students' applications and essays, the internships’ connection to the students’ academic and career goals, the quality of the internships, the planned use of the funds and financial need.
The diverse group of awardees represents 20 majors and fields of study at GW and will pursue internships at nonprofits; local, state and federal government agencies; political campaign offices; embassies; think tanks; theaters; health centers; and more.
Rising junior Avani Singh is majoring in international affairs with a concentration in international development in the Elliott School of International Affairs. She will use this grant to supplement an unpaid public diplomacy internship with the U.S. mission to the UN agencies in Rome, a program that will offer a first person perspective of her dream job: to be a foreign service officer.
“I was very excited about the possibility of interning abroad, but was concerned about how I would afford a summer abroad in Italy,” Ms. Singh said. “I applied for the internship fund in hopes of making my dream internship not only more affordable, but also a reality.”
Like Ms. Singh, Matthew Caldis, a graduate student studying health policy in the School of Medicine and Health Sciences, was struggling with the financial strain of an unpaid internship when he heard about the KACIF program from the School of Medicine’s Office of Student Opportunities Track Program.
Mr. Caldis will work with patients at health outreach events and see how health policy is shaped on Capitol Hill through his internship with the Men’s Health Network, a national nonprofit that seeks to improve the health of men and boys.
“Given the high cost of medical school, any money I receive will help minimize the amount of additional loan money I need,” Mr. Caldis said. “While I accepted my internship without any sort of decision about funding from GW, it was a welcome relief when I was awarded a Knowledge in Action grant,” he added.
“The award makes it possible for me to work with Ready for Hillary, a one-of-a-kind opportunity, as it is the first super PAC formed to encourage an individual to run for the presidency,” said Mr. Jaffe, a political communications major, who will serve as the deputy to the communications director of Ready for Hillary.
“I'll be able to observe and participate in the PAC's operations including messaging, media relations, digital content creation and grassroots organizing. The set of skills I acquire from this summer's internship will serve as the foundation for my future studies and professional positions,” he said.
Due to the positive response and continued support from the university community, the Career Services Advisory Council is planning additional funding cycles for the KACIF program in fall 2013, spring 2014 and summer 2014, depending upon available funding from donors.
Complete information about the inaugural recipients of the KACIF grants, in addition to eligibility, the application process and details of upcoming funding cycles can be found on the Knowledge in Action Fund website or by sending an email to [email protected].
Parents, students, alumni and friends who would like to contribute to the fund can do so online .