An Educational Summer Ahead – Internships for Liberal Artists

As the school year winds down, I’ve been talking to more and more students about how they intend to spend summer break. A good many of them will be taking up summer internships.

A summer internship is a win/win proposition, both for employers and for students. The business, research lab, or nonprofit gets a willing and energetic young worker who can help meet current needs, and who can be considered for regular employment later. The students get experience, training, and a real taste of a career they might be considering. The stipend provided by the College allows them to meet their living expenses during the summer.

St. John’s has been helping our students to find summer internships for many years. Already when I arrived as president in the early 1990s, the College was lucky enough to have many generous alumni and friends in the business and nonprofit sectors who were willing to hire students for summer work.

The internship program in Annapolis got a big boost in 1999, when the Hodson Trust donated $1.2 million to establish the Hodson Trust Internship Fund, which awards grants of up to $4,000 per student for summer work. Since then, the endowment for internships has grown, and alumni and others have stepped up to fund internships in specific career areas. A similar boost came to the Santa Fe campus five years later, when the Ariel Internship Awards were established in 2004. These awards on both campuses help students to seek out work at places they find personally interesting and informative while they pursue opportunities that may lead to employment after graduation. In many cases, the students design the internship themselves, and seek out a mentor to pursue their idea.

In the first year of the Hodson program, Annapolis awarded twenty-five internships. This year that number has more than doubled to the highest total so far—fifty-one. And the Ariel awards in Santa Fe this year have reached a total of twenty-six.

The range of work opportunities is eclectic, as one would expect of our liberal artists, whose interests are as multifaceted as their minds. Here are just a dozen and a half of the organizations at which our students from both campuses will be working over the next three months:

  • Naval Research Lab, Space Sciences Division
  • Smithsonian Institution Archives
  • The Office of Barbara Mikulski, U.S. Senator from Maryland
  • University of Maryland Department of Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics
  • The Breakthrough Collaborative
  • Yale Neuroscience Imaging Center
  • Art School of the Berkshires
  • U.S. Naval Observatory
  • The Chatauqua Institution
  • Maryland Independent College and University Association
  • Classical Academic Press
  • The Social Justice Neuroscience and Psychology Lab at the University of Chicago
  • Los Alamos National Laboratory
  • Pamukkale University of Archaeology in Mugla, Turkey
  • Martha’s Vineyard Film Society
  • Institute of Mind and Body at the University of Chicago
  • KSFR Santa Fe Public Radio
  • LifeBound, Denver

So congratulations to all the Hodson and Ariel award recipients, and best wishes for a productive and educational summer!