By Beth Anne Spacht
July 16, 2014
This summer, the buzz around Richmond is twofold: the new state-of-the-art student housing on the Westhampton side of campus, and the second cycle of our UR Summer Fellowship program. In case you haven’t heard about the latter, I’d like to take a moment to share with you what it means for students and why it is, quite frankly, awesome.
The UR Summer Fellowship is an incredible initiative we recently started about two years ago. What it boils down to; in an age when almost 70% of all internships are unpaid, UR Summer Fellowships offer students the opportunity to secure up to $4,000 in funding to put towards original research or internships, both domestic and abroad. Since its inception, the program has skyrocketed in success and enabled more than 300 students to access over $1,000,000 in funding resources each year.
So, what would you do with $4,000 from Richmond? When I was a student, I had plenty of ideas. But despite generous support from Career Services in facilitating my search for out-of-the-box opportunities in cool industries, my need for funding limited me to searching for internships exclusively in my hometown of Philadelphia where I could afford the housing (i.e., live with my parents). It’s one of my biggest regrets. Not because I couldn’t find a great internship – I did, due in large part to the great help I received from Richmond. Rather, my regret stems from the fact that I had turn down other great internships due to geography alone.
Flash forward a few years, and UR Summer Fellowships take the stage. Suddenly, limitations are off the table. “Unpaid” transforms into a reliable paycheck, housing expenses are now manageable – even in places as far as Tanzania and Lithuania – and the door to discovery is wide open. THIS is the reality at Richmond in 2014. This is the future direction in which our school is headed. And although I may not get to benefit directly from UR Summer Fellowships (I’ll admit, I’m jealous), I truly couldn’t be more excited by the commitment Richmond has made to student success and the undergraduate experience. It’s not just that it sounds great on paper – it plays out in practice, too.
Take Nabila Khouri, ’14, for example. Nabi used a UR Summer Fellowship to work on the Maasai Step with the African People and Wildlife Fund. Her experiences in Tanzania helped her to publish her first article on National Geographic’s website – a huge stepping stone towards her ultimate postgrad journalistic dreams.
And then there’s Anna Sangree, ’15. Last summer, with the help of an Arts and Sciences Summer Research Fellowship, Anna researched the connection between gender and conservation in the Amazon under the guidance of geography professor, Dr. Mary Finley-Brook. This summer, she’s using a Civic Fellowship to fund an internship with Shalom Farms, a nonprofit community farm project dedicated to increasing food security in low-income neighborhoods.
Perhaps you’ll take a page from Al Califano, ’15, whose passion for theater and music set the stage for him to intern with a talent agency and a theater in London, England, doing everything from reviewing scripts to processing royalty checks.
As Nabila, Anna, and Al all demonstrate, UR Summer Fellowships appear when you need them the most; often, between the freshman and junior years of college. They monetarily enable our students to cast a wider net, dream up possibilities, and put ambitions to the test. Finding an internship or research site is a separate but parallel process to securing funding – it’s up to you to think big (though our No. 9 Career services will certainly give you a hand). But once you find your ideal opportunity, we can help by making it possible to say “yes, I’d love to accept.”
So, what will you do with up to $4,000 from Richmond? We can’t wait to find out.
Senior Assistant Director of Admission
A Richmond alumnus (Class of 2007), Tom has been working and blogging for the Office of Admission since he graduated. He loves his alma mater and the city that shares its name.
Beth Anne Spacht
Beth Anne was a double major at Richmond (English and Latin American & Iberian Studies) and now enjoys helping prospective students discover the best of her alma mater.
The University of Richmond is a highly ranked liberal arts university offering an extraordinary combination of the liberal arts with law, business, leadership studies, and continuing education. The university is consistently named a best value in higher education by leading publications.