Internships Make Knowledge Come Alive

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Emily DeMarco

Many AU students, including Emily DeMarco, KSB '18, have benefited from their internships.

American University students access exciting learning opportunities in D.C. and beyond. Ninety percent of recent AU graduates participated in at least one internship. 1 AU alumni say internships, more than any other activity, had the greatest impact on their college experience. 2

Yet students may find it a challenge to participate. Some internships are unpaid; others offer minimal pay. Many of these professional experiences require spending for travel and other expenses. Resources are available through some AU schools or departments to help support student internships, research, or travel. For example, the Eagle Internship Fund administered by the Career Center offers stipends to financially eligible students participating in unpaid government or nonprofit internships.

"My internship allowed me to gather skills and experiences that I talked about in job interviews—I was later offered a full-time position at Freddie Mac where I am now," says Elijah Marquez, KSB '17. He believes the Eagle Internship Fund levels the playing field. "Low-income students who must work to pay for school have a tough time trying to also hold an internship that requires 20-plus hours in the office."

"I interned at a small international nonprofit that solidified my interest in peace and conflict resolution," says Reagan Williams, SIS '18. "I left with regional knowledge, connections in D.C., and supportive mentors. Without it, I would feel much farther behind my peers who had the financial means to complete unpaid internships throughout college."

Emily DeMarco, KSB '18, interned on Capitol Hill in Representative Kay Granger's office. "My time on the Hill provided valuable experience for a business career. Plus, interning while being a full-time student hones your work ethic and discipline."

Seventy-nine percent of employers want colleges to emphasize internships and projects that teach skills in real-world settings. 3 Such internship experience is an integral part of the AU culture. Students have the freedom to pursue these opportunities through the support of donor-funded scholarships and awards.

Your Support Matters

You can make a difference in the lives of AU students. Contact Seth D. Speyer at speyer@american.edu or 202-885-3411 today to discuss ways to contribute to their success in the classroom, in the field, and beyond.

1AU Graduation Census 2014-2017.
22016 AU Alumni Attitude Survey.
3Association of American Colleges & Universities/Hart Research Associates (2010), "Raising the Bar: Employers' Views on College Learning in the Wake of the Economic Downturn."

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