School Profile: Connecticut College
Connecticut College Offers Fully Funded Internships to All Students
By BECKY GARRISON, Contributing Writer
Aditi Juneja was a firsthand witness to justice being served last summer in a New Jersey courtroom. Through an internship funded by Connecticut College, the economics major shadowed Judge Robert H. Gardner as he presided over the Superior Court of New Jersey’s criminal division.
During the summer between their junior and senior years, Connecticut College offers its students internships that connect their academic interests to meaningful work in locations across the globe. These internships are part of a comprehensive four-year program coordinated through the college’s career office, CELS (Career Enhancing Life Skills).
Students work with counselors to plan activities and coursework centered on an internship designed to help them prepare for post-graduate life, whether that be entering the work force or furthering their pursuit of education. In the summer of 2011, 357 of the college’s students completed an internship.
Participants gain valuable experience and insight that can help them apply their skills to real-life work scenarios. Juneja’s opportunity to see the inner workings of criminal law provided clarity regarding a future career in the legal system. “Now that I have a sense of both the positive and negative aspects of working in criminal law, I want to be a prosecutor,” she said. “Without this experience, I wouldn’t have that insight and clarity when thinking about my career post college.”
Each student receives individual attention to select an established formal internship or craft an opportunity with an employer. The goal is to allow the undergraduate to explore his/her passion. For example, psychology major Brenner Green’s interest in the psychosocial development of LGBTQ youth led to his internship at True Colors Inc. in Hartford, Conn.
Green’s experience coordinating Queer Academy, the largest annual conference for LGBT youth and families in the country, provided training at the grassroots level in education and counseling that can be applied to a job working with diverse youth populations. “My internship with True Colors has developed my skills in leadership, communication, organization, and teaching,” he said. “All of these skills will make me a better educator and professional.”
The learning doesn’t stop once the internship’s over. Seniors implement the information acquired from internships into coursework. Senior year is also when counselors and students work together on job searches and graduate school applications. About 80 percent of the student body takes advantage of this opportunity.
English major Lindsay Paiva expanded her knowledge of education equity by interning with Youth 4 Change Alliance (Y4C) in Providence, R.I. Thanks to her experience with this coalition of youth empowerment organizations, Paiva shifted her career plans to focus on the nonprofit sector. After graduation, she hopes to engage in similar youth programs and social justice work.
Alumni often describe their internships as transformative experiences that led to exciting careers, according to Amy Martin, manager of the college’s media relations. “The program is highlighted in a number of guidebooks for prospective college students as a unique strength of Connecticut College,” she said. “Many students are drawn to the combination of a top liberal arts education and a funded internship designed to complement their academic experience. Likewise, many employers value the type of education we offer and the experience students gain during their internships.”
– Anne Kostuchik contributed to this article
Learn more about the CELS funded internship program