More than 620 students received funding this year as part of the Richmond Guarantee, a notable increase compared to roughly 500 students awarded in 2015. Despite only being its second year in existence, the Richmond Guarantee has managed to secure positions for University of Richmond students across the United States, Asia, Europe, South America and Africa.
“I’ve seen more internships in China this summer than the previous year, which is really cool,” said Ashleigh Brock, the associate director of Experiential Learning & Assessment.
The Richmond Guarantee, first established in 2015, allows students to take on internships or research opportunities during a summer of their college careers by providing funding up to $4,000.
“It's provided the push many students need to go after an experiential learning opportunity that could really help them in their career,” Brock said.
The Richmond Guarantee is made up of eight different fellowship programs. The A&S Summer Research Fellowship, the Spider Research Fellowship and the Jepson Summer Research Grant all support research opportunities. Internships are supported through five different programs: the Spider Internship Fund, the Burrus Fellowship, the Civic Fellowship, the Urban Education Fellowship and the Chaplaincy Summer Internship.
The Spider Internship Fund has seen the highest increase in number of applicants this year, Brock said. There were a total of about 360 applicants in 2015, and that number has increased to roughly 430.
“The Richmond Guarantee has encouraged more students to seek internship opportunities, which is awesome,” Brock said. “At the same time, running parallel to that, they are also seeking support for those experiences.”
Naomi Sand, a junior majoring in International Studies, received $4,000 as part of the Spider Internship Fund for her internship with Amanda DeBusk, a partner at Hughes, Hubbard and Reed LLP in Washington, D.C., this summer. Sand will work for 10 weeks alongside DeBusk, spending half her time working in the international trade division of the law firm and the other half working for the Women in International Trade Charitable Trust, a non-profit that creates a support system for women in the trade industry and provides them with networking opportunities.
“One of the things I’m most excited about is that it's untaxed,” Sand said. “When I found out I was getting $4,000, I was thinking of it being more like $2,500, because I thought it included taxes.”
Many students who receive the summer funding use it to help pay for housing in the city where their internship is located. Megan Healy, a junior working for Senator Perdue of Georgia on Capitol Hill, plans to use her stipend of $2,800 to pay for her summer housing.
“I’m living in the George Washington dorms,” Healy said. “Because of the number of hours I’m working, it’ll cover it exactly.”
Brock said more and more students have been using the Richmond Guarantee in a strategic way, like Healy. Since students are guaranteed funding for only one summer, more students are choosing to be strategic about when they use their funding based on the location of the internship and the predicted costs.
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“If you are a first year student, and you’re heading home for the summer to do an unpaid internship, then you might decide to decline, because your costs are relatively low if you’re living at home,” Brock said.
While the number of applicants and funds awarded will fluctuate over the coming weeks as students sign contracts and finalize the number of hours they plan to work, Brock estimates that the total amount of funding will be around $2 million, which is similar to the amount awarded to students last year.
“As an alum and someone who works in career services, I’m very happy with its success,” Brock said.
Editor's Note: Megan Healy is on The Collegian's staff.
Contact reporter Audrey Jordan at firstname.lastname@example.org
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