From the Richmond City Jail to Tanzania, University of Richmond students have completed a myriad of internships across the world, many of which are made possible by the Richmond Guarantee.

The Richmond Guarantee is the university’s financial commitment to ensure that each undergraduate student has the opportunity to get receive funding for an underfunded or unfunded internship during their time at UR.

Senior Jabari Lucas used funding provided through the Richmond Guarantee to intern at the Richmond City Jail, where he helped with a rehabilitation program.

“Community engagement and empathy are indispensable exercises that are valuable in themselves,” Lucas said.

Through this internship, Lucas was exposed to a different lifestyle from his own and he gained experiences that he wouldn't have been afforded without the means of the Richmond Guarantee, he said. 

“I saw, firsthand, the effects of incarceration and drug use on the lives of individuals,” he said. “It is hard to say that coming to work every day, beset with all of these vexations -- to put it mildly -- was easy. Yet, I still found it worthwhile.”

Kendall Holly, senior, explored a different path last summer with the support of the Richmond Guarantee. Holly interned with 3Arts Entertainment in New York City, where she did script coverage and reviewed book proposals. This experience led her to decide that she wanted to pursue a career in the film industry, she said.

For Holly, the Richmond Guarantee funding went toward her 40-minute commute each day from Princeton, New Jersey, into the Flatiron District of the city. 

Holly went on to land an internship over winter break with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, where she aided in preparations for the Oscars.

Brendan Halligan, a Career Services employee and overseer of the Richmond Guarantee program, said, “The goal is to allow, through this funding, each eligible student to have an experience that will benefit them in their chosen career path while still in college.”

To qualify for the Richmond Guarantee, one must be a returning, full-time, degree-seeking student in good standing.

Although it is widely believed that the Richmond Guarantee gives $4,000 to each qualified and accepted student, Halligan said the average research funding grant was $3,938 and the average internship funding grant was $3,380. 

The Richmond Guarantee does not pair students with an internship or research opportunity. Students must secure this placement on their own.

In the summer of 2017, 667 students, 46 percent of which were juniors, were awarded funding and 82 faculty members served as mentors for the summer fellows, Halligan said.

This year, Halligan said there had been a few additions. Applicants are required to attend an information session, and the final session will be held on March 28. Applications also require a letter of recommendation this year.

“We are trying to make the process as easy as possible,” Halligan said. 

Jasmine Feng, sophomore, recently submitted her application for the Arts & Sciences Summer Fellowship research program for this summer.

“I really liked my Biology 200 professor, Dr. Quintero, when I had him for class," Feng said. "So I applied to do research under him."

Feng said she hoped to live on campus this summer and to earn money for her research through the Richmond Guarantee.

Students have used the Richmond Guarantee to experience a wide array of internship opportunities. Tomi Jegede, a senior, worked for a nonprofit in Tanzania called The Small Things. Natalie Dowzicky, also a senior, worked in the office of Sen. Patrick Toomey.

“We are always looking for feedback from faculty, students and staff on how to improve the program,” Halligan said. “We are excited for where program is right now.” 

The deadline to apply for the Richmond Guarantee is April 2.

Contact feature writer Kakie Pate at katharine.pate@richmond.edu.