Matthew Gallivan, a University of Notre Dame senior majoring in political science and Arabic, spent last summer in China, thanks to the new Rogers Summer Internship Awards for students in the College of Arts and Letters.
“I am hoping to find a job in international business, and this internship gave me experience—and a new understanding of government relations, logistics, lean systems, and what it’s like to work abroad,” he says. “There is no doubt these skills will be important to my ability to succeed.”
Gallivan, who interned with global manufacturer Carlisle Companies Inc., is one of 64 undergraduates who benefitted from the Rogers program during its inaugural year. Participants ranged from a studio art major interning for the Association of Craft Producers in Nepal to a theology major analyzing healthcare legislation on Capitol Hill.
“Internships are an important opportunity for Arts and Letters students to polish the critical thinking and communication skills they develop during their studies here and apply them in a professional setting,” says John McGreevy, I.A. O’Shaughnessy Dean of the College of Arts and Letters. “The Rogers program is funded by two of our benefactors, Patrick and Elizabeth Rogers, who are committed to the proposition that the best possible preparation for the world after Notre Dame is a liberal arts education.”
So far, the program has provided approximately $140,000 in travel and living expense stipends, allowing students to obtain valuable work experiences they might not otherwise have been able to afford.
The Rogers program is open to rising sophomores and juniors in the College; internships may be paid or unpaid, in any industry or geographic location. To apply for funding assistance, students must first secure an internship, then submit a personal essay describing the organization where they will intern, the position responsibilities, and specific learning objectives. After the internship, participants submit a second paper, reflecting on their experience and its impact on their career plans.
Chris Stare, a psychology major from Kenosha, Wis., says his summer internship at Brown University’s Bradley Sleep Lab in Rhode Island solidified his desire to specialize in sleep and provided vital research and presentation experience.
“Going into it, I was considering sleep research as a career—and now I know this is what I want to do,” he says. “It was very exciting for me. And now I’m working at the sleep lab here at Notre Dame, and we’re looking at some pretty cool projects involving sleep and memories.”
For students who are less sure of their future plans, internships can be an opportunity to explore new career interests, make valuable contacts, and acquire professional experiences that can give them an edge in the job market.
Julia Cancro, a junior psychology and Spanish major, used her Rogers internship funding as an opportunity to explore the fast-paced culture of Wall Street. She spent the summer at Goldman Sachs, doing three-week rotations on the prime brokerage desk, the U.S. shares sales desk, and high yield sales, followed by a week of community service.
While the learning curve was steep, Cancro says her psychology and other liberal arts courses at Notre Dame prepared her well to intern alongside students from Harvard, Columbia, Duke, and Yale.
“People’s investing behavior and their interactions are psychologically driven,” she says. “I think being in the College of Arts and Letters, you definitely learn reading, writing, analyzing and thinking, and you have a better understanding than people who don’t have the same, well-rounded background. Your approach is a lot more multifaceted and multidimensional.”
Arts and Letters students may apply for summer 2011 Rogers Summer Internship Awards January 17 though April 15, 2011, at the Career Center.