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Making Summer Dreams Become Reality

DU students receive $2,500 summer internship award

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A summer in Alaska rescuing and treating marine mammals. Three months in Denmark performing revenue and cost forecasting. Spending the summer helping women prepare for the biggest single day of their lives. This is a snapshot of some of the internships University of Denver students will take on during break.

The trouble many students face is that these internships are unpaid, sometimes forcing them to turn them down or find second jobs. “Taking an unpaid internship is often times not an option at all for students,” says Rebecca Damas, the assistant director of the University Career Center. “There are some organizations that are out there that provide wonderful learning experiences through internships that simply can’t provide the support financially for students.”

The Career Center Summer Internship Award helps students with that financial piece of the puzzle. It’s an endowment that was created to provide eight students with $2,500. “These students are doing full-time internships. They will be working at least 40 hours a week, so they don’t have time to go work at a restaurant or retail to just make some kind of money.”

This year the program was able to give out a ninth award thanks to One Day For DU, a community-wide fundraising effort held in early May. Through crowdfunding, more than $3,000 was raised, enough for one additional paid internship.

Each year, between 20 to 30 applicants apply to the program and undergo the thorough vetting process.

For the Career Center, what’s most important, is that students are able to take part in summer internships. “A lot of organizations that we work with use the internships as a pipeline for converting into full-time hires,” Damas says. Once students graduate with a degree from DU, having completed a summer internship begins to pay off. “Students at DU who are doing at least one internship are earning anywhere from $6,000-$10,000 more on their starting salary versus students who did no internship.”

Here is a list of the 2016 Career Center Summer Internship Award recipients:

  • Aaron Hinds

    Aaron Hinds (sophomore, international studies and strategic communications) — Hinds will travel to China to work with CRCC Asia. The recruitment and consultancy firm offers internships in China for current university students and recent graduates. Hinds will advise on and process trademark registration for foreign clients.

  • Samantha Hyman

    Samantha Hyman (junior, English and psychology) — Hyman will spend her summer at Comedy Works as a business affairs and human resources intern. She will have several responsibilities including: assisting with writing contracts, working on employment law updates and participating in the recruitment process.

  • Noel Leifer

    Noel Leifer (sophomore, molecular biology) — Leifer will work at the Sie Center for Down Syndrome at Children’s Hospital Colorado. Leifer will be a member of the clinical research team and assist others by gathering information for scientific literature, recruiting patients for studies, updating and creating clinic databases, and examining patient histories.

  • Aarika Matney

    Aarika Matney (junior, biology) — Matney will work for Project C.U.R.E. on Kits for Kids. Matney will help educate youth in the metro area about the need abroad for medical supplies. Kits for Kids contain basic First Aid items that can save lives.

  • Darby Pappas

    Darby Pappas (sophomore, marketing) — Pappas will work this summer with the Lost Girls Tribe as a marketing intern. Darby will work to increase overall awareness for the company in the ski industry by promoting Lost Girls Tribe on social media and by managing search-engine marketing and other digital marketing initiatives.

  • Sonia Schaefbauer

    Sonia Schaefbauer (junior, finance and marketing) — Schaefbauer will spend the summer in Copenhagen, Denmark, working for WireDelta, a web development and graphic design company. Schaefbauer will serve as a finance and analytics intern, working on the company’s budget and performing revenue and cost forecasting.

  • Shaileigh St. Clair

    Shaileigh St. Clair (sophomore, hospitality management) — St. Clair will work in Denver at A Vintage Affair, which specializes in event planning, design and décor. St. Clair will learn about the process of wedding planning and everything that goes into preparing for a bride’s big day.

  • Kayla Steffens

    Kayla Steffens (freshman, psychology and sociology) — Steffens will work this summer in the Boettcher Foundation’s scholarship program. Steffens has a community engagement role that requires planning events for current scholars and the new 2016 scholars, as well as connecting alumni with current scholars.

  • Kathryn Ziegner

    Kathryn Ziegner (sophomore, ecology) — Ziegner will travel to Alaska to work at the Sealife Center. Ziegner is a preveterinary student who will work closely with veterinarians and animal-care staff to treat injured or abandoned marine mammals.