Internship Description

Students in the Poverty Studies Minor will complete a full-time, 8-10 week summer internship working with people in poverty. Students are expected to complete PVS 101 (Introduction to Poverty Studies) prior to undertaking the PVS Internship requirement.

This component of the minor is designed to provide students with an opportunity to actively engage a complex and important social problem: poverty. The primary goal for the internship is for students to work directly with people living in poverty. Therefore, at least half of the time in the internship will be spent interacting with the people, getting to know them as individuals, and learning their stories and perspective. The internship seeks to put a face on poverty so that the poor are no longer abstract statistics but real people who can open your eyes and touch your heart. The internship will help students to begin to understand the complexity of poverty while also contributing to the efforts of the many organizations attempting to address this growing problem in our communities at home and around the world.

To meet the Poverty Studies Minor requirements and to enhance the learning experience, students will be asked to complete assigned reading, to write journals, to contribute weekly to an online discussion group (if internet is available), and to prepare a final paper reflecting on their experiences.

Internship Search Process

Students will be able to get information about poverty-related internships through resources on the Internship Office website and by using the search process described below. The Internship Office is available to assist students in the search process and will also help students work with agencies to develop internship opportunities that meet the Poverty Studies requirements. Students may also submit internships found on their own.

As you search for internships that meet these eligibility requirements for the Poverty Studies Minor, you should look for both volunteer opportunities and formal internships within organizations serving people in poverty.

Internship Eligibility Checklist

  1. The location of the summer experience can be either domestic or international. If your internship is international, it must be in a location that does not appear on the U.S. Government Sanction List or the U.S. State Department Travel Warning List at the time of the internship/volunteer opportunity: However, students should also recognize that international internships can be much more expensive; it is unlikely that a PVS stipend will be large enough to meet the full expenses of an international placement.
  2. The internship must be full-time (40 hours per week) for a minimum of 8 weeks during the summer.
    • The internship must include significant interaction (50% or more of your time) directly with people in poverty, allowing time to build relationships with the people, learn their life stories and understand the impact that living in poverty has on their lives.
    • The internship must have a mentor/supervisor assigned to the student at the internship location to serve as a resource in both completing the work and increasing the understanding of the services provided and the people served. 
    • The internship should include housing in a location that insures the safety of the student and enables him or her to become immersed in the community being served: for example, living with families or in accommodations among the people served.

Internship Search Resources

The Internship Office website has information including websites for internship and volunteer programs which serve people in poverty in both domestic and international locations. Please note that not all of the opportunities listed on these websites will meet the Poverty Studies Minor requirement; this is a list of all internships, so students should review the material carefully to find eligible opportunities. As you search for internships to complete the Poverty Studies Minor requirement, you should look for both volunteer opportunities and formal internships within organizations that serve people in poverty. Students will find many volunteer opportunities and internship descriptions that meet the minimum requirement of working at least 50% of the time directly with people in poverty. However, some internships are focused on research, writing, education and promotion of poverty issues or services and, therefore, have minimal direct interaction with people in poverty. These types of internships will not meet the Poverty Studies Minor requirements unless the organization agrees to combine these tasks with at least 50% direct service and interaction with people in poverty.

In addition to the sites listed on the spreadsheet, students will be able to locate agencies providing services to people in poverty in the United States by using the following:

  1. www.unitedway.org Search by location to find the United Way in the city you choose, then click on their Partner Agencies list to see the service agencies supported by United Way. You can then click on the agency and their volunteer opportunities to learn more about their services. Students can contact the volunteer coordinator of the agency of choice to develop a summer internship/volunteer opportunity that meets the Poverty Studies Minor requirements.
  2. City/County website: Find the website for the city or county of your choice. Click on Community Development or Community Services/Agencies department to find a list of agencies serving the local communities. You can then click on the agency and their volunteer opportunities to learn more about their services. Students can contact the volunteer coordinator of the agency of choice to develop a summer internship/volunteer opportunity that meets the Poverty Studies Minor requirements.
  3. Local Church Services: Churches in the community may be involved in serving people in poverty. Finding these programs often requires either a search of a specific church's web-site to determine their programming or a Google search using key words: "church program poverty city name" Students can contact the church of choice to develop a summer internship/volunteer opportunity that meets the Poverty Studies Minor requirements.

Poverty Studies Minor Internship Approval Process:

All PVS students pursuing internships must complete the Poverty Studies Internship Application to allow the Internship Program Director (Susan Zeiger) and the Poverty Studies Minor Oversight Committee to review the internship and determine if it meets the requirements of the Poverty Studies Minor.

Poverty Studies Fellowship Application

The Poverty Studies Fellowship is a program intended for students who need funding assistance to be able to complete the internship requirement for the concentration. Students who want to be considered for the Fellowship Program should complete the Internship Application and submit a completed Budget/Student Expenses form with their application by the deadline. The PVS Oversight Committee will consider the student's budget/expense information as well as the student's financial need (from the Financial Aid office) to determine if he/she is eligible for a base stipend of $1000. Additional funding may be awarded, if available, by the PVS Oversight Committee for students with demonstrated financial need.

The PVS Oversight Committee will review completed applications before the end of March (all Junior applications will be reviewed first, then Sophomore applications, etc.) and the student will receive notification of the status of his/her request for funding when the committee completes its review.

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