Summer internships offer real-world experience, valuable networking opportunities, and sometimes an inside track to full-time employment. But many internships are unpaid—a hardship for students who can't afford to forego summer earnings.
Does this mean that cash-strapped students are doomed to spend their summers flipping burgers while their more affluent peers land those coveted career-boosting internships? Not necessarily. Meet two students who have found the best of both worlds this summer, thanks to the M. Leith Shackel Internship Fund:
Good summer internships can be hard to find in the best of circumstances. Even tougher? Finding one that combines an interest in ethnomusicology and music activism.
"When I first stumbled on this internship opportunity, I couldn't believe my luck," said Jonathan Walsh '12, a Carleton Religion major. "I was looking for places doing oral history projects, because I hoped to interview bluegrass musicians. And almost by accident, I learned about this small state park in Tennessee, in an area known for bluegrass. It was serendipity."
Walsh's Shackel Fund award will support his summer internship with Cumberland Trail State Park, where his work will focus on a project to preserve folk music traditions of the region.
Walsh will collect and digitize old homemade recordings from local musicians, conduct oral-history interviews, and help create a nonprofit record label dedicated to making the music of the Cumberland Plateau region available to a wider audience.
"This project is an incredible opportunity to preserve and learn about bluegrass music in its traditional form, which nowadays is rapidly disappearing," Walsh said. He hopes this experience will be a key step toward a future career as an organizer, activist, or academic ethnomusicologist.
"My work will also tie directly into my studies at Carleton," he said. "I plan to analyze the music for its sacred and religious content for my Religion comps project."
TThe U.S. State Department estimates that 800,000 to 900,000 people are sexually exploited and trafficked across international borders each year. For Vaishali Umrikar '13, reading that shocking statistic became a call to action.
"I became very emotionally disturbed about how many innocent lives were being crushed," said Umrikar, a Sociology/Anthropology major. "I have committed myself to a life fighting for the dignity and independence of victims of sex trafficking."
Umrikar's Shackel Fund award will support her summer internship at the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation (CAASE), where her work will focus on research into sex trafficking.
"I will be working with the CAASE founder and Executive Director, Rachel Durchslag, to complete background work on sexual exploitation," Umrikar said. "Then we will research the prevalence of sex trafficking in Chicago. We plan to look at the history of trafficking in Chicago and the current impacts of the industry on the city."
Raised in a Chicago suburb, Umrikar plans to return to the area after she graduates from Carleton. "Chicago is very close to my heart. I hope that interning at CAASE will only be the start of my fight against sex slavery in the city. In my future I hope to empower victims of sex-trafficking to lead strong, independent lives."
About the Shackel Fund
Now in its fourth year at Carleton, the Shackel Fund provides stipends for first year, sophomore, and junior students who pursue unpaid or low-paying summer internships. Learn more.