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Bridging the Gap

June 13, 2012
By Jaye Lawrence

Woodside Scholarships create opportunities for students who can’t afford to pursue unpaid internships.

Too often, college students hard up for cash need to work menial summer jobs, missing out on the career-building internships available to classmates with greater means.

The staff of the Carleton Career Center saw this inequality as a significant problem. But for Sam Woodside ’75 and his wife Meg, it was the answer to a question they'd been asking themselves: “How can we contribute back to Carleton?”

“We wanted to create connections between the intellectual side of the college and the real world,” says Sam, an economics major who recently retired as CEO of NLS Animal Health. “So I started having conversations with Carleton, and learned that a gap was developing between those who could afford to take these interesting unpaid internships and those that needed their summer salary to make ends meet.”

To help bridge that gap, Sam and Meg created the Woodside Endowed Fund for Career Exploration. Its goal: to support students pursuing unpaid internships with domestic government or non-profit organizations.

“Carleton has traditionally underfunded domestic internships compared to international opportunities,” says Brent “Rex” Nystrom '92, associate director of the Career Center. “Fewer than ten U.S. internships were funded per year. The Woodsides looked at that and saw the chance to make a difference.”

The Woodsides originally planned to make a series of annual gifts, earmarked to grow over time into an endowed fund. But for 2012, they also elected to make an additional gift to fund 5-7 scholarships immediately—a commitment they intend to continue each year henceforth.

Thanks to their generosity, seven Carleton students who might otherwise have been flipping burgers or babysitting this summer are instead embarking on exciting career- and resume-building internships. Their opportunities include:

  • Helping install the infrastructure for sustainable cold-climate food production in northern Minnesota.
  • Researching natural gene therapy for a serious tissue disease.
  • Policy research for a state senator on prostitution and sex-trafficking laws, as well as other human rights issues.
  • Helping torture-rehabilitation centers throughout the world expand their ability to provide mental health treatment and healing to survivors.
  • Working with two different museums, assisting with research and learning first-hand about museum conservatorship.
  • Contributing to a research group at UC-Berkeley studying the atmospheric composition of Jupiter's moon, Io.

“Carleton was and still is a wonderful growth opportunity for young people,” says Sam Woodside. “But there are tremendous financial and career pressures on students today. Meg and I hope these scholarships can help relieve some of those and contribute to their success after Carleton.”

Learn more about the Woodside scholarship fund.


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This page was last updated on 5 February 2016