Woodside Internship Fund Challenge

May 10, 2016 at 2:56 pm

As an entrepreneur, Sam Woodside ’75 knows the value of real job experience. And as a Carleton alumnus, he knows the importance of a liberal arts education.

"Carleton is a wonderful growth opportunity for young people,” Woodside said. “But we wanted to create connections between the intellectual side of the college and the real world.”

“The job market has changed,” says Career Center director Kim Betz. “While in the past employers were more willing to do on-the-job training, today they expect recent graduates to have had some internship experience. It’s becoming much more competitive for entry-level positions.”

In hopes of relieving some of these pressures, a few years ago Woodside and his wife, Meg, created the Sam ’75 and Meg Woodside Endowed Fund for Career Exploration to fund internships in the government, education, and non-profit sectors.

Still, they would like to do more. So they are issuing a challenge to all alumni, parents, and friends of Carleton: Any gifts of $10,000 or more in support of internships at Carleton will be matched by the Woodsides up to $150,000, meaning students stand to benefit from $300,000 in funds for internships. Funds gifted to the college for this challenge may be applied to any internship funding source while the Woodsides’ matching dollars will go toward their own established fund.

All Carleton students are now encouraged to complete at least one internship before they graduate. According to the Career Center, internships are an essential part of education, a way to gain valuable experience, explore career aspirations, and connect academics with the real world.

But even as internships offer valuable opportunities, they also present difficulties. Internships are often unpaid; in fact, they can end up costing students money. Rather than living at home for the summer, interns must find and fund living arrangements, transportation, food, and other daily expenses (not to mention travel costs to and from the internship location). They also cost time that students could have spent in paid jobs to help pay college tuition. So internship scholarship funds like the Woodsides’ are crucial to solve the dilemma of gaining experience without going further in debt.

“There’s a gap between those who can afford to take these interesting, unpaid internships and those that need their summer salary to make ends meet,” Woodside said. “Meg and I hope these scholarships can help contribute to all students’ success after Carleton.”