By Grace Elkus
This week, I had the opportunity to talk with someone from Elon’s Law School. This was exciting for me because I know very little about the Law School and was interested to learn specifically about the stipends they provide for students doing unpaid internships over the summer. I wanted to know more about how the stipends are funded because I think that Elon’s undergraduate programs could potentially provide the same type of thing.
I talked with Jason Senges, president of Elon Law School’s Public Interest Law Society and a Leadership Fellow at the law school. He explained to me that last year, the money provided to students was raised at a tennis tournament. This year, the fundraiser will be a basketball tournament held in February. The goal is to be able to give $500 to multiple students. A committee of professors determines which students will receive the scholarships. The criteria is being modified this year, but it will most likely be an overall look at the students’ resume, application and the merit of what they will be doing over the summer.
The stipend program was developed in order to encourage students to seek out summer opportunities where they can work without pay, Senges explained. For this reason, I think that the same type of program would be beneficial in undergraduate programs as well. For many students, internship credit is mandatory for their major and often times, it is hard to find an internship that will pay.
Pam Brumbaugh, the director of experiential education at Elon, told me that the career center has been talking about providing some sort of stipend or scholarship to undergraduates for a couple years now. Hopefully, we can see those ideas come to life in the near future.