For the past three years, students have turned to Civic House to jumpstart their careers in the public interest.
The Civic House Philadelphia Nonprofit Internship Program, which was initially planned to end this school year, will now continue to give students experience in public interest-related careers.
The program launched in 2009 with five partnership organizations and one student interning at each. Today, CHPNIP partners with nine organizations and supports nine students.
The allocated funds were to be spent by this summer, but will be able to extend through the academic year, according to Civic House Director David Grossman. Civic House is looking into future funding options, as its future is currently unclear, he added.
The internships grew out of funding that Civic House secured in 2008, when University President Amy Gutmann pledged to fully fund 400 community service opportunities for Penn students at the ServiceNation Summit in New York City. By receiving a portion of this funding, CHPNIP was able to place students at local non-profits for up to one year and pay them a stipend.
“There are a lot of Penn students that are really interested in getting experience working in non-profits, but sometimes it can be challenging to do that when more often than not, non-profits don’t have the financial resources to support a student,” said Civic House Associate Director Elizabeth Milkie. “This allows students who are interested in non-profits to still have financial support to do that.”
The application process is mutually selective. Students indicate their preferred organizations, which then receive the applications and interview the candidates. Civic House matches the students to partner organizations.
As part of the program, students also meet as a group to reflect on their internship experiences. Guest speakers are brought in to expose students to opportunities in public interest careers as well as provide information about graduate school programs to help students determine their academic goals.
College senior Kelsey Bogue began her internship at the Maternity Care Coalition last January and is continuing to intern this fall. The organization serves mothers, pregnant women and babies and advocates for comprehensive maternity care in Pennsylvania. At MCC, Bogue works in the policy department where she helps with social media outreach and prepares policy news updates. She plans to attend graduate school to pursue a degree in social work.
“We’re not just doing administrative work,” Bogue said. “We’re really getting involved in the issues and hopefully making some kind of a difference.”
College junior Janan Dave found out about CHPNIP while looking for a summer job last spring. She interned in the research and evaluation department of the Public Health Management Corporation this summer and is continuing to work there this semester..
Dave conducts research about the impact of free sexual health education classes on teenagers. She spends half of her time visiting public housing projects in Philadelphia interviewing teenagers and their primary caregivers, and the other half compiling interview and survey data in the office.
“This internship has really shown me the research side of it all and I got to see that I am definitely interested in working one-on-one with the client base,” she said. “It was definitely a very eye-opening experience.”