Although Kalamazoo’s harsh Winter weather can make warmer months feel far away, staff members at the Center for Career and Professional Development (CCPD) are hard at work planning for the upcoming Summer internship and externship opportunities which are regularly being added to the CCPD’s “K-Connect” database.
One of the most important of these changes is the reallocation of money to the Field Experience Program. In the past, any student with an unpaid internship has been able to apply for a stipend through this program. These stipends were granted on a sliding scale based on financial need, with a maximum award of $2,400.
This year, however, the CCPD will be offering larger, $3,000 stipends for a select number of internship programs that have been predetermined by the department. According to CCPD Director Joan Hawxhurst, this change comes as a response to increased student need.
“Last year, we had more students than ever before being offered stipends but declining them because even $2,400 was not enough to live on for six weeks in the summer,” Hawxhurst said. “We did some benchmarking and found that, when we look at other schools like K, the lowest stipends that they offered were $3,000.”
When determining which internships should come with stipends, CCPD staff members considered the programs’ past histories with Kalamazoo College.
“Many of the opportunities are built off of relationships over time. It’s important to maintain those relationships,” Hawxhurst said.
Hawxhurst noted that she has received some concerns about how students were informed—or not informed—about this change. She responded by stating that the CCPD has “shared this information over the course of the last six months,” with information being sent to faculty and released on the CCPD website in October.
The Discovery Externship Program, which offers students hands-on job shadowing experience with K alumni, has also seen changes for the upcoming summer, with daily stipends being raised to $15 per day— a $5 increase from last year. These externship opportunities were released on the K-Connect database on Monday of 6th Week, later than in the past.
Although this change of release date gives both students and CCPD staff more time to prepare for externship applications, some students have been frustrated by the change.
“The fact that externship opportunities were released so late this year made it harder to know whether or not to apply for other internships and summer opportunities, because I couldn’t compare other options to externship programs,” said Savannah Kinchen ‘18.