U-M’s Public Service Intern Program (PSIP) celebrated its 5Oth year in 2019 and, unbelievably, the students in the 51st cohort of PSIP have experienced a program year like no other. Through it all, they have been extremely impressive, working hard on their internship searches and engaging in all components of the intern program. Like others across the country, many students had their initial plans in DC canceled. Our PSIP students persisted and applied for remote internships. We are pleased to report many successfully landed summer internships. Over 75 internships were secured by PSIPers this summer!!See a snapshot of some PSIP remote student internships at the end to learn about successes this summer.
PSIP’s New Initiatives in 2019-2020
Virtual internships – PSIP alumni and public service employers in DC and other locations stepped up to offer internship opportunities to students in a remote format. Both new employers (hosting summer interns for the first time) and our ongoing employers showed their adaptability, which enabled U-M students to gain valuable career-related experience this summer.
Ambassadors – Ariella Meltzer and Nick Martire were PSIP interns during summer 2019 and wanted to stay connected to the Program. They saw an opportunity and suggested that PSIP create volunteer social media positions to spread the word about the Program. PSIP now has Instagram and Twitter accounts that spotlight alumni in public service careers (let us know if you would like to be featured!). They also connected current PSIP students with PSIPers who were still on campus so students can learn from each other. We are so grateful for these inaugural PSIP Ambassadors for their hard work that supports PSIP and continues to connect students and alums!
1st Gen Connector – We continue to seek ways to make PSIP more meaningful for all students. The 1st Gen Connector group connects first-gen PSIP college students with first-gen PSIP alumni so students can access great advice from our experienced professionals. This is the second year of connecting 1st Gen students in the Program with each other, so the group continues to grow and connect with students and staff for resources and support.
Kudos to PSIP Alumni
Our PSIP alumni can always be counted on! Thank you for always responding to our calls to support students. Your help during this extraordinary year is so greatly appreciated! Here are a few ways in which alumni were involved in this year’s Program:
- Career Panels - Alumni spoke on 3 career-related panels, offering information and advice to students as they prepare for their future. The panels focused on the following careers: Legal, Government/Capitol Hill, and Business/Consulting.
- Virtual Internship Postings – When PSIP staff reached out to alumni, several responded by posting internship openings, and then selected interns for summer 2020. Some of our new employers included the FDA and the Michigan Supreme Court Historical Society.
- Alumni Mentors – The University Career Center wanted to retain as many components of the “traditional” Program during summer 2020 as possible. The mentor program was one that students have always valued, so we didn’t want to lose these connections. Student Coordinators matched students with alums (former mentors as well as many new ones!) working in the students’ career fields of interest and encouraging them to have at least 3 remote interactions during the summer.
- Informational Interviews – There were many students who wanted to leverage the wider PSIP alumni network to learn about career and educational options, so many alumni accepted Lynn’s requests to speak with students and answer their questions.
- Scholarship Gifts – Scholarship funds for students to afford the DC summer portion of the Program continue to be needed. You are an amazing group of alumni who realize the importance of students gaining career-related experiences in public service. Your gifts to the PSIP Endowed Scholarship help students with financial need to intern in DC. Since all internships were remote this year, we expect to have double the interest in PSIP for Summer 2021. Your contributions continue to be so impactful to so many students!
We applaud our PSIP students and alumni who are working to advance racial equity and social justice issues. Many of our students are in leadership roles in student organizations that support inclusion and equity on campus and in our world, and we are proud of their efforts. Employers, too, are working to improve diversity and equity in all aspects of their organizations. We thank everyone for doing their part to advance education on important social justice topics and for making contributions when and wherever possible to advance equity.
We are planning for a unique Fall semester with remote student seminar meetings, while still providing the rich and educational experience for which PSIP is known. The UCC staff and PSIP Student Coordinators will work with our partners to create an informative academic year, culminating with terrific summer internships for 2021. It will look different, but the PSIP staff is hard at work to ensure the 52nd cohort will make valuable connections between their academics and the world of work.
Brigid Cummings and Julia Whang have been PSIP Student Coordinators for 2 years and have done a fabulous job of leading the Program! We thank them for their diligence, exceptional work ethic, and serving as excellent role models to our students. Congratulations to them on their graduations and we wish them success as they move into rewarding careers!
Simone Taylor (Senior Associate VP of Student Life/former Director of the University Career Center) and Cynthia Wilbanks (VP of Government Relations) are retiring this year from U-M. Both have been so supportive of PSIP over their impactful tenures with the University. We thank them for their service to U-M and for their commitment to PSIP and its students. It has been a joy to work with them and we wish these stellar leaders spectacular retirements!
The PSIP staff are proud of all our students, who worked so hard all academic year in Ann Arbor to build career development skills and land summer internships. Many students in the 51st cohort had internships canceled, while others were able to transition to remote internships, and some employers deferred students to summer 2021. Despite setbacks, many students persevered and landed internships in a remote format.
Here are a few examples of interns who pivoted to virtual internships:
- Hannah Albery – Internship with a Senator was canceled, then worked hard and landed 3 internships with a political campaign, The Borgen Project, and Farmington CARES.
- Lena Hoppe – Internship with the US Department of State was canceled, then landed 2 internships and a part-time job in Detroit
- Justin Ballard traveled a long road in his internship search and appreciates the key support PSIP has offered along the way. Justin was first chosen to work in an U.S. Embassy and then he accepted a position in a Senator's office, which was canceled. He then landed another internship on the House side and is enjoying his internship with Representative Elissa Slotkin.
- Selena Grover originally had offers from Capitol Hill and the US Department of State, but transitioned to working on a campaign near her home for Representative Sean Casten’s Campaign
- Kathy Pham – Internship with Human Rights Campaign was canceled, then joined a Ross program for a mini-internship with U-M H.R. Consulting, plus an internship with a positive social impact start-up, The Humblebrag!, in Amsterdam (remote, of course)
- Ryan Perry is interning with the US Chamber of Commerce in their Economic Policy Division
- Alexandra Pejas had her in-person DC internship converted to a virtual internship. She is interning with the National Immigration Forum.
- Josephine Fonger and Jennie Wang - Most federal agencies canceled their internships, but these two students were able to convert their internships at the US Department of Transportation to a remote platform. They are the first PSIPers in this high-level pipeline program.
PSIP Engagement & Questions
Thanks for supporting our PSIP students as they dealt with the disappointment of not interning in DC this summer, but so many pivoted to remote internships. We are proceeding with exciting plans for our 52nd cohort and look forward to meeting our new students this Fall!
Contact Lynn Halton at email@example.com if you want to engage with our students or have any questions, including being an Alumni Mentor, making a scholarship gift, serving as an information interviewee, or speaking on a career panel next summer. Go Blue!