LEWISBURG, Pa. — Audrey Richardson '10 is spending her summer as a legislative intern with the American Civil Liberties Union in Tennessee. Benjamin Clements '10 is teaching English, math and soccer with the Right to Dream Football Academy in Ghana. Neither knew the late Jared Rosner '02, but each received a Bucknell Public Interest Program (BPIP) internship stipend funded in his memory.
Since 2004, the BPIP Internship Fund has supported undergraduates who have secured and accepted an unpaid, fulltime summer internship with a public nonprofit or government office. All stipend funds are gifts from alumni, parents and friends of the University.
Trip McMahon '02, who led a dozen classmates in the fundraising effort, was looking for a creative way to pay tribute to his friend, who died following a skiing injury in 2004. He found it with BPIP.
Jared's legacy "The program was the perfect fit for honoring Jared's legacy," he says. "Jared was adventurous and always into finding knowledge outside the classroom."
McMahon initially hoped to fund one $2,500 internship but ended up raising enough money for two. "People were just so excited about this idea. It's been a really nice way to get back in touch and talk about our memories of Jared and stay connected to the University," he says.
Twenty-seven other Bucknell students also were awarded 2009 summer stipends through the BPIP Internship Fund. Other current host organizations include the Starlight Child Foundation, the Red Cross of Macedonia, the Philadelphia Zoo, Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, Medical Teams International, the Environmental Defense Fund, Make a Wish Foundation and Unite for Sight.
'Reality testing' The BPIP Internship Fund has grown steadily, according to Pamela Keiser, director of the Career Development Center. "A significant percentage of Bucknell students are interested in gaining experience and doing some ‘reality testing' of what the nonprofit sector offers, both government and non-government, and how that might fit with their career aspirations," she says. "There is an application process, and the program has become quite competitive."
The goals of BPIP are twofold: to help selected students pay for costs related to secured unpaid internships, and to educate students and alumni about career opportunities within the nonprofit and government sectors-areas that many times cannot match the on-campus recruitment presence of large-scale business and engineering firms.
"There are so many public service programs out there that are specific to a geographic area or issue," Keiser says. "Our Bucknell alumni and parents are an extremely important source of information and assistance for students who want to explore careers in public service."
Advisory board Each April, the BPIP Alumni Advisory Board gathers on campus to interview student applicants and select the recipients.The board includes Meiko Boynton '05, an events planner with the International Peace Institute, which works closely with the United Nations community in New York City.
With help from BPIP during her senior year, Boynton secured a two-year fellowship working as an elementary school development director and later spent time as a grants writer with Amnesty International. "Since I benefitted so much from BPIP, I really enjoy giving back to the program," Boynton says. She advises sophomores with BPIP summer internships in New York, and spoke about the nonprofit sector as part of a BPIP panel recently held in Princeton, N.J.
Richardson, currently with the ACLU, appreciates the opportunity to explore her interest in policy without having to worry about finances. Clements, whose award helped defray the cost of his travel to Ghana, looks forward to working with young soccer players there. And McMahon hopes that he and his classmates can continue their good work in Jared Rosner's name.
"It's pretty cool to be able to give back as a group of friends," he says. "And it's rewarding to see that our contributions are helping current students."
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