The Bright Futures 'Unpaid Internship' Scholarship awards students with need-based scholarships ranging from $250-$1,250 to help offset expenses incurred during unpaid internships. If you're an undergraduate student who has secured an unpaid summer 2017 internship with a non-profit organization or government agency, you are eligible to apply! This semester's deadline falls on April 24 at 5 p.m. (not midnight!).
If we tell you that the Bright Futures Unpaid Internship Scholarship could totally help you, you might just nod and go on with your day. That's why we've asked several past scholarship recipients to break it down for you. We hope that, if eligible, you apply for this opportunity!
US Department of State, Office of Policy Planning
"Last summer, I interned at the U.S. Department of State in the Office of Policy Planning. Because the Office of Policy Planning is essentially the think tank of the Department of State, much of my internship was spent doing research and writing policy memos for the staff in my office, which were used to write papers on important U.S. foreign policy issues. I also helped plan several events and conferences that our office hosted, and had the opportunity to listen in on several talks with some leading names in the foreign policy realm. One of the coolest aspects of my internship was having the opportunity to pitch potential public-private partnerships to the Minister of Education of Guinea. The Bright Futures scholarship helped me pursue my unpaid internship; it helped offset the cost of transportation to and from DC, as well as other expenses that came along throughout the summer."
Caroline Johnson@carolinejohnson24 | Embassy of the United States, London
"On a whim last October, I applied for an overseas internship with the US State Department. I figured that it was a long shot, but worth the attempt. Then, in December, to my surprise, I received an email informing me that I had been offered a summer internship with the American Embassy in London. After the shock wore off, I worried about how I would afford this incredible opportunity, as the internship was to be unpaid in one of the most expensive cities in the world. I found the Bright Futures scholarship and, in combination with savings from working over the past two semesters at a lab at UMD, this scholarship significantly reduced the economic burden of pursuing my internship. I was lucky to receive housing from the Embassy, so the scholarship went towards paying for my commute on public transportation and my food."
U.S. Marshalls Service, Department of Justice
"My name is Charles Carrillo and I am a junior majoring in Criminology and Criminal Justice while pursuing a personal interest minor in U.S. Latina/o Studies. As an intern for the federal government at the United States Marshals Service within the Department of Justice, I have the privilege to work closely with the Asset Forfeiture Division (AFD). I draft thank you letters to district personnel and assist different management teams in creating presentations for the upper management, and editing/proofreading communication blasts before they are sent out to the district personnel. The Bright Futures ‘unpaid internship’ Scholarship has made a tremendously difference as it helped me pay for professional clothing, metro fares, car gas and other materials etc. that are necessary. Not many students get this opportunity in other universities. I hope that one day I will be able to help others to accomplish their goals just as this scholarship has helped me."
Dariya BrownTwitter: @BrownDariya | US Department of Education
"Last summer, I had the great pleasure of interning at the U.S. Department of Education for First Lady Michelle Obama’s Reach Higher Initiative. I helped plan an event at the White House to celebrate the achievements of high school students from around the country. I also attended meetings with senior level officials who discussed issues surrounding civil rights, teacher support, and education policy. Through this internship, I have realized the many non-academic obstacles that students face in order to continue their education and the various levels of support they need to succeed. The Bright Future’s Unpaid Internship Scholarship allowed me to focus on my internship without worrying about the financial costs associated with it. Because of this scholarship, I have been able to do meaningful work and develop creative ways to help students in their transition into college."
White Oak Farm and Education Center
"When I first arrived to the site of my internship, I experienced some immediate culture shock. The west coast presented an entirely different landscape than what I was used to, having lived in Maryland my whole life, and the farm presented a completely new way of living. I helped harvest the fruits and vegetables to sell at market and for the Community Share Agreement (CSA). I also helped run the kids’ educational programs on the farm. Through this experience, I learned many lessons about community living and environmental stewardship. Without the Bright Futures scholarship, I would not have been able to justify taking this internship. I would have likely tried to get a summer job in Maryland instead, which would not have been as much of a formative experience as this internship has been. I am so grateful to the Bright Futures program and its donors for supporting me to come here."
Tina VoTwitter: @tinahangvo | Voice of America
"During my internship at Voice of America, I learned how to use the various broadcasting equipment from audio boards, switchers, and robotic cameras. I was also able to experience the dynamics of a fast-paced workplace, including how to handle demanding situations and unexpected events. I greatly appreciated the Bright Futures scholarship because it ensured my ability to intern this summer, giving me peace of mind and easing my financial burden."