The Center for Life Beyond Reed

Summer Internship Awards

Important updates:

The Summer Internship Awards are now closed.

Due to the current health crisis around COVID-19, Reed College has suspended all college-funded travel, both domestic and international. Additionally, Reed College has decided not to sponsor student travel to foreign countries to which the CDC has attached a Level 3 Travel Health Notice (avoid nonessential travel) due to COVID-19 until further notice. The Department of State has also issued a level 4 global health advisory to reconsider all international travel.

More than thirty-five students from many majors and classes have received funding to defray the cost of a remote internship in order to gain valuable experience with nonprofits such as: Growing Gardens \ Saturday Academy \ Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon \ Gay and Lesbian Archives of Pacific NW \ Native Fish Society \ Oregon Health Authority.

We're happy to have funded more students than in previous years and want to express our gratitude to the alumni, parents, and staff whose generosity makes these awards possible.

Due to the current health crisis around COVID-19, Reed College has suspended all college-funded travel, both domestic and international. Additionally, Reed College has decided not to sponsor student travel to foreign countries to which the CDC has attached a Level 3 Travel Health Notice (avoid nonessential travel) due to COVID-19 until further notice. The Department of State has also issued, on March 19th, 2020, a level 4 global health advisory to reconsider all international travel.

We will still be offering the Summer Internship Awards in Summer 2020, but because of these restrictions, we have needed to modify what the award can fund. These modifications are listed below:

  • Only remote internships will be considered for funding. Exceptions might be made, but these would need to be initiated by conversation with a CLBR advisor. All internships must also abide by state and federal guidelines during the current health crisis, and with any Reed restrictions on funding travel.
  • This deadline will become a rolling deadline, and the SIA committee will review applications on a weekly basis, beginning on April 6th and extending as far into the summer as is practical, or until funding is depleted.
  • We have reduced the minimum required hours and duration to at least 160 hours for 6-10 weeks over the summer.
  • Please contact with any questions.

About the Summer Internship Awards

An internship is a form of experiential learning that integrates knowledge and theory learned in the classroom with practical application and skills development in a professional setting. The Summer Internship Awards (SIA) offer funding to support unpaid (and underpaid) internship opportunities: public sector, not-for-profit, start-up/entrepreneurial or other unpaid summer internships. Applications for support at for-profit/private sector businesses are generally seen as less competitive unless the applicant can make a clear case as to why the for-profit host is unable to provide funding. The SIA offers you the opportunity to gain valuable experience relevant to career development, but *does not* support research.

For summer 2020 only, internships that might also be considered to be research opportunities may be considered for funding. Please make a virtual appointment with an advisor before applying to discuss your application.

Basic award amounts for 2020 recipients will be up to $4,000 for a minimum of 160 hours over 6-10 weeks.

A special winter/spring version of this competition is also available for graduating Spring/Fall seniors with a winter or spring internship positionStudents seeking support for research opportunities should explore the programs offered by the Undergraduate Research Committee and/or their respective departments. HINT: Search for "Research" in the Fellowships search tool!

Reminder: There are also many paid internships out there. Review this article and search for paid internships in Handshake. Please also read our Summer Internship Awards and Budget FAQ.

SIA and Budget FAQ

International Students

The internship portion of the Summer Experience Award (SEA) competition has been folded into the summer internship award so it is no longer necessary to apply separately to the two programs. International students should apply to the Summer Internship Awards for consideration for SEA funding.




Application Deadline

Applications will be reviewed on a weekly basis beginning on April 6th.

Internship Locations

Looking for Inspiration?  Previous students have interned with a broad range of organizations, including:  

Names of organizations with whom students have had funded internships:
  • Copper Canyon Press

  • Danish Institute Against Torture

  • The Pacific Biodiversity Institute


  • OHSU

  • OMSI

  • Seattle Magazine

  • Hack Oregon

  • Senator Merkley's Office, Washington D.C.

  • Mercy Corps Northwest

  • Ubuntu4Africa

  • The Clinton Foundation

  • White Bird Clinic

  • Saturday Academy


All currently enrolled students in good academic standing are eligible to apply, including graduating seniors. Graduating seniors must particularly address in their application essay what role this opportunity plays in helping them transition to their first post-Reed destination.

To Apply

Applications for Summer 2020 are now closed.

All applications will be submitted in Handshake. The application consists of uploading documents, as well as filling out a Handshake survey. A letter/email of confirmation from your internship will also be required if you are selected for funding.

There are three documents to upload: A one page resume, a cover letter, and a budget. Please include your name in the file name and upload all documents as pdfs.


An up-to-date one page copy of your resume summarizing any work and volunteer experiences relevant to the opportunity for which you are applying.

Cover Letter

Your cover letter will include a detailed project description. Upload a pdf document of no more than 1,000 words with the following components:

  1. One-paragraph introduction that succinctly summarizes your proposed internship and the benefits to you.
  2. Description of the mission and purpose of your host organization.
  3. Description of the work/project/activities you anticipate doing as well as a description of your motivation and interest in this area.
  4. Summary of the skills, knowledge, or other relevant preparation you will bring to this position.
  5. Outline of the desired educational outcomes of this experience and how they apply to your goals.
  6. Contact information (names, telephone numbers, and email addresses) for your host organization contacts.

Other Document - Detailed Budget

Upload an itemized budget of your expenses and an explanation of how you will cover any expenses that exceed the award amount.

Apply in Handshake

Review & Notification

Proposals will be judged on a competitive basis on their relevance to your field of study or post-Reed goals; the quality and thoughtfulness of the summer plan (what you hope to learn or experience and how) and the ability of the sponsoring organization to support your learning. Successful applicants will respond fully to each of the essay prompts and provide a coherent and compelling narrative outlining their motivation to pursue the proposed plan as well as the anticipated outcomes.


Prior to receiving funding, you must:
  • submit a letter of confirmation from your organization acknowledging your internship agreement. This can be a scanned letter or email from you organization, sent to Forwarding a letter/email is permissible
  • fill out the Internship Award Recipient Agreement form (sent to you as a google form)
  • create a LinkedIn profile, if you do not already have one.

During, and after, the internship you agree to:

  • write and submit social media posts and/or reflections over the summer as requested by the Center for Life Beyond Reed.

Travel Restrictions

Travel restrictions for awards that originate or pass through Reed's business office usually follow State Department travel warning criteria. If you suspect that your proposed location of study may present safety or security risks, please consult the U.S. Department of State Travel Warnings Section. If a project proposal includes travel to locations that may present safety or security risks, especially as identified by the State Department travel warning criteria, special note must be made in the proposal, and additional information may be requested before permission is determined.

The Reed College Summer Internship Awards are tentative until travel permission has been received from the Reed College coordinators of such awards via completion of an award agreement that outlines conditions of acceptance. Students who do not receive permission to travel will not be allowed to use such funds for their proposed project; however, accommodations for an alternate location may be made at the discretion of the coordinators of the awards.

Funding Sources

The Summer Internship Awards are funded primarily by gifts from alumni, parents, and friends of the college, and come from a mix of endowed and non-endowed sources that fluctuate yearly. Funds that support the SIA include (but are not limited to):

McGill Lawrence Internship
The McGill Lawrence used to be awarded separately. You can view past awardees here.
DCR Opportunity Fund
Schroeder Student Opportunity Fund