Princeton Internships in Civic Service (PICS): Students make meaningful, substantive contributions to nonprofits
In Summer 2012, PICS had over 75 internships available in areas such as the arts, education, the environment, legal services, medical services, social services and public policy. The 8-10 week internships are geographically diverse placements with nonprofits throughout the U.S., with some international placements. All PICS interns receive a $450/week stipend, with all positions open to all Princeton undergraduates, including seniors.
Interested in understanding how a museum builds community and preserves history or the life of an investigative journalist? Dinora Llamas '12 and Shirley Gao '13 did just that during summer 2011 with their PICS internships at the Natural History Museum in LA and the Center for for Public Integrity in Washington, DC, respectively. A signature of the PICS program is to pair every PICS intern with an alumni partner who serves as a resource for the student over the summer, while at the same time, promotes the development of long-lasting Princetonian connections between alumni and current undergraduates.
Dinora Llamas' experience was a story of relevant, important work and the value of the alumni connections. PICS alumni partners are meant to mentor, guide and provide resources for the student interning with their organization and Dinora remarks that her alumni partner, "...made sure to invite the LA interns to many events. He also was an amazing career mentor for me this summer. I once told him I was possibly interested in law school and so he invited me to his company and had his legal department answer questions for me regarding the process of becoming a lawyer as well as the career. I believe this partnership greatly enhanced my experience." In addition to her responsibilities managing museum vendors and events, Dinora also had the opportunity to volunteer and attend the museum's benefit ball, which worked to actualize an exhibit that she had been working on throughout her internship, an experience that she described as "the most memorable."
Shirley Gao '13 interned at the Center for Public Integrity as an investigative reporter working the finance beat. Although she had as she explained, "... no background or knowledge of derivatives, debt settlement companies, APR, Dodd-Frank, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission..." the Center's staff and her supervisors were extremely supportive, tailoring assignments to her knowledge of the topic, and allowing her time to do research. Shirley describes a steep learning curve, but quickly grew accustomed to the field by writing daily roundups of financial news from around the globe.
Another PICS intern, Katherine Hsia '13 worked at Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program and concurs with Dinora and Shirley about the value of her PICS experiences, stating, "My internship far exceeded my expectations. I not only learned a great deal, but I also felt that I was actually doing important work for the organization and that they truly appreciated what I was doing." Katherine speaks highly of her host organization, commenting that, "This organization is doing amazing work, and is perfect for any student interested in going into health care policy or who is hoping to work in health care for the underserved."
In 2010, the Pace Center for Civic Engagement became the portal through which Princeton students become involved with PICS, through a partnership established with the Princeton Class of 1969 Community Service Fund (69CSF), an organization founded in 1995 to support civic engagement activities by Princeton students and alumni. The PICS program is a joint endeavor of members of the Classes of 1969, 1970, 1975, and 1977, along with individuals from 23 other Princeton classes and regional associations, including the Princeton Club of Chicago, Princeton Club of St. Louis, Princeton Club of Philadelphia, and Princeton Association of New England.
The 2013 PICS internship placements and the 2013 PICS online application will be available December, 2012 on the PICS website. For more information on PICS, contact Jeri Schaefer (firstname.lastname@example.org) , Executive Director of the PICS program or visit the Internships section of the Pace Center website.