PICS Staff and Contacts

PICS Program Director, Emily Sharples and PICS Program Coordinator, Rosemarie Holton, are available throughout the summer, should any questions or issues arise regarding your internship.


Tips for a Successful Internship

  • Ask questions. 
    • Ask for help, clarification and advice. This is a learning experience as well as an opportunity to make a contribution.
  • Be communication savvy. 
    • Turn your phone to vibrate and do not text during meetings.  Do not use your work email or work-provided computer for social networking or personal email. Remember that all electronic communication creates a permanent record.
  • Be a problem solver.  
    • Offer observations and solutions to issues you encounter.  Discuss problems with your supervisor; if you don’t tell them, they won’t know something is wrong. Be respectful and avoid placing blame. Lean into disagreement; seek to learn from others’ perspectives.. You can always contact a PICS staff member if you cannot resolve your issues.
  • Be a team player.
    • Take initiative and be enthusiastic. Contribute all that you can--while you should be prepared to do some tasks you may not find “exciting,” don’t hesitate to speak with your supervisor about projects you’d like to add to your portfolio. Remember that any experience can be a valuable learning experience.
  • Clarify expectations.
    • Learn office email etiquette, break and lunch schedules, proper attire, and other internal protocols.
  • Develop a good relationship with your supervisor. 
    • Clarify your own goals and expectations. Discuss ways you can contribute. Track your projects and accomplishments.  Be open to feedback. 
  • Respect the Partnership. 
    • Your internship is an opportunity for mutual learning and progress for both you and your PICS organization. Identify those places where your knowledge, goals, and skills align with your organization’s mission and push yourself to grow in those areas. 
  • Learn to be detail-oriented. 
    • Workplaces are all about trust. Checking everything twice is the quickest way to build trust with people you don’t know very well. 
  • Learn your organization’s policies. 
    • Try to attune yourself to unspoken policies and expectations as well.  Be aware of privacy requirements.If you have a question, ask.
  • Observe the workplace culture.
    • If you enjoy the work, but not the workplace, you won’t feel satisfied long-term. Notice which aspects of the workplace culture you find valuable and which you’d like to avoid in future roles. 
  • Represent PICS and the University.
  • Make the Most of Your Alumni Mentor Relationship.
    • See some practical tips below in the “Alumni Mentorship” section.

Budgeting

Categories To Consider

  • Rent + utilities
  • Groceries 
  • Eating out/going out
  • Transportation (on-site) or gasoline costs
  • Flights/train to/from internship site (if applicable)
  • Healthcare expenses 
  • Anything else applicable to your particular lifestyle 

Budgeting Tools

  • Budgeting App: Generally most convenient. Many can link directly to your bank account to auto-import your expenses. Some apps are free; others you have to pay for. Check out these lists from Forbes, EveryDollar, and Investopedia of top-rated personal budget apps.
  • Budget Worksheet: Helps you think through your expenditures and find ways to cut back/save money. Use Google to find templates.
  • Budgeting Spreadsheet: This takes some planning to set up, but it will give you an idea about some budget items to consider throughout the summer. See this 2022 Sample Budget Sheet to get you started. 

Budgeting FAQs

Where can I find help with budgeting?

Check out the Princeton Financial Literacy website, which has tips, resources, tax information, and more available. You also can contact your program’s staff adviser for advice and support.

My internship is in an area where costs of living are high. Can my stipend be increased?

Internship stipends are fixed amounts, calculated each year based in part on what a Princeton intern might expect to pay to live in such an area for the summer. If you feel like your stipend isn’t enough to cover your planned expenditures, you can:

  1. Reach out to your staff adviser. They can help with allocating funds, exploring housing options, estimating costs accurately, and more.
  2. Find roommates. Check the Summer Service Internships Slack Channel or see the resources below for help. The thing about high cost-of living areas is that many Princeton students choose to work in these locations, and that LA/NYC/DC rent can be significantly reduced via cost-sharing!

Can I get more funding somewhere else? 

Many Princeton students are also eligible to apply for summer funding through SAFE, but note that these opportunities are (1) generally limited in both quantity and award size and (2) intended to fund other programs, like side projects or academic opportunities, that a full-time intern may be able to take on but are not necessarily affiliated with internship programs.


Housing

Type of Housing Best for Considerations
Internship provider: Housing provided up front for interns Individuals

(+) Often convenient in terms of location and price (sometimes free)

(-) Few organizations provide this

(-) Roommate situation, housing quality, etc. varies

Dormitory housing: Universities often rent their dorm rooms out to interns from other institutions for the summer Individuals, sometimes groups

(+) Huge convenience factor = location, ease of renting, security, facilities, campus environment, etc.

(+/-) Could be placed with random roommate in a multiple-occupancy bedroom

(-) Prices typically high relative to quality of housing

(-) Options are limited an space fills quickly during the spring

Subletting from other students: At universities, many students look to sublet their own units for the summer Individuals, sometimes groups

(+/-) Prices vary, but can be inexpensive

(-) Can be difficult to find

(-) Sometimes inflexible terms of lease require you to pay for more months of housing than you need

Short-term lease agreement Individuals or groups

(+) Access to the apartment and building amenities = kitchen, laundry, gym, etc. (varies)

(-) Can be extremely expensive (certainly higher rents than a 12-month lease would offer)

Other rentals (Airbnb, etc.): Rent an entire property for the summer Groups

(+) Often least expensive

(-) Access to the property's facilities and kitchen

(-) Requires lots of up-front work to identify roommates

Resources for Finding Housing and Roommates

  • Internship Provider: A very few organizations provide housing. In such instances,this option is noted as part of the internship description.
  • Pace Center Summer Internships Slack Workspace: A great first place to look for roommates in your city! Also great for facilitating meet-ups and socials during your internship experience.
  • Facebook groups: In cities that are popular for summer interns, like Washington and New York, students often maintain large Facebook groups where fellow undergraduate student interns can look for people to rent from and/or live with while they’re in the city. Just search “[city] + summer housing.”
  • Other third-party sites (Airbnb, Apartments.com, etc.): Generally best for groups. 

Beware of Scams!

Particularly on social media and third-party rental websites.

  • Don’t room with or rent from anybody who won’t FaceTime you to show you the property, whose social media profile looks new or illegitimate, etc. 
  • Do not provide any personal information to a potential roommate/landlord until you are confident they are legitimate.
  • Keep in mind what the market rate is for rent for that type of housing in that neighborhood. If the bargain looks too good to be true, it’s probably a scam.
  • Check with people you trust if you’re not sure if something is a scam.

Transportation

Considerations for Flights

  • Bags: If you are flying to and from your internship site, you will likely need a carry-on bag and at least one checked bag. Pay attention to how this will change which airline/fare option is most affordable for you. Some airlines include 1-2 free checked bags with your tickets, and others will charge additional fees even for carry-on bags.
  • Transit to/from the airport: Do you have a ride or will you be taking the bus/train from Princeton? How are you getting to your internship site after you land? 
    • To/from Princeton: EWR is accessible via NJTransit. Less accessible are JFK (via NJTransit -> LIRR -> subway) and PHL (via NJTransit -> Amtrak/SEPTA -> SEPTA Regional Rail). It’s very difficult to get to LGA without a car, but you could split Ubers/Lyfts with other students.
  • Flight times: Make sure the mode of transit you need to reach the airport is actually running at the time of your flight (check schedules). Leave room for cancellations and delays. To be safe, arrive at the airport at least an hour before your flight (2-3 hours before international flights). Try to leave yourself >90 minutes between layovers, especially if you are flying an airline which is frequently delayed.
  • Round Trip vs. Multi-city: Although round-trip flights are normally your least expensive option, you may be able to save money by booking separate tickets to and from your internship if…
    • Your destination has multiple airports. When flying to big cities with several nearby airports, like Los Angeles (or from one, like New York City), two one-way fares between different airports each time might be just as convenient but less expensive. Beware any added transit costs this may add.
    • You’re traveling somewhere before or after your internship. Maybe you want to book a one-way flight home before flying off to your internship and then fly straight from your internship city back to Princeton at the end of the summer.

Resources for Buying Tickets

  • Airline website: You can buy from the airline directly.
    • If you use a third-party site, verify with the airline that your ticket actually includes the bags, seat option, cancellation policy, etc. that you expected. 
  • Budget travel website (Google Flights, Expedia, etc.): Search departures and arrivals by region/city, specific airport, baggage allowance, prices, and times. Common additional features: Price-tracking notifications via email, price comparison visualization tools, multiple booking options (airline & third party).
    • Caveat 1: These tools may not give you all the information (for example, Southwest prices don’t show on Google Flights).
    • Caveat 2: I’m not sure if this is true, but I’ve heard that sometimes these sites track your activity and raise your fares if they catch you searching the same thing frequently, so browse incognito just in case! 
  • General money tips…
    • Frequent flier miles: Free money, if you’ll be traveling a lot during your time at Princeton/beyond. Rewards programs may influence what airline is best for you to fly now. United, Delta, and American generally have the most robust rewards programs and international destination options. 
    • If  using a credit card, consider buying with a cash-back credit card: Free money. Points accrue from your ticket purchase, but only consider this benefit if you can pay the bill off in full, otherwise you will accrue interest charges. 

Transportation In Your Area 

Familiarize yourself with subway and/or bus maps. Pay attention to when public transit operates, as many cities do not have 24-hour rail and/or bus service. 


Professional Communications and Interaction Tips

Adapted from John S. Weeren, Program Director, Princeton Writes

Professional Communication

  • State your purpose at the outset rather than building up to it.
  • Treat all communication as relational rather than transactional, building goodwill and, potentially long-term partnerships.
  • Practice the “Three Cs”:  Clarity, concision, and courtesy. For emails, aim to convey your point in 6 sentences or fewer.
  • Err on the side of formality until others’ expectations are clear. 
  • Take advantage of opportunities to share your knowledge and skills, while exercising discretion and deference.
  • Adopt a positive tone, even in the face of rejection or criticism.
  • Re-read everything you write. If necessary, sleep on it before sending.

Professional Interaction

  • Be sensitive to the differences between workplace and classroom environments. Often in the nonprofit sector, the good of others – not personal development –  is of primary importance.
  • Embrace a team-based culture, avoiding an insular mindset.
  • Adapt to constantly changing conditions, however frustrating, and take the absence of explanation – and even criticism for doing what you were told to do – in stride.
  • Be prepared to surrender formal ownership of your work product.
  • Respect the boundary between professional and personal life, but take an empathetic interest in your colleagues when an opening presents itself.
  • Volunteer to do more than the work assigned to you when time allows; such help is frequently repaid when needed most.
  • Make every effort to understand and fulfill your supervisor’s expectations, while also “managing up” through respectful suggestions. Developing a cordial relationship grounded in mutual esteem will contribute significantly to your success.

Alumni Mentorship

Since the inception of PICS in 1996, alumni have played an integral role in the success of this program. PICS was created by the Princeton University Class of 1969 Community Service Fund. Currently an internship program within the University’s Pace Center for Civic Engagement, PICS offers a unique benefit of matching alumni mentors with student interns in order to provide support and professional resources during the internship. Our alumni mentors are seasoned and well-connected professionals, who care deeply about making the world a better place. They are convinced that connecting with you this summer is a great way to achieve this goal. We strongly encourage you to make the most of your mentor match, and hope it leads to a long-term relationship between fellow Tigers.

PICS requires that you reach out to your alumni mentor and attempt to connect (either virtually or in person) at least 3 times over the course of the summer. We’re also organizing several optional opportunities for you to connect with other Princeton alumni who share your interests; participation in these opportunities is encouraged, but not required.

Tips for making the most of your alumni mentor match:

  • Before you start your internship, call or email your mentor and set up a time to have virtual coffee. Provide dates and times you are available.
  • As a younger person seeking advice and support, it’s polite for you to initiate contact rather than wait to be contacted.
  • Find your mentor on TigerNet and/or via their LinkedIn profile. Become familiar with their interests and work.
  • Ask your mentor about their career path. 
  • Email your mentor once a week to check in and let them know how your summer is going.
  • Be immediately responsive when your mentor contacts you, and make yourself available when your mentor invites you to something.
  • Listen carefully to the stories your mentor tells. Ask questions. Make an effort to get past the surface and build a real connection.
  • Share your career goals with your alumni mentor and ask for them to connect you to people whom they know in the field.
  • Take initiative, be proactive, and ask for what you need/want.
  • Remember, whether or not your mentor shares your career interests is not the only perk of this match! The important thing is that you both share the Princeton experience as a common background. The Princeton network is vast, and the chances are strong that your alumni mentor’s connections could provide access that might not be otherwise available to you.

Dress Code Guidelines

One of the most frequently asked questions after an intern has accepted an offer is, “What is the Dress Code for work?” In general, business clothing should be appropriate for an office environment; it allows the intern to feel comfortable at work, yet always looks neat, clean, and professional. You should not need to break the bank to dress for work.  

Even for virtual internships, adhering to a professional dress code is important. Businesses, governments, and nonprofits need to present a professional image to the public. At the start of a new position, it is better to err on the side of being too formal, rather than too informal.  Based on the type of work you will be doing, your internship may require a specific uniform and/or other dress guidelines because of sanitation/health reasons, or to serve as appropriate identification for clients/patients, other staff, and the public. 

Managers and supervisors are responsible for interpreting and enforcing the dress and grooming code, so it is reasonable to ask your supervisor for specific guidelines in advance. Reasonable accommodations will often be made for employees’ religious beliefs as related to attire whenever possible. If this is an issue, please discuss your needs with your supervisor in advance of your start date.

Examples of appropriate/inappropriate work attire:

Appropriate

  • Dockers-type khaki pants
  • Skirts that are knee-length or longer
  • Dresses that are knee-length or longer
  • Pants
  • Cloth shirts
  • Polo shirts or other collared shirts
  • Sweaters/cardigans
  • Boating/deck shoes/loafers

Inappropriate

  • Halter/tank/tube tops/revealing midriffs
  • Sloppy tee shirts
  • Oversized sweaters, sweatshirts
  • Sweatpants/jogging suits/warm-ups
  • Leggings or jeans of any color
  • Sandals, thongs, flip-flops or tennis shoes
  • Hats (except for religious reasons)
  • Excessive jewelry

The above list is not meant to be all-inclusive. Pay attention to what others in your workplace are wearing; act accordingly and use good judgment to dress neatly, professionally, and appropriately.


Harassment and Discrimination in the Workplace

The most productive and satisfying work environment is one in which work is accomplished in a spirit of mutual trust and respect. We've carefully vetted the organizations that host PICS interns and have every reason to believe that you will have a safe and respectful summer, perhaps even learning many best practices about how to behave with professionalism and kindness. However, we want to make sure you are prepared in the event you experience harassment or discrimination.

Harassment is a form of discrimination that is offensive, impairs morale, undermines the integrity of employment relationships and causes serious harm to the productivity, efficiency and stability in the workplace. All employees, including interns, have a right to work in an environment free from discrimination and harassing conduct. In general, harassment means persistent and unwelcome conduct or actions toward another person. Sexual harassment is one type of harassment and includes unwelcome sexual advances, unwelcome physical contact of a sexual nature or unwelcome verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature.

As a PICS intern, you are both expected to adhere to and are covered by the harassment and misconduct policies in place at your assigned PICS organization. You are also required to abide by all University Rights, Rules, and Responsibilities in your workplace this summer. For specific information regarding University standards for harassment, please consult the Princeton University:  Rights, Rules, and Responsibilities handbook section 1.2, especially sections 1.2.2 and 1.3.

If you are not presented with your organization’s policy on harassment in the first few days of employment, you should ask to review it. If you are told that you cannot view the policy, please notify a member of the PICS staff immediately.

If you believe you are being harassed in your workplace, you should follow the guidelines for reporting harassment according to your organization’s harassment policies. Please also notify a member of the PICS staff so that we are aware of your situation and are prepared to assist you as best we can.. We are here to support you!

If you are seeking additional support:

Counseling and Psychological Services (CPS), including Counselor on Call: +1 (609) 258-3141

SHARE: +1 (609) 258-3310

SHARE Support Resources


Wrapping Up Your Internship

As your internship comes to a close, you’ll want to meet with your supervisor to review and reflect on your summer experience. Approximately two weeks prior to your internship end date, reach out to your supervisor to request a formal exit interview. Your conversation should include a review of the goals you had set for yourself in the beginning of the internship and an assessment of the overall internship experience. The aim is to have a constructive conversation about your strengths and how you might apply them to opportunities for future internships. In addition, don’t hesitate to ask your supervisor for a letter of recommendation that you can keep on file. It’s preferable to ask for this while you are concluding your internship and the experience is still fresh in your supervisor’s mind. Finally and most importantly, be sure to thank your supervisor for this opportunity. You can conclude your exit interview with gratitude and be sure to follow up with a formal note to your supervisor once your internship has officially ended.


Tax Information

US Citizens or Resident Individuals

You have received a payment that is taxable as a non-qualified scholarship/fellowship and should be reported as income on your personal tax return, to the extent the payment was not used to pay tuition at a qualified educational institution or for books, fees, or equipment required for a class at a qualified educational institution. It is the responsibility of the student to maintain documents supporting such use of the funds.

You will not receive any further statement from the University or PICS regarding the taxation of your stipend.  Please note that any unused returned portion of the payment is not taxable.

According to IRS Publication 970 (available at Publication 970 (2020), Tax Benefits for Education | Internal Revenue Service (irs.gov)) non-qualified scholarships and fellowships should be included on Line 1 of Form 1040. Please refer to the Publication or your tax adviser for additional information.

Non-Resident Individuals

You have received a payment that may be taxable as a non-qualified scholarship. A non-qualified scholarship is a payment used to further a student’s education and studies, which is not required for tuition, books, supplies or equipment necessary for the course of instruction at an eligible educational institution.

U.S. tax law requires the University to withhold income tax on payments received in the United States.   All Non-Resident individuals at Princeton University are required to enter their visa information in the Glacier system within 10 days of arriving on campus. The signed Glacier forms must be provided to Global Financial Services (GFS) electronically, at least one month prior to the date of payment so that the correct tax withholding can be applied; failure to do so may result in the maximum rate of tax withholding. Typically, the tax rate for non-qualified scholarship is 14%.

Glacier will determine your tax status. Please ensure that your Glacier account is up to date and submit the necessary forms (if applicable) generated by Glacier and send to the Global Financial Services Team (GFS) electronically.

Any payments and tax withholdings you receive in the current calendar year are reportable on Form 1042-S, which you will receive by March 15th in the next calendar year. You will use the tax form received to complete your Non-Resident tax return, Form 1040NR, which is available through GLACIER Tax Prep or on the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) website (About Form 1040-NR, U.S. Nonresident Alien Income Tax Return | Internal Revenue Service (irs.gov)

For questions related to your tax forms, tax treaties and Glacier account, please contact Global Financial Services at globalfin@princeton.edu

Please note that Princeton University and PICS does not advise individuals on how to file their return. For tax advice and assistance with preparation of your tax return, please contact a tax advisor. A list of tax advisors can be found on our website. Taxes for Foreign Students, Faculty, Staff, and Guests | Finance and Treasury (princeton.edu)

For additional resources, please refer to:


Optional Guides and Resources

Contact

Emily Sharples
Class of 1969 Princeton Internships in Civic Service (PICS) Program Director
Rosemarie Holton
Princeton Internships in Civic Service Program Coordinator