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$25M Foundation Grant Promotes Internships Among Humanities Majors

Mellon Foundation has awarded a total $25 million in grant funding to five public colleges and universities to establish paid internship programs for humanities majors.

The foundation announced that California State University, Fresno (Fresno State); the City College of New York (CCNY); Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia (ODU); the University of Missouri - Kansas City; and the University of North Carolina (UNC) Greensboro will receive $5 million each to promote the study of the humanities and enhance awareness of the employability of humanities majors. To those ends, the humanities internship grants aim to make internship participation more widely available for humanities majors.

Phillip Brian HarperPhillip Brian Harper“While it is obvious from the data that humanities majors regularly graduate into jobs that they find both emotionally and financially rewarding, that message has not reached students or their families,” said Phillip Brian Harper, program director for higher learning at Mellon Foundation. “The internships funded through these grants will make it clear that humanities study leads not just to jobs, but to exciting career paths in a wide range of sectors.”

Fresno State’s College of Arts and Humanities plans to design, implement, and scale an internship program for its humanities students that allows them to put theories learned during coursework into practice. By creating new internship courses, Fresno State will embed career preparation into the curriculum and transform student perspectives around the study of the humanities.

CCNY will establish a comprehensive humanities internship program that will enhance humanities students’ access to internship opportunities in the nonprofit and public sectors. CCNY will develop an online database tracking internship and job placements of humanities majors and offer new courses that would provide academic credit for supervised internships. At least 250 internships will be funded by the grant over five years.

ODU will provide internship placements and related programming for 750 humanities students over five years. The university will implement freshman learning communities that incorporate internship preparation, scale internship opportunities for humanities students, integrate work-based learning into the curriculum, and develop an undergraduate humanities internship studio that will facilitate placement.

The University of Missouri - Kansas City plans to launch the Mellon Humanities Internship program and institutionalize humanities students’ access to work experiences. Over five years, the program will support paid internship placements for 180 students at local organizations, workshops in career development, and travel for students to distant internship sites.

UNC Greensboro’s “Humanities at Work” internship program will enhance the undergraduate humanities experience, better prepare humanities students for life after graduation, and address the need for a workforce pipeline of well-prepared talent by building year-long, curriculum-integrated, and cohort-based internship placements for 650 students at 130 regional nonprofit organizations over five years.

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