Elis enjoy new intern options

Houston, Texas, and the Twin Cities, Minn., will be home to the newest Bulldogs Across America internship programs next summer, Undergraduate Career Services announced Tuesday.

Yale alumni in Houston and Minneapolis-St. Paul have agreed to find positions for Yale undergraduates, who will be paid a minimum of $3,000 for their work during the 10-week period.

Although UCS director Philip Jones said internships to be available through the “Bulldogs on the Bayou” and “Bulldogs on the Lakes” programs have not yet been finalized, the offerings will most likely be similar to positions that have been offered through past Bulldogs programs.

Bulldogs program founder Rowan Claypool ’80 and UCS administrators have been in talks with several U.S. cities about starting internship programs to match those in Louisville, Denver, Cleveland and San Francisco, Jones said. When alumni in Houston and Minneapolis-St. Paul agreed last week to participate, they predicted they would offer between six and 12 positions in each city.

Jones said UCS is committed to providing Yale students with as many opportunities to gain professional experience during the summer as possible.

“There’s a lot of attention being given to the international market, but from the point of view of internships specifically, there will always be vastly more students pursuing domestic internships,” he said. “So while we’re very interested in creating these international ones, we’re conscious of the fact that we need more and more structured opportunities in this country.”

Before the internships can be finalized, Jones said, the alumni will have to pursue suggestions and ideas for positions and obtain confirmation on each.

Other domestic Bulldogs programs have made positions available in a variety of areas, including public policy, education, finance and software technology.

In the Twin Cities, students will live together in program-sponsored housing near the University of Minnesota campus. In Houston, students will need to arrange for their own housing but will have assistance from local alumni.

Both locales will offer opportunities to attend alumni events, receive mentoring from Yale graduates and others in the community and take advantage of cultural and outdoor activities in the area.

All interns in the new programs will be paid, Jones said, but most non-profit organizations will receive subsidies from the local alumni chapter in order to provide the minimum salaries while other companies will foot the bill themselves.

Students who have participated in Bulldogs Across America programs in the past said they gained useful professional experience while meeting many new people.

Nate Becker ’09, who interned on the trading floor of the energy company E.ON U.S. through Louisville’s “Bulldogs in the Bluegrass” last summer, said even though he was initially given mundane tasks such as creating spreadsheets and daily reports, the company was happy to assign him challenging work when he asked for it. He ended up writing computer programs and being exposed to many aspects of security trading, even though he was a freshman, he said.

Becker said he enjoyed the social network that formed among the interns, making the experience “two-thirds internship and one-third summer camp.” The interns also got to know the Louisville area through activities like camping and canoeing.

Although he initially had some reservations about spending the summer in Kentucky, the time spent there helped dispel some of his misconceptions, Becker said.

“It was an opportunity to explore a place where I really hadn’t been in that environment before,” Becker said. “It was kind of southern, but it’s not like people run around in tractors and overalls.”

Matt Gabbard ’07, who worked for the Humana Foundation in Louisville, said his assignments — which included the editing and preparation of a book for publishing — were challenging and largely independent. One of the highlights of his summer was the opportunity to meet with local alumni, he said, including the founder of Humana Inc., a Fortune 500 company. Gabbard also said he appreciated Yale’s help in finding a high-quality paid position.

“One of the big advantages to the domestic programs is that in general, they’re more affordable,” he said. “If you’ve applied your summer funding in past years for international programs — which tend to be pretty expensive — through the domestic programs not only do you get paid for your job, but you also get the free housing on top of it.”

Students said they think taking an internship in an unconventional location would give them a more unique cultural experience than working in traditional destinations such as New York or Washington, D.C.

Adam Metzger ’08 said he does not know much about either Houston or the Twin Cities, and living and working there for the summer could be a novel experience for many Yalies.

“It’s a good idea for Yale to encourage people to explore different parts of the country where they normally wouldn’t go,” he said.

Jones said UCS is aiming to offer 130 internships this summer in the six American Bulldogs programs and Yale in Hollywood.

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