Almost 100 Yale students will participate in Bulldogs Across America internships this summer, a slight increase from last year, a program administrator said Wednesday.
Due to the addition of Minneapolis-St. Paul to the four previously-existing locations and the expansion of the Denver program, there will be between 91 and 95 total interns this summer, up from 80 last year, program founder Rowan Claypool ’80 said. The five programs offered through Undergraduate Career Services — in Cleveland, Denver, Minneapolis, San Francisco and Louisville, Ky. — received a total of about 600 applications from 400 applicants, he said. The overall number of applications was similar to last year, he said, with the exception of the Denver program, for which applications rose by 50 percent.
As some positions remain open, these numbers are still being finalized, Claypool said.
The Denver Bulldogs in the Rockies program received the most applications, he said, with a total of 175 applications for 15 positions. The other four programs had between 100 and 125 applications each.
Although UCS had earlier intended to offer Houston as a sixth location for interns this year, the task of organizing the local alumni and building the program infrastructure proved to be too much to accomplish by this summer, Claypool said. The program will most likely be available next summer, he said.
In another change this year, the Denver program will also host up to six Middlebury College students in a framework similar to that of the Cleveland program, which houses Yale students alongside interns from Smith College and Case Western, Colgate, Cornell and Princeton universities.
Claypool, who started the Bulldogs across America program seven years ago in Louisville, said there are rewards both for students who participate in the Bulldogs programs and for the alumni who support them.
“It’s a multitude of things at once: meaningful work, getting experience with how a community works behind the curtains, being put in a different part of the country so you really know your own country, great experiences with other interns and great connections with alumni,” he said. “It’s really special for alums to give to our undergrads and impact a current Yale career.”
Most of the domestic Bulldogs internships are paid, and students also receive free housing. The money and organization for these opportunities comes from the local alumni in each city who set up the jobs, arrange for housing and put together a schedule of fun local events for the interns throughout the summer. Claypool said one of the important aspects of the program is the unique bond that it creates between current and former Yalies.
“Here you have people giving from their hearts and from their wallets and extending themselves personally,” he said. “I hope the people, when they finish the summer, say that this is what it means to be an alum, and this is what it means to give back.”
Students who are participating in domestic Bulldogs internships this summer said they are looking forward to spending time with fellow Yalies and taking advantage of the local attractions in these cities, which they agree are off the usual beaten track for summer employment.
Nathan Mejias ’10 will be working at the nonprofit National Safe Place in Louisville as a marketing and program intern. The organization sets up safe locations for runaway children to use as shelters so they will not end up on the street, he said. As an intern, he will help to publicize the organization in the community. Mejias said he is looking forward to spending time with Yale students in a location that he would not normally have visited.
But Ilya Byzov ’09, who will intern at the Lincoln Electric Company with Bulldogs on the Cuyahoga this summer, said he wishes the Bulldogs programs were offered in cities with more established job markets.
“I would like to live in a larger city with a lot more opportunities available to me, rather than a smaller city that is trying to recruit me to live there,” he said. “I think that perhaps if the Bulldog program expands, it should expand to include the best job opportunities for students, not just different cities that students wouldn’t normally see.”
Students who participated in Bulldogs internships in the past said their experiences were good and even enhanced by the unusual locations.
Josh Sweren ’08, who participated in Bulldogs on the Cuyahoga two summers ago, said he formed lasting connections with many of the people he met in the dormitory and the various weekend activities with alumni. His alumni mentor, who is president of the local Yale Club, will be a good connection to have in the future, he said. Also, the more unorthodox Cleveland location helped him to land an internship at the middle market investment company KeyBank, giving him valuable experience in syndicated finance.
“What was great about it was that I was only a freshman,” Sweren said. “It gave me great experience with finance in a good bank as a freshman, which is impossible at all the banks in the northeast unless you have connections.”
Bulldogs across America internships are offered in a variety of fields, including public policy, education, finance and software technology.