Nearly 200 students used Yale’s new Domestic Summer Award to undertake unpaid internships with nonprofit organizations, nongovernmental organizations and government agencies, as well as art apprenticeships, this past summer.

Yale created the award last November to provide students on financial aid with $4,000 toward one eligible summer experience in the United States. It complements the International Summer Award, which pays for one internship or study program abroad for students on financial aid. Eighty-four of the recipients of the domestic award were juniors, followed by 67 sophomores and 39 first years.

“We didn’t really know what to expect,” said Jeanine Dames, director of the Office of Career Strategy. “[The number of applications] was higher than we expected during the first year, and all the offices involved did a great job getting information out. I think the number is likely going to increase as people become more aware of [the award].”

Award recipients worked within 33 U.S. states or tribal nations and with 174 unique organizations and artists. Of the participating students, 113 interned with a nonprofit organization or a nongovernment organization, 28 in education-related fields, 26 in government and 23 in arts apprenticeships.

Dames said she was particularly excited about the number of students who spent the summer working with an artist.

“With some of the fine art fields in particular, it is really nebulous to navigate that space,” she said. “How do you negotiate with a gallery, rent a studio in New York? [Allowing students to work] with a professional who will teach you about those things is something we always wanted to do with the DSA.”

Students interviewed by the News who used the Domestic Summer Award said the process of receiving the award went smoothly and that without the funding, it would have been more difficult for them to accept the internships they ended up undertaking.

Carrie Heilbrun ’19, an environmental studies major, interned at the Boston office of the Environmental Defense Fund, where she worked on convincing both private-sector investors and politicians to raise money for clean energy in Ohio, Florida and New Jersey. She also led a team of four staffers to help Walmart in its community solar development efforts.

“I appreciated the chance to assume a leadership role in a project that aligned with my expertise,” Heilbrun said. “I would not have been able to accept my summer internship position without the [DSA]. The guaranteed award eliminates frantic cross-application for other fellowships.”

Carlin Hagmaier ’19 interned at the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife on Sanibel Island in Florida. She was working with the staff — mainly veterinarians and wildlife rehabilitators — to help tend to the injured or orphaned wildlife that were brought in. She said the internship was “an amazing experience” and that she had “the best summer of [her] life,” adding that the Domestic Summer Award made accepting the internship an easy decision.

Colin Hill ’19 worked at the Education Development Center, a New York City-based education nonprofit, where he interned with a workgroup that develops and tests educational resources to teach students how to succeed in what they term a “data-intensive world.”

“As a Statistics and Data Science major and a member of the Education Studies program, I found my internship to be an incredibly rewarding way to combine my interests,” he said. “Without the financial support of the DSA and several other fellowships, I would have had to seek out a paid position elsewhere.”

Applications for the summer 2019 Domestic Summer Award and International Summer Award will become available on Nov. 1.

Anastasiia Posnova | anastasiia.posnova@yale.edu