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The Career Development Center saw a 21 percent increase in applications for the Brown Internship Award Program this year and gave out nine more awards.

Fifty-nine students were chosen out of 284 applicants for the $2,500 award, which helps to defray the costs of working during the summer as an unpaid intern. Last year, 234 students applied and 50 received awards.

Roger Nozaki MAT '89, associate dean of the College and director of the Swearer Center, said he attributes the rise in popularity of unpaid internships to students recognizing the benefits of these internships, and not to the economic climate.

"These are opportunities that students value," he said. "And this increasing interest started long before the economy turned."

To apply for a BIAP grant, students had to write an essay about how the internship would serve as a stepping stone for their future goals and include a letter from their potential supervisor stating that they were being strongly considered for the internship or had already been hired.

Winners of this year's awards will work in a variety of fields, including law and education.
Sarah Schuster '11 said she plans to utilize her passion for music during her internship with a nonprofit music school in Harlem, N.Y. This summer, she said, she wants to form a liaison among this school and other performing arts schools in Harlem that are struggling to stay afloat. Though she does not want to pursue a career in music, she said she hopes her experience will give her background as a future attorney.

"I wanted to see how I felt about working in a nonprofit organization, and I hope to understand the legal implications in the community," Schuster said.

The CDC developed the BIAP program in the late 1990s because of the rising trend of unpaid internships, according to its Web site. The program separately waives the summer earnings requirement for some students who receive financial aid.

According to an April 2 New York Times article, the number of unpaid internships, and students participating in them, is increasing across the country. In a 2008 study, the National Association of Colleges and Employers discovered that 50 percent of college graduates had held internships, compared to 17 percent in 1992. According to the article, New York state officials are concerned that employers are using college students as free labor and have staged investigations into their internship programs.

Guidelines for unpaid internships released in April by the U.S. Department of Labor require, among other considerations, that the intern must not take the place of regular employees and that the internship should be more for the benefit of the intern than the employer.

Nozaki said CDC staff members are reviewing the new criteria "to see what the implications are for our students."

Despite the benefits of unpaid internships, not all parents are thrilled at the prospect of a summer spent working without an income.

"My parents were not happy that I might work the summer unpaid," said Kathy Do '12, another winner of a BIAP grant, who is interning at the Commission for Human Rights in Rhode Island. "But the most worthwhile law internships go to law students, and I knew from the description that I could grow and learn a lot, even though it's unpaid."




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