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Summer Jobs, Internships, and Research in the Humanities

by Sara Kowalski, Class of 2017, Humanities Fellow

How can you make the most out of your summer? Will you stay in Rochester or return home? Options range from research positions, internships, volunteering at a nonprofit, starting your own company, getting a temporary job, and beyond!


Two students speak with a potential employer

Many application deadlines crop up around March, so it is best to start searching well beforehand. Making an appointment at the The Gwen M. Greene Center for Career Education and Connections on campus is a great way to get started, You may also want to check out listings on websites like Indeed and Monster.

You might also learn about positions—particularly research positions—through your department’s mailing list. You can join the mailing list before declaring your major if you reach out to your department’s administrator and/or undergraduate adviser. On that note, just talking to faculty is a great way to start! They might introduce you to a colleague at this University or another, or invite you to apply to help them with their own research over the summer!

Be aware of any internships affiliated with your department. Most department pages have an internships section under the undergraduate menu. For example, the art and art history department features local internships with the Memorial Art Gallery and distant internships such as Art New York and the European Arts Internship Program.

Another option is to see what businesses and institutions exist around the city or where you live. Even if they are not currently posting any openings, it may well be worth the effort of reaching out with your resume and a friendly and professional email!


Student being fitted for her work uniform

Applying for various jobs and internships can get complicated quickly. Different positions and institutions will require different application materials. Resumes and cover letters are common staples, but sometimes personal statements, letters of recommendation, transcripts, and samples of your writing may also be required. It may be helpful to keep track of these materials, as well as different deadlines, with an Excel or Google Sheets document!


graphics depicting funding

Most internships are unpaid, and this goes double for humanities-related internships because they are often for non-profit organizations that do not have the extra funds. However, you can still make ends meet by applying for funding from the University.

Get more information on summer internship funding.

Get more information on summer research funding.

Certain departments offer their own scholarships to support summer internships as well! For example, the English department’s Tanenbaum Scholarship!

Real student stories

Here are humanities-related internship and entrepreneurial experiences of three students from very different academic backgrounds!


Ashley Bardhan

Ashley is a sophomore studying psycholinguistics, American Sign Language, and English. She is particularly interested in music journalism and scientific journalism and someday hopes to bring these together. To work toward this goal, Ashley is developing her skills as a writer, illustrator, and editor for the Campus Times newspaper. But she knows she has to take advantage of her summers too. That is why she did an internship last summer with the popular NYC music blog Brooklyn Vegan—to get experience writing published articles and getting her name out there. At first, she began by contributing on staff posts, but as the summer went on, she was able to write her own posts and choose her own topics. For example, she wrote about the Panorama Music Festival.

Carolyn Zelicof

Carolyn is a junior majoring in digital media studies on the humanities track. She is fascinated by the challenges of ever-improving the user experience when it comes to digital technology. Recently, Carolyn went on an Industry Road Trip to California organized by the career center, where she met an alum currently working for Apple whose interest in user experience really clicked with her own. Carolyn will now be a user experience intern for Apple this summer! She is excited to work for Apple because it is at the forefront of user experience. Carolyn applied and had her first interview with Apple at the annual Grace Hopper Celebration last fall.

Sophia Rosman

Sophia is a junior double-majoring in philosophy and art history with a minor in business. But her business experience extends far beyond the classroom! She has been building her company Face Painting by Sophia since before she could even drive, but once she could drive, that’s when it really took off. Mobility allowed her to meet more clients as well as attend conferences in DC, Florida, and beyond! Her face- and body-painting business has allowed her to travel around the country and develop a strong network of partners and clients. Nowadays she has more work offers than she can possibly do on her own, so she arranges contracts between these clients and other artists. Looking to the future, Sophia intends to apply to the e5 Program (formerly the KEY Program), Rochester’s entrepreneurial fifth year program, to investigate the integration of the arts and social good.

Thanks for reading and I hope you feel inspired and excited about all the ways you’ll spend your own summers in college. You can learn even more about internships from the College Center for Advising Services and from Arts, Sciences and Engineering! And to learn more about how Rochester fosters entrepreneurship, check out the Ain Center for Entrepreneurship!

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