try out mini-careers with CAPS
weeks at a high-powered firm or a nonprofit helps students decide
for the College's determined young minds, Career and Placement
Services (CAPS) helps students test the waters of their futures
through its five-year-old internship program.
are available in both not-for-profit and for-profit organizations-from
the Joffrey Ballet in Chicago to Deutsche Bank in London to
the Association for Civil Rights in Israel. This year these
organizations reserved 200 internships exclusively for U of
C students-which CAPS hopes to increase to 300 by 2003. Most
internships take place during the summer except for year-long
internships at the Chicago mayor's office.
program boasts a variety of categories, including artistic and
cultural opportunities with Steppenwolf Theatre and the Frank
Lloyd Wright Home & Studio; research internships at the
Field Museum of Natural History and the Smithsonian Institute;
and internships through the University Community Service Center
and the Human Rights Program.
A. Peal, a fourth-year English major, has interned twice at
not-for-profit educational organizations through CAPS. In summer
1999 she worked with the Chicago Scholars Foundation, an organization
that awards one student from every Chicago high school a $1,000
college scholarship. She spent the following summer with College
Summit, a Washington, DC-based organization that advises youths
from low-income families on their college applications.
an internship such as Peal's, says Hilary A. Caldwell, associate
director of CAPS, "is a real learning experience for the
students because many of them haven't navigated the process
of interviewing. It's structured similarly to looking for a
full-time job, but with a lot more support."
must submit a résumé, a 500-word essay stating
their interest in a particular internship, a transcript, and
a faculty recommendation. CAPS acts as intermediary, forwarding
the cream of the crop to prospective employers for a final interview.
companies fund their own interns while the College and alumni
donations support interns at not-for-profit institutions.
Helfand, of Sibson & Company, a consulting firm that partners
with CAPS, seeks interns with "problem-solving skills,
quantitative skills, the ability to deal with ambiguity, and
verbal and written communication skills." U of C students
appeal to employers like Sibson & Company because, says
Caldwell, they "have excellent analytical skills, are superb
writers, fearless problem solvers, and unusually good at managing
the internships turn into full-time jobs. "Those U of C
students who interned with us and then joined us [at Sibson
& Company] as employees hit the ground running," says
every case, interns are matched up with a mentor who guides
them through assignments and projects, big and small. Joshua
R. Keith, a fourth-year economics and philosophy major who interned
at the Chicago Goldman Sachs office as a summer 2000 financial
analyst, felt this aspect was especially helpful. "Daily
contact with clients and colleagues in the office, communicating
clearly, and possessing the ability to work in a team became
critical in providing the best service," he says. "These
skills have served me well in the tasks I have been assigned
in my classes-projects that require the student to coalesce
a variety of unique and insightful opinions into a clear and
Peal, her experiences at the not-for-profit organizations transcended
such mundane internship tasks as photocopying and stuffing envelopes.
I cannot possibly list all of the meaningful work I did at the
Chicago Scholars Foundation and College Summit," she says.
"I didn't just gain a sense of how such nonprofits work
in a larger system of education. At every workshop I coordinated-from
Colorado to Chicago to Washington, DC-I met people who cared
about education as much as I do, who knew more about it and
truly wanted to help their students achieve something big."
underprivileged high-school student who recognized his or her
potential made Peal's experience all the more rich. During the
workshops, she says, "The students opened their hearts
to the staff and voiced dreams that they were afraid they could
not achieve. I was inspired by everyone who came together at
these summits to make this happen."-B.C.