Bergami Summer Stipend Awards Students With Unpaid Internships

Mr. Sam Bergami, developer of the internship program.

Courtesy of the University of New Haven

Mr. Sam Bergami, developer of the internship program.

Every year, the University of New Haven’s Career Development Center coordinates the Bergami Summer Internship Stipend Program, which gives stipends to students with unpaid internships. The stipend allows students to accept internships they may have not been able to without financial assistance.

A recent National Association of Colleges and Employers study found more students participate in unpaid internships than paid. According to Katie George, operations and events manager of the Career Development Center, the Bergami stipend is intended to assist students who “forfeit their summer jobs” so they could work internships.

George says the internship program “has helped previous recipients with various expenses like travel, food, clothing, housing, etc.”

According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, graduates who participate in internships are more likely to secure employment within six months of graduating from college. They also are more likely to get accepted into graduate school. It is also projected that hiring rates will increase by 16.6 percent for college students graduating this year.

“During the program, the students provide reflections about their internships, which are highlighted in university publications,” said George.

Another highlight of the program is that students are recognized once they return to campus and participate in a  “luncheon with Mr. and Mrs. Bergami along with other donors, deans, professors, and advisors,” according to George. Mr. Bergami has not only developed this internship program, but has also contributed to the university’s recreation center, finance department, and has even provided funding for the university’s new innovation center.

The Career Development Center receives about 50-70 applications per year. The process of narrowing down applications is very challenging for the committee. George says the committee narrows the applicants down to eight finalists.

This year’s application deadline was on Mar. 28, and George said that “applications look very promising this year.” Students who submit applications must also submit “their resume, the internship description if they have one, as well as their budget and personal statements for the program.”