A Wheaton education offers excellent preparation for a successful career and purposeful life. We help students connect academic study to the world of work. Internships offer a bridge. Volunteering at a public health clinic, interning with a business consultant, staffing a constituent services operation on Capitol Hill, serving as a student teacher, working as a research assistant. We call it experiential education. We made it an important part of a Wheaton education. Our students call it powerful.
Students know that internship experiences are a good idea. The problem is that while participating in an internship pays off down the road, it doesn’t always pay a salary. In fact, some opportunities that require living far from home and campus actually can be costly. Which means that these valuable learning experiences are beyond the reach of some students, who must work during the summer to help fund their education.
Wheaton has a solution: expanding our career community. Already, generous alumnae/i, parents and friends have established endowed funds that cover living expenses and replace what students would earn in a typical summer job. That support is crucial. It may cover airfare and living expenses to pursue an internship abroad, or in a city far from the student’s home. As important, the stipend may replace the summer earnings that are considered part of the student’s contribution to his or her education.
We need to be able to offer support to more of our students each year, so that we can ensure that Wheaton graduates students prepared to apply their learning in the real world.