On the Job

20 November 2018
Minda Liu ’18
Minda Liu ’18

Many students can’t afford to take unpaid internships. Carleton funding helps bridge the opportunity gap.

Minda Liu ’18 was looking for something different. As a pre-med biology major, she’d volunteered in hospitals and spent a summer doing cancer research. Next she wanted to explore public health careers through an internship before her senior year—but there was one problem. The internships Liu found were unpaid.

“My parents were already helping pay my tuition,” Liu says, “so I felt that over the summer I should generate income to help with that.”

Enter Project 60. Created as part of the Class of 1960’s 50th Reunion gift, Project 60 offers students a stipend so they can afford unpaid internships.

“This funding widened the opportunities available to me,” Liu says. She settled on an internship with St. Paul-based Face to Face, a nonprofit that provides medical services to homeless youth in the Twin Cities. She worked at Safe Zone, the organization’s drop-in center, and with the new Youth Advisory Council, comprised of homeless youth who advise Face to Face on its services and strategy.

“These people taught me to reexamine a lot of things I thought I knew,” says Liu. “They opened up to me because I was their peer, so they’d say things to me they wouldn’t to older staff members.” That helped Liu ask questions or suggest improvements to other staff members. “It was a niche in the organization that I could step into, and I felt like I made a difference,” she says.

Liu is one of 125 students who received internship funding from Carleton’s Career Center in 2017. Dozens more found internships and research opportunities with Carleton alumni or through Career Center resources.

“It’s really important for Carleton students to have these real-world experiences,” says Liu, “and I’m glad the funding made it possible for me.”