Scholarship for Unpaid Public Sector Internships

The Scholarship for Unpaid Internships aims to reduce financial barriers and support students in pursuit of high-quality internships that will help them develop new skills, apply classroom learning in a real-world setting, and garner experience in the non-profit or government sector. Students selected for this scholarship will work with staff at the UW Career & Internship Center during Winter and Spring quarter to secure an unpaid, or underpaid, summer internship in the non-profit or government sector.

Funding for this program has been made available through the Gerald J. Baldasty and Randal A. Beam Career Internship Endowed Fund for Students, the UW Career & Internship Center, and generous donations from UW alumni, donors, and staff.

Applications for Summer 2025 will open in September 2024. Current scholars can set up coaching appointments via Handshake.

  • In the words of our scholarship recipients, here are some of the benefits of their internship experiences and the scholarship program.
    • “Working over the summer at Leading Women of Tomorrow enhanced my skills not only as a writer, but also as a researcher and public speaker.”
    • “I wanted to learn all aspects of how non-profits work and network with people associated with a successful one. As part of [my internship] I learned about policy making, fundraising, and marketing – many of the things I need to know to start my own non-profit.”
    • “I’ve always wanted to have an internship, but I think this [the scholarship program] made it manifest.”
    • “I wanted to find an internship to establish if social work is the right path for me… In just the first two weeks, my internship made me excited for my future.”
    • “Working with Synetic was very affirming that this field is right for me.”
    • “This internship caused me to wonder if I want to pursue a career in journalism… This internship has definitely changed my trajectory in terms of careers.”
    • “Looking for internships is hard for me, and you [the program staff] were great! You took your time in providing me virtual internship options which was a great help.”
    • “I certainly could not have afforded to devote the whole summer to this kind of project without the support of the scholarship.”

  • Students who meet the following criteria are eligible to apply for the scholarship:
    • Enrolled undergraduate student at UW-Seattle in good academic standing
    • Interested in completing an unpaid or low-paid internship experience in either a non-profit or governmental (local, state, or federal) organization in summer quarter. Low paid is defined as receiving less than $500 during the academic quarter from the employer or organization.
    • Work with the Career & Internship Center to find an eligible internship and then obtain confirmation of your internship participation by the site supervisor.
    • Applications are accepted from students of all citizenship statuses (international and undocumented students are eligible to apply).
    • Preference will be given to applicants who demonstrate financial need.
    • Plan to enroll at the UW in Autumn quarter 2024 following their internship.

  • Recipients of the scholarship are required to:
    • Meet with UW Career & Internship Center staff at least once prior to starting their internship to support their ability to find and maximize a summer opportunity.
    • Complete their internship experience as defined by a learning agreement created with their internship site supervisor. Minimum 10 hours per week (100 hours total).
    • Complete a program evaluation survey at the conclusion of their internship experience.
    • Conduct an exit interview with UW Career & Internship Center staff to provide feedback on their experience to help improve the program in subsequent years.

  • Selected scholars who successfully secure an eligible unpaid internship will receive $3,000 disbursed directly to their student account – half at the beginning of the experience and half after successful completion of all scholarship requirements. This funding counts towards the student’s financial aid eligibility and could impact your current financial aid package. If you have concerns regarding financial aid implications, please talk with the scholarship program staff and UW Financial Aid.

  • Applications for the next cycle will open in Autumn quarter 2024 (for an internship in Summer 2025).
    • Complete the application Google Form which includes:
      • Short response question about how an internship will contribute to your personal, academic, and/or career development
      • Short response question about how this scholarship funding would benefit you
      • Current resume
      • Unofficial UW transcript

  • Contact Eli Davis, Internship Program Manager, at

Past Scholarship Recipients

Name: Margarita Quintana-Salas
Major: Chemical Engineering
Internship Site: North Seattle College
Description: I interned at North Seattle College, working under Professor Kalyn Owens as a Teacher’s Assistant for her two Chemistry courses. I set regular office hours for students to drop by and I would answer their questions and go through homework and/or practice problems together. I also provided my email in case the office hours didn’t work with the student’s schedule. To better understand where confusion might arise from students and to be better prepared for future questions, I viewed their lectures, worked on their quizzes and homework.

Name: Shea Formanes
Major: English
Internship Site: Leading Women of Tomorrow
Description: During my summer internship at Leading Women of Tomorrow, I worked as a Digital Media and Contributing Writer for the organization’s blog, where I pitched, researched, wrote, edited, and published articles and blog posts. In addition, I was responsible for selecting keynote and diversity & inclusion (D&I) speakers for the first-ever LWT Chapter Summit. I actively researched, scheduled meetings, and negotiated availability, logistics for the event, and compensation with multiple politicians, lawmakers, and senators.

Name: Emily Smith
Major: Drama
Internship Site: Synetic Theatre
Description: While interning at Synetic I designed and implemented a new archival system, created a standardized strike plan that can be applied to every production and streamlined transitions between plays, and helped implement a CRM system that will be used to track employee progress and make sure the company is meeting its EDI goals. Overall, I learned how to be a good production manager in a crisis like COVID, as well as some of the fundamentals about how a theatre is run that are missing from my undergrad education with the school of drama.

Name: Briyanna Stewart
Major: Sociology
Internship Site: Northwest Film Forum
Description:  During my internship with the Northwest Film Forum, I worked independently creating artist profiles for POC filmmakers. I helped and shadowed editors, and I reviewed film submissions for the local sightings film festival.

Name: Fani Medel Martinez
Major: Social Welfare, Communication
Internship Site: The Borgen Project
Description: As a Nonprofit Leadership Intern, I raised funds, advertised, and mobilized community members to fight against global poverty. I was responsible for raising $500 and contacting my Congressional Leaders through emails, letters, and phone calls. In addition, I designed a marketing campaign to teach individuals how to contact Congress. At the end of my internship experience, I also got the opportunity to attend a Congressional Meeting with a staff member from Washington District 4th.

Name: Guadalupe Galvan
Major: American Ethnic Studies
Internship Site: King County Juvenile Court
Description: During my internship, I worked with a Probation Counselor at King County Juvenile Court where I was able to monitor a caseload of twelve adolescents. Although we couldn’t meet them in person because of COVID, we would call them each week to check in with them and make sure we were providing the best support and resources. I would update case notes, reports, sit in court hearings and had the opportunity to close a few cases. I was also able to work with other Probation Counselors and learn about their area of work. Overall, through this internship I was able to learn more about Juvenile Court and have a better understanding about how our legal system works in King County.

Name: Elizabeth Mugho
Major: Political Science
Internship Site: The Borgen Project
Description: As a political affairs intern, I was tasked with helping promote and educate the community and representatives about The Borgen Project and its aim to end global poverty. I fundraised money, reached out to state representatives, mobilized people in my community, and tried to make global poverty a focus of U.S foreign policy.

Name: Salmaí Arellano Cardenas
Major: Sociology
Internship Site: International Rescue Committee
Description: During my internship at the IRC’s New Roots Community Garden Program, I was working at three sites throughout South Seattle. My tasks ranged from physical/labor work around the three sites with management to working remotely for administration, data tracking, and community outreach. During my time at the IRC, I was able to help improve communication between the New Roots Team and the gardeners. I also had the opportunity to work with different programs meant to support families with food access. 

Name: JP Lopez
Major: Public Health
Internship Site: Harborview Medical Center
Description: As a research assistant through the CHROME program at Harborview Medical Center, I contributed to and worked towards advancing the Discharge Count Study. Aiming to find the prevalence at which patients get “stuck” in hospitals and do not receive proper and speedy medical services, I created data collection tools that ultimately helped launch the project into fruition. Through the internship, I learned technical skills required for participating in quantitative research, created surveys on the database software RedCap, learned how to conduct data analysis, and wrote a research abstract.

Name: Claire McCreery
Major: Political Science
Internship Site: Josh Green for Governor Campaign
Description: Interning for this Hawaii Campaign, I gained experience and insight on grassroots campaign efforts. I kept track of the locations of campaign signs across the islands on a spreadsheet database, learned more about the candidate’s platform, completed online trainings on the best campaign practices, and helped to send messages to volunteers about sign waving events. With the hard work of our campaign team, our candidate was able to win the Democratic Primary Election. This internship was an extremely valuable experience, and I will take the skills I learned with me as I continue on my academic and professional journey.

Name: Ivon Sanchez-Pineda
Major: Political Science and Law, Societies & Justice
Internship Site: Alliance for Children’s Rights
Description: I interned in the intake department at the Alliance for Children’s Rights which is a legal services non-profit that holistically helps foster youth or youth on probation and their guardians with issues pertaining to guardianship, education, healthcare, benefits, transitioning out of foster care, etc. I would complete intake screenings with clients. Then, after gathering all their information, I would call the attorney of the day and briefly explain the situation and relevant information. Many times, I would be directed to complete questionnaires with the clients to gather more information to be sent to the appropriate department within the Alliance. Once I completed the questionnaires, I would write up a case summary and put a packet together with all of this for the attorney to take on the case and work with the respective departments. I also was able to use my Spanish knowledge to speak to and translate for Spanish speaking clients. Overall, I got the opportunity to work collaboratively with attorneys to problem solve in order to holistically help clients.

Name: Mariana Oliva-Jauregui
Major: Communications and Business
Internship Site: El Centro De La Raza
Description: During my summer internship at El Centro De La Raza, I worked in the executive department communicating with local and national companies/ businesses to acquire in-kind donations for our biggest fundraiser of the year, the 2023 Building the Beloved Community Gala. Our goal is to raise money to support and fund our 43+ programs for people of all ages! During my time here, I would send emails and make calls to request donations and invite people to attend our event. I gained skills in donor acquisition and retention; a big part of managing a non-profit. I also helped with the creative directing process for our social media pages. I gained skills in programs within Office 365, such as Excel, Word, Outlook, SharePoint, Teams, and more! I benefited a lot from participating in this internship! Not only did I get to learn more about what it takes to run a nonprofit, which is something that I’m interested in since my family has a nonprofit of our own. I also learned what a potential job in both the communications and marketing fields could be like; all while supporting my great community! 

Name: Julie Martinez
Major: Public Health
Internship Site: Community Health Worker Coalition for Migrants and Refugees
Description: During my internship with CHCMR, I worked on a book called “Las Fridas de Washington,” a compilation of interviews with various Latina community leaders throughout Washington. With this project, I hoped to honor the often-overlooked efforts of women who tirelessly give back to their communities. Each chapter shares a new story of strength, resilience, and determination, as told in the leader’s own voice. Altogether, the book highlights the simultaneous struggle and strength of those who identify as Latina, first-generation, or immigrants. My project began with creating the questionnaire I used to interview each leader. I then reached out to numerous community leaders with requests to organize interviews. Next conducted interviews with leaders, all over Zoom. And finally, I transcribed and edited each interview into a book chapter. 

Name: Leydi Hernandez Quiros
Major: Political Science
Internship Site: La Resistencia
Description: Working with La Resistencia allowed me to further immerse myself in grassroots organizing! With the initiation of a new campaigning effort, my in-person work consisted of canvassing in a designated area to gather as much information about the immigration system. After data collection, I would report and organize the information to the appropriate advisor. From the personal connections I made with people from the organization to the one-on-one interaction I had with the people I interviewed, I was pleased knowing the information would be to advance a topic near and dear to my heart. Thank you, La Resistencia, for this opportunity!