Petition for Global Internships

By Rebecca String
Elm Staff Writer

After taking part in an internship in Africa, senior Sarah Keating hoped to provide a global internship opportunity for other students. In what business management professor Dr. Michael Harvey calls a “mainly grassroots effort,” Keating put together a petition in order to create a program that would help Washington College students find internships abroad.

So far, Keating, with support from Dr. Harvey, political science professor Dr. Tahir Shad, and other students, has gotten 286 signatures.
The idea for the petition came to Keating when she and a friend from club lacrosse discussed how great the experience would be, but that there was lack of resources and financial aid for it from the school.

As a business major, Keating understands the need for real-world experiences.

“Chestertown isn’t the world,” she said.

Dr. Harvey said that, “particularly in the field of business, you need a global experience. The competition is global: Europe, Japan, China. You may be working for an international company.”

This petition is not only for business students; it is for any student who wants to take part in an internship abroad. If the program is created, it will hopefully be able to provide students with a stipend to live off while abroad.

“Originally, it was for community service work, but we broadened it for anybody, any major who wanted to go abroad,” said Keating. “I had this idea over a year ago. I went to a meeting with board members and talked about it. I want to encourage student internships. The whole idea of a global community [is important] and the internship bridges the cap.”

To get signatures, Keating said that she, “used to carry it around in a folder and bring it everywhere. At parties I asked people to sign it.”

Even though the number of signatures is impressive, Keating says that she needs more. She said that Shad wants 1,000 signatures.

“If I am one student with all of these other students behind me, I’ve got a good chance of making it happen,” she said.

Dr. Harvey is excited about the movement. He hopes that things will continue to move progress in a positive way.

“The critical thing is that [Keating] has done something. She has gotten this project started. It would be nice to see that the ball keeps rolling, and maybe it means the start of a new program, or maybe that means just discussions,” Dr. Harvey said.

Once the desired number of signatures is raised, many important figures will be involved in the discussions including the International Studies department and President Mitchell Reiss.

Although the project is in its infancy, the question of money is always an important one.

“A big challenge is how do you do financially support this. Maybe the students could start to fundraise money. They could start an endowment project,” said Dr. Harvey.

In order for there to be a global internship program the school will have to start to look for ways to possibly aid the students in airfare and travel costs.

Keating understands that the petition might not lead to a program until after she has graduated, but dreams that WC can “keep it sustainable in the sense that internships come in and that the money comes.”

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