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Stipends available for unpaid opportunities

The BEAM Fellows Stipend allows undergraduate students who secure a qualifying spring or summer unpaid internship, externship or project, to apply for up to $6,000 in funding.

With some companies canceling paid internships due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Stanford’s BEAM Fellows Stipend program has stepped in to help make experiential learning possible. The program, which is currently accepting applications for summer 2021, provides funding for undergraduate students who secure unpaid internships, externships or short-term projects.

“The purpose is to help students gain experiential learning experiences – to test drive academic interests or take a peek at what different industries look like,” said Ashley Eberle, Assistant Dean of Career Education & Associate Director of Career Communities.

For example, students who received funding for spring quarter will be working for organizations on projects including expanding college access for low-income students in Zimbabwe and mobilizing the global bond market for climate initiatives.

One of the distinctive aspects of the program is that it funds part-time opportunities as well as full-time. This flexibility, as well as the funding the program provides, has allowed some students to reach out to organizations that weren’t advertising formal internship or externship programs and propose work in their areas of interest.

That’s what Christopher Maximos, class of 2023, did after hearing the governor of New Jersey talk in a COVID-19 briefing about the New Jersey State Office of Innovation, one of the lead actors in the state’s digital response to the pandemic. He emailed them to say he was interested in helping, and they offered him a role as an undergraduate research fellow.

Maximos worked with the office during winter quarter, updating vaccination information on the website and using analytics to gauge how effective the state’s communication has been. The BEAM Fellows award will allow him to work for the office 15 hours per week during spring quarter.

“I really appreciate BEAM’s consideration and accommodation in this time, to make sure that students can still access professional opportunities in the midst of this pandemic,” Maximos says.

The program is currently funded for spring and summer 2021, though organizers hope it will continue.