Internship Builds Careers and Leaders
August 14, 2006Comments (0)
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CLIP student interns at Ecko Unlimited.
Elana Goldberg created an unusual summer memory this year: She bought $600 worth of men’s jeans. For Elana, a junior at Brown University, it was all in a day’s work.
Goldberg is one four interns working as market researchers at Ecko Unlimited as part of Hillel’s Collegiate Leadership Internship Program (CLIP), a nine-week program that includes four days each week in a supervised internship and one day of Jewish enrichment and leadership seminars.
“These clothes are going to be part of a collection a year and a half from now,” Goldberg said. “I get to see trends before lots of other people; pretty cool to be ahead of the curve.”
CLIP began in 1979 as an internship program of the New York Federation Employment and Guidance Service, Inc. (FEGS). Now administered by Hillel of Baruch College, CLIP has grown into a highly regarded, competitive, paid summer internship for undergraduates. This year, the program arranged internships for 46 students who live or study in New York. The goal of the program is not just to help the young people advance their careers, but also to build future community leaders who understand their Jewish identity and appreciate the diversity of the Jewish community.
CLIP is poised to grow even further as the Jewish Communal Fund of New York, a leading donor-directed fund, is investing $300,000 in the program.
“We are thrilled that the Jewish Communal Fund is taking this step to strengthen the CLIP program," says Hillel International President Wayne Firestone. "We believe that providing Jewish students with professional opportunities not only enriches their lives but provides these young people with a meaningful Jewish experience.”
Hillel is considering expanding similar professional programs nationwide in line with its strategic plan.The 2006 class of interns attend a cross-section of schools, from public universities such as CUNY Brooklyn College, Baruch College, Stony Brook and Binghamton, to Ivies like Columbia, Cornell and Brown. Yeshiva University has several students in the program as well. International students also participate in CLIP, including students from Burma, Panama, Mexico, France, Iran and the former Soviet Union.
This year the students have been placed in private companies, such as Ecko Unlimited, CIBC World Markets and Newmark Knight Frank Real Estate; non-profits, such as Mt. Sinai Hospital and The Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity; and Jewish communal agencies such as FEGS, Hadassah and the United Jewish Communities.
Ilyse Whitney Davidson, a sophomore at Hofstra University, has benefited from her experiences as a CLIP participant and intern with Homes for the Homeless.
“I discovered I am more of a hands on person, instead of a sit-in-the-office-by-yourself type,” she said. “Because of that, I see myself applying to be a Steinhardt Jewish Campus Service Corp Fellow when I graduate and attending graduate school for Jewish Communal Service so I can directly help the Jewish people.”
Michael Shaffer, a junior biochemical pharmacology major at SUNY Buffalo, applied to a number of internship programs but was ultimately attracted to CLIP.
“None of the other programs offered me both a chance to shadow a dentist at a hospital such as Helen Hayes Hospital and the chance to learn about Judaism,” he said.
For Brandeis University senior Elana Keiffer, it is not every day she runs into fellow students who share her aspiration to become a national expert on the aging. Through CLIP, Keiffer secured an internship with AARP, working in the organization’s Speakers’ Bureau.
“I get to work directly with people involved in the gerontology field. It’s nice to be among people who have similar professional interests,” she said. “It’s been great meeting other people in the program, especially if we have similar interests, but, even if we don’t, we all have internships and can compare experiences.”
Social entrepreneurship is central to the CLIP program. During their internship, the students participate in hands-on community service. This summer they helped frail elderly visit cemeteries, delivered food to the needy, worked in soup kitchens and discussed integrating tzedaka into their lives with prominent New York businesspeople who are major philanthropists.
The students also worked in teams to develop a business plan that will address an unmet need in the community. The best business plan received seed money to help undertake the project. They return to campus and implement the many leadership, tzedek/social justice, Israel-oriented, and other programs they developed during their summer experience.
Shachar Sharon, a senior at Franklin & Marshall College, lieves the project is a great way to get students from various academic backgrounds acquainted with the corporate and non-profit worlds.
“The project is a way of showing us that we should, can and will make a difference in the world because we are future leaders who see needs and follow through with solutions,” she said.
The Jewish community has supported CLIP because of its unique contribution to building a Jewish future.
“The CLIP program provides a concrete benefit to the Jewish community of New York,” says Alisa Rubin Kurshan, vice president of Strategic Planning and Organizational Resources of the United Jewish Appeal-Federation of New York. “We are not only building lives, we are building leaders.”
The jeans-buying Elana Goldberg agrees.
“Summers have always been a time to recharge my Jewish battery so I was hesitant to spend a summer just working in a regular internship,” she says. “CLIP provides a good mix of doing something that will help me in a future career and have a meaningful Jewish experience.”
For more information on the CLIP program, contact Matt Vogel at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://www.hillel.org/careers/fellowships/clip/.