News

New Fellowship Programs Help Davidson Students Transition Into Careers of Leadership and Service

by Bill Giduz

Following on the success of last year's new Sustainability Fellows program, Davidson this summer is launching four other programs to help students "transition to impact" from campus life to careers of making a positive difference in the wider world. With support of alumni and other friends of the college as donors, mentors and employers, Davidson has arranged internships this summer for almost 50 current students and May graduates.

Eight underclass students are participating in the second edition of the Sustainability Fellows program. The other are enrolled in new programs as Education Scholars, Entrepreneurial Interns, Venture Lab Interns, and Davidson Impact Fellows.

"These programs aren't primarily about finding jobs for graduates," said Jeff Kniple, Associate Director for Employer Relations in the Center for Career Development. "We're really asking students to take the knowledge and experiences that they have accumulated through their Davidson College education and use them not just for personal gain, but for the good of all."

  • Fifteen Class of 2013 graduates have received Davidson Impact Fellowships, which provides them a salary and benefits to work for one year with high-level administrators at organizations that address critical social issues such as health, law, education, and the environment. Davidson and the organization with which they work will share the cost of their employment.

The program gives new graduates an opportunity to work directly with high-level leaders in non-profit agencies. The experience will help fellows develop their understanding of the challenges and efforts that are a part of social change. President Carol Quillen said, "The program will enable graduates to put their education into practice, undertaking significant projects for effective organizations that are making a difference in our community, nation and world."

Some of the organizations sponsoring Davidson Impact Fellows are the Catawba Lands Conservancy, Foundation for the Carolinas, Fundación Haciendas Del Mundo Maya (a regional development organization in Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula), the Georgia Justice Project, Teach for America in Charlotte, and the Touch Foundation in New York City (brings healthcare services to people in sub-Saharan Africa).

  • A new Education Scholars program is placing eight undergraduate students in internships with education-affiliated groups in and around Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) this summer. During their experience, the students will live in community, conduct a consequential project in their organization and participate in regular enrichment workshops that explore issues in education.

One student will work in the Belk Foundation and International House to create a plan for supporting children of non-English speaking families to succeed in the public school system. Another will work in the CMS central office to create an analysis of Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate programs for each high school in the district. Another student will work in a learning program at an elementary school and write up an analysis of it.

  • A new Innovation and Entrepreneurship Internship was created to place students in full-time paid internships for the summer with social venture and innovation-oriented companies. Eleven students are involved in its first year, working with Davidson alumni and friends in Charlotte, New York and Kenya. OrthoCarolina in Charlotte hired four to assist with organizational process improvement. Technekes has hired a student to do market research and competitive pricing of a new product. iMedicare, a New York City company developing pharmacy software, has hired a student to support various aspects of its early development.
  • Two students are working this summer to develop their entrepreneurial ideas at Davidson's "Venture Lab" in Charlotte. This new start-up incubator is designed to accelerate aspiring entrepreneurs through experiential education. Located in Pakard Place in Charlotte, the lab offers help from mentors, networking opportunities and office space in which to work. One Davidson student intern in the program is developing a nonprofit organization that sells honey to raise money for cancer research. The other is planning to sell school backpacks, plowing part of the profit into providing free backpacks to students who can't afford them.