Metcalf Intern Amanya Maloba, ’14, worked at ABC7 in Chicago during the summer of 2012. (Photography by Chris Strong)
A grand milestone
The Metcalf internship program places 1,000 College students in paid summer jobs.
At the Magazine we like to think we offer pretty appealing student internships. And, judging by the quality and quantity of the applicants for two summer positions, we do. Our interns write for the website and the print edition. They take on complex assignments and pitch their own ideas. They edit stories and attend meetings, where they’re encouraged to offer input along with everyone else. The only coffee they fetch is their own. For their efforts they receive what seems to be an increasingly quaint relic for interns: a paycheck. Many student internships go unpaid these days, especially ones that burnish a resumé. Among UChicago undergraduates, though, the opportunities for substantive, paid summer employment are actually increasing. Career Advancement’s Jeff Metcalf Internship Program, named for the longtime dean of the Graduate School of Business and former University athletic director, subsidizes these jobs in part. Since it began in 1997 with only seven interns, the program has grown to the point that the Magazine’s two spots now make up a tiny proportion of the positions available. This year it reached a milestone, placing 1,000 undergraduates in summer jobs. Almost 500 employers in more than a dozen industries are hosting Metcalf interns this year. Students will fan out this month to work in 16 states and the District of Columbia as well as 18 foreign countries. Fourth-year Di Ai will be working on green technology at Wanxiang Corporation in Hangzhou, China—one of almost 100 Metcalf interns in that country, even more than in Washington, DC. Eight interns will work at the University-affiliated Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. Others will spend their summers at Deutsche Bank, the Getty Conservation Institute, Goldman Sachs, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Nordstrom, Paramount Pictures, Proctor &Gamble, and hundreds more. The internship program’s growth reflects the priority that John W. Boyer, AM’69, PhD’75, dean of the College since 1992, has placed on career preparation. As Boyer noted in a 2012 Magazine article, even at Core-focused UChicago there’s historical support for an emphasis on job training. The University’s founders advocated an intensive liberal-arts curriculum, he said, “but they were also ardently pragmatic and practical people, good Midwestern Baptists, who believed that college education was preparing you for a successful career.” More and more College students are receiving that preparation through the Metcalf internship program.  

Jeff Metcalf Internship Program by the numbers:

Number of College students with paid summer internships this year: 1,000 Percentage increase from 2013: 17.64 Number of Metcalf interns in 1997, the program’s inaugural year: 7 Number of employers participating: 490 Number of US states, and the District of Columbia, where Metcalf interns are working this summer: 17 Foreign countries where Metcalf interns are working this summer: 18 Metcalf interns at the Magazine: 2