This academic year marks a major milestone for BrownConnect, the University’s signature intern-ship initiative. We’re celebrating five years of outstanding career development and research opportunities for our exceptional undergraduates.
This initiative was born out of the recognition that students’ summer experiences are vitally important for their future lives. Internships and research opportunities let students translate their classroom learning into practice and help them identify what kinds of post-graduation careers will be most satisfying. But internships can be difficult to find. Furthermore, the compensation for internships is often insufficient to cover living expenses and let students save the money they need for college expenses.
BrownConnect, launched in 2014, was designed to make it easier for all of our students to find summer internships and research opportunities. Through an online portal (brownconnect.brown.edu) and robust campus programming at the Center for Careers and Life after Brown, students are able to discover and realize the opportunity that is right for them.
“Over 85 percent of students report participating in a summer experiential opportunity during their time at Brown.”
BrownConnect helps students identify alumni from a wide range of professions who provide advice and connections. It is also a one-stop shop through which students apply for financial support for low-paid or unpaid summer internships, so that all students—regardless of their family’s economic circumstances—have access to excellent summer experiences.
I’m thrilled to report that over the past five years, 3227 students have engaged with alumni, parents, and friends through BrownConnect and secured highly competitive research projects and internships through hallmark programs like the Undergraduate Teaching and Research Awards (UTRAs) and the Linking Internships and Knowledge Awards (LINKs). And according to an annual summer survey, over 85 percent of students report participating in a summer experiential opportunity during their time at Brown.
Maliya Rodriguez ’21 is one of those students. An Education Studies concentrator, Maliya hoped to use this past summer to pursue her interest in social justice as well as her passion for teaching. With the support of a LINK, she was able to secure an internship as a Teaching Fellow at Generation Teach, a Providence-based organization dedicated to addressing educational inequity.
Our students will tell you that the benefits of an internship or mentor relationship established through BrownConnect are far-reaching, opening doors to contacts in professional fields of interest and opening their eyes to career options they might not have considered. With more than 90,000 living alumni, the possibilities, while not endless, are wide-ranging and encompass the globe.
Ghazi Ghumman ’21, for example, served as a summer analyst for Qalora Capital in Stockholm, Sweden, through the Brown Sweden Entrepreneurship Summer Internship Program. Ghumman, an Economics and Public Policy concentrator, was able to interact with startup founders and investors across Europe. This summer experience prepared him for the next opportunity, an internship at Brown’s own Investment Office.
Brown’s distinctive approach to undergraduate education has propelled generations of graduates into high-impact careers and lives of meaning, usefulness, and service to society. BrownConnect is now a critical part of that journey, making it possible for students to grow their professional networks before graduation and chart their course for success.
There are a number of ways alumni can get involved in supporting BrownConnect. The simplest is to ensure your alumni profile is up to date. Beyond that, alumni can offer internships to Brown students, serve as a resource to students and alumni, host networking events, or give to BrownConnect. Indeed, it is the generosity of the Brown community that makes the transformative BrownConnect experience possible.