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Summer Internship Program in University Development

Penn State’s Office of University Development is offering full-time paid internships this summer to students or recent graduates interested in learning more about a career in fundraising and nonprofit work. This uniquely structured experience provides selected individuals with the opportunity to be immersed in a development office at Penn State’s University Park campus.

It enables students to both learn about the fundraising profession and gain firsthand experience assisting the operations of a development office. By coupling hands-on work with traditional classroom learning, the internship is designed to prepare students with both the knowledge and the skills to embark on a career in higher education development or nonprofit work.

This experience is the result of a three-pronged program combining real world experience, Friday educational sessions, and professional development.

Real world experience

Participants will spend thirty-two hours per week in a development office working on meaningful projects that introduce them to new skills and career opportunities. These challenges could include anything from meeting with donors to coordinating a recognition event to assisting with the development of a major gift proposal. Along the way, interns will receive valuable feedback and mentoring from experienced professionals.

Friday educational sessions

Participants will spend eight hours per week (on Fridays) in a classroom-type environment learning about the role of philanthropy within institutions of higher education and nonprofit organizations. In addition to reading relevant materials, contributing to classroom discussions, and completing assignments, interns will have the opportunity to listen to guest speakers and partake in relevant, organized tours. Some of these tours and presentations involve University donors who give firsthand accounts of their gifts and their motivations for giving. Interns will also keep a reflective journal detailing their own philanthropic interests and motivations.

Professional development

The internship includes a variety of events designed to expose students to industry professionals and develop skill sets related to these situations.

Programming includes:

  • an etiquette workshop;
  • a networking and résumé writing workshop;
  • a two-day fundraising course;
  • social and educational events with donors;
  • field trips.

How to Apply

Applications for the 2015 DDAR Summer Internship Program will be available in December 2014. Please check back then if you are interested in applying.


Please contact Cheryl Kaplan (cmk6@psu.edu) or Stacey Lyons (srl18@psu.edu) with any questions.

More information

View our summer intern videos!

Class of 2014 video:

Visit the Penn State Development Summer Internship Program blog.