Applications open for summer internships and projects offered by alumni

Thursday, Apr 1, 2021

In an effort organized by the Center for Career Development, alumni are offering paid and unpaid virtual projects and internships during the summer for undergraduate and graduate students. There are currently more than 250 positions available with 77 different organizations including opportunities in entrepreneurship, sustainability, data science, healthcare, media/communications/entertainment, research, design many more. Opportunities will continue to be added in the coming days. 

Each opportunity is unique with regards to its length, responsibilities, required qualifications, pay and other factors, so please read each posting carefully. Most opportunities take place between May 17-Aug. 6, but exact start and end dates are negotiable with the alum host. 

If you are interested in one of the listings, please contact the alum directly at the email address listed in the posting to discuss the opportunity in more detail and attach your resume. Positions will be filled on a rolling basis, so the earlier students contact an alum about an opportunity the better their chances are to match with one. 

There may be restrictions on the types of opportunities international students are able to pursue depending on visa status, and all international students are advised to consult with the Davis International Center before applying to one of these opportunities.

For advice on communicating with alumni, review these guides on networking, resume writing and contacting alumni. Undergraduate students can also come to virtual drop-in advising on Fridays (no appointment needed) to learn more about these opportunities and for tips for contacting alumni, and graduate students can make an appointment in Handshake to meet with an adviser. 

Five students who participated in alumni-sponsored opportunities last summer reflect upon their experiences below. 

Justice ChukwumaJustice Chukwuma, Class of 2022

Concentration: Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Organization: Empathyze
Title: Product manager
Alumni host: Bilesh Ladva '11

What did you do at your internship?

I was a product manager at Empathyze, in charge of the product's development. The role entailed building the pitch deck and product roadmap, managing the team of web developers and also strategizing how to market the product. 

Why did you choose this particular position?

I chose this particular position because I have interests in entrepreneurship and product management. The internship was the perfect opportunity to gain experience in both fields.

Have you been working with the alum host directly?

I worked closely with Bilesh, and he has mentored me in many financial practices, such as financial modeling — a great skill to have in my repertoire.

What did you learn about your interests during this experience?

I've learned that I get a sense of fulfillment from working in entrepreneurship and product management. I am now considering a career in venture as a possibility.

Can you describe your favorite project or aspect of the experience?

My favorite part from the experience has been directing the team of web developers. They are a talented group of engineers, and I learned a lot just from watching them at work.

Rohan JinturkarRohan Jinturkar, Class of 2023

Concentration: Computer Science
Organization: Black Sheep Foods
Title: Computer science intern
Alumni host: Lauren Whatley '11

What did you do at your internship?

Most of my internship was focused on building a tool using machine learning and natural language processing to accelerate the R&D process for food scientists. More specifically, we aimed to help researchers at Black Sheep Foods quickly identify plant-based substitutes to compounds in meat products. 

Interns had a lot of flexibility to decide how we wanted to design and implement this project. During the first few weeks, we met with domain experts to better understand their pain points. 

After we outlined our project's goals, we split the rest of our internship into two-week sprints to organize our work. In the beginning, we spent most of our time setting up the relevant tools and infrastructure. Later on, we wrote a significant amount of code and continually fine-tuned our work. In the last few weeks, we've been developing a website to make our tool more accessible. 

I spent most days working on a series of tasks (i.e. implement a feature, fix a bug, train a model) to make progress on our project. I also joined a daily standup call with the other interns to touch base on any updates and roadblocks. I appreciated the flexibility that I gained from the remote setting. 

Why did you choose that particular position?

As a lifelong vegetarian and foodie, I'm always fascinated by plant-based meats because they allow me to get a sense of what real meat might taste like. I wanted to explore the applications of machine learning to various disciplines, so I was really excited to apply machine learning to food science through a unique project. 

Additionally, I was inspired by the mission of Black Sheep Foods to create a sustainable, plant-based lamb that could beat traditional lamb in taste. 

What did you learn about your interests during this experience?

I realized that I love the startup environment and I hope to explore similar opportunities in the future! I enjoyed having a high level of autonomy over the project and being able to see the impact of my day-to-day work. The internship solidified my interest in computer science and encouraged me to look beyond the traditional destinations for Princeton students.

Have you been working with the alum host directly?

My main point of contact was the CEO (who was not the alum). In the second half of the internship, I worked more closely with the alum to improve branding and UX for our website. I'm very thankful to her for creating the internship opportunity and for always being so supportive of our work.

Can you describe your favorite project or aspect of the experience?

My favorite part of the summer was designing and building a fully-fledged project from start to finish. I'm proud of how much we covered in this summer and how much I learned. The topic, scope and impact of our project exceeded my wildest expectations and I hope to continue exploring applications of the techniques we used. You can check it out for yourself at shearlock.blacksheepfoods.com!

Mina YuMina Yu, Class of 2022

Concentration: Chemistry
Organization: X-Ray Associates of New Mexico
Title: Medical Shadowing Experience
Alum host: Jimmy C. Leung '88

What did you do at your internship?

I would virtually accompany Dr. Leung around his place of practice. He would often show me a particular piece of equipment, and we would talk through the physics behind how the equipment works as well as practical points about the equipment's use. 

Then, we would look through X-ray, CT and MRI images, and Dr. Leung would teach me how to interpret different parts of each scan and how to identify and classify abnormalities in the images. 

Why did you choose this particular opportunity?

I chose this opportunity because radiology is a fascinating field, and this was a great opportunity to speak with a real radiologist and to learn more about what a radiologist does in his practice. 

What are some of the takeaways or lessons from your internship?

I learned a lot about how physicians collaborate with physicians of other specialties, about various radiological equipment, and about radiographic interpretation. I also learned that I am drawn to specializations in medicine that will allow me to do the type of analytical thinking I was introduced to through this opportunity. 

Have you been working with the alum host directly?

Yes! It was amazing to get to see a radiologist in action and to have the opportunity to ask him questions directly. Dr. Leung was also incredibly receptive to all the things I felt curious about—ranging from practical questions about how to tell apart the left and right hands in X-ray scans to musings about why thyroxine contains iodine—which I really appreciated. I got to hear a lot of great stories, as well!

Can you describe your favorite project or aspect about the experience?

I really, really loved learning about the basics of the field of radiology and radiographic interpretation with such a candid and wonderful mentor!

Remy ReyaRemy Reya, Class of 2021

Concentration: Princeton School of Public and International Affairs 
Organization: Midstory Media Thinkhub
Title: Research, Storytelling and Media Intern 
Alumni hosts: Ruth Chang '12, Samuel Chang '16 and Logan Sander '18 

What did you do at your internship?

As an intern at Midstory, my day-to-day was a hodgepodge of Zoom calls, Google Docs editing sessions and social hours with other interns. At any given time, I’d be chipping away at five or six different projects; some are slow-burn, long-term research projects, while others are shorter-turnaround journalistic pieces. In either case, I spent a lot of time doing interviews, conducting background research, writing and co-writing outlines, and editing, editing, editing. Without fail, it’s an exciting and dynamic work environment.

Why did you choose this particular opportunity?

Midstory’s mission really resonated with me when I read about their work. Three Princeton graduates and an MIT alumnus teamed up to head back to their hometown of Toledo, OH instead of planting themselves in the major urban centers that college graduates usually populate post-graduation. Their goal in founding Midstory was to use solutions-oriented journalism and research to revitalize the Midwest – to create a strong voice from a post-industrial city on local, regional, and national issues. I am a firm believer in the power of storytelling to generate social change, so I felt right at home when I joined the Midstory team.

What were some of the takeaways or lessons from your internship?

Something I didn’t expect to take away from the internship – but feel very lucky to be taking away – is the ability to collaborate on meaningful pieces of writing. I’ve done group projects before, of course, but the process of taking something from concept to reality with two or three people’s hands on the wheel has been challenging and rewarding.

Community-building in a virtual space has also proved difficult at times, but conducting our work online really highlighted the importance of creating a culture of mutual support, trust and social engagement beyond pre-planned gatherings. I came to enjoy informal Zoom work sessions with my fellow interns, but also to embrace the type of casual banter that might normally fill a workplace.

Lastly, coming out of the internship, I feel even more confident about the value of storytelling in helping people see the world differently. But something is new for me, too. I have long thought it essential to tell stories about people whose stories normally go unheard – but now I see that the same can be true for places. Before this summer, I’d barely even heard of Toledo. Now, I’ve learned some incredible stories about Toledo’s history, engaged with my fair share of Toledo residents, and even met with the city’s mayor (over Zoom, of course). Going forward, I hope to always look beneath the surface of the places I don’t know well – to go into any new place with a truly open mind.

Have you been working or communicating with the alum directly? If so, what value has that added to your experience?

I have been in frequent communication with Logan Sander ’18, Ruth Chang ’12 and Sam Chang ’16, alumni who helped found Midstory. It’s been wonderful to get their direct support on my projects for Midstory, but it’s also been inspiring to learn about their experience leaving Princeton and taking a risk by moving back to Toledo and pursuing a bold vision. 

Hearing about their experience has empowered me to feel more confident in forging my own path once I leave the orange bubble.

Can you describe your favorite project or aspect about the experience so far?

One of my favorite projects was a story about Facebook pages dedicated to preserving and sharing Toledo history. 

Karolen Eid ’21 and I partnered up to tell a story about Toledo’s “Timeline Historians” – the men and women who curate and manage content on these pages, which have become incredible spaces for virtual community-building and shared reminiscing on the “good old days.” 

Scrolling through those pages feels like watching a new type of history being created – one of unique and meaningful expressions and connections – and we tried our best to capture that in the piece.

Tavarria ZeiglerTavarria Zeigler, Class of 2023

Organization: Preface
Title: Expansion Director 
Alum host: JT Wu '16

What did you do at the internship?

A typical day was filled with outreach. As a growing nonprofit in the southeast, Preface relies on extensive outreach to potential partner schools in order to connect with principals and get established in a new area. 

I’ve sent emails to school principals, assistant principals and other leaders, pitching them Preface’s model. Phone calls are also a huge part of the outreach process that have proven very effective. 

Throughout my internship, I’ve also recorded bilingual books, helped establish new partnerships, worked on drafting a waiver for in-person interaction in the wake of COVID-19, crafted social media posts and more.

Why did you choose that particular position?

I chose to work on expanding Preface because I believe in its mission. With a focus on multilingual and economically disadvantaged students, Preface is improving childhood literacy in a big way for elementary students that need support the most. 

This internship was an opportunity to grant high school students exposure to education and an incredible service opportunity, while simultaneously providing academic support and mentorship to elementary school students. It was also an opportunity to bring an incredible program and mission into my hometown. 

What did you learn about your interests during this experience?

Education has always been a huge part of the service work that I’ve done, so I’ve been grateful for the opportunity to continue this with a project as influential as Preface. This internship also taught me a whole lot about making outreach effective and delivering a pitch. From my conversations with leaders in the field and research throughout this internship, I gained a better understanding of the state of childhood literacy in the United States and what could be done to improve it. 

Have you been working with the alum host directly?

I worked directly with JT Wu, founder of Preface along with a few other alums that are a part of the Preface Board. This has made me feel much more connected to the leadership team at Preface and allowed me to have insightful conversations about how I could bring what I’ve learned at Preface with me as an undergraduate. 

Working directly with JT allowed me to have consistent support and guidance as I worked to grow the nonprofit. This also allowed me to quickly and efficiently implement all of the new ideas that I had on how to expand Preface’s reach quickly and efficiently. 

Can you describe your favorite project or aspect of the experience?

My favorite aspect of this experience was working with and getting to know such a passionate team. The Preface Board members and leadership team have been incredibly engaging and supportive, especially in helping the expansion directors navigate outreach during a pandemic and remote learning days. I’m grateful to have worked with a team that was always willing to help me implement new projects and explore different interests through Preface.