Princeternship applications open Oct. 4

Monday, Oct 4, 2021

Let's face it - seeing what's out there in the real world and getting hands-on work experience while you're at Princeton is tough. That's why we created Princeternship.  

Taking place during winter recess, Princeternship offers undergraduate students the chance to explore career fields and make connections with alumni and employers without the commitment of an internship or job. There are over 180 positions available with nearly 60 different organizations, including opportunities in arts, culture, media and entertainment; business; law; social impact; engineering, science and tech; and healthcare. 

Applications open the afternoon of Monday, Oct. 4. The deadline to apply is Wednesday, Oct. 20 at 11:59 p.m. Students can view all available Princeternship positions here

There are two types of Princeternship experiences: job shadowing and virtual project work. Job shadowing is in person, and depending on the opportunity lasts from one to five days. Virtual projects can last anywhere from one to four weeks. Start dates will vary depending on the type of opportunity and alumni hosts' availability, though most in-person Princeternships will take place between Dec. 27, 2021 and Jan. 7, 2022, and virtual Princeternships between Dec. 27, 2021 and Jan. 21, 2022.

In addition to learning about the career path of an alum host and career fields that interest you, Princeternship provides an environment focused on students' learning and growth. Opportunities span a range of career fields and geographic regions.

Questions? Check out our Princeternship FAQs, come to our drop-in hours or email Alejandra Iglesias, assistant director, alumni engagement

Student reflections

Five students who participated in Princeternships in the winter of 2019-2020 shared their reflections immediately after completing their experiences. 

Mina QuesenMina Quesen, Class of 2023

Organization: Midstory Media Thinkhub

What did you do during your Princeternship?

For five days in Toledo, I worked with Midstory and learned about how a nonprofit journalism group functions. I was given a reflective project to work on and explore my impression of Toledo. 

My project focused on the connections people form when wandering and how that impacted my experience in Toledo. I worked on writing the article as well as designing a graphic to accompany it. Aside from this project, we helped prepare for their annual review event on Jan 30, which included decoration, set-up, and copy editing the annual review pamphlet. We met with all four founders of the company as well as their volunteers, donors and supporters.

How did your Princeternship experience impact your future career path?

This experience allowed me to explore a career option in nonprofits that I hadn't previously considered. Through it, I realized that in a career I search for a community that is just as passionate about a project as I am. It allowed me to see that a typical 9-5 job isn't something I want, rather a job where I can create an impact and create my own projects.

I entered not knowing what to expect, but I left learning so much about nonprofits and Toledo than I could have imagined. A week with Midstory helped me think through my own values in a career and explore my own passions through their media.

Folarin Okulaja

From left to right: Folarin Okulaja, alumni host and former STATE Bags CEO Jessica Davidoff '04 and fellow Princetern Sophie Blue '21

Folarin Okulaja, Class of 2022

Organization: STATE Bags

What did you do during your Princeternship?

Myself and one other Princetern were at the STATE bags office for two days. We had the opportunity to meet and speak with the company founders, and we shadowed the company CEO who (was) a Princeton alum. 

We sat in on performance marketing analysis meetings as well as meetings planning upcoming product launches. We had the opportunity to view their upcoming launches and get a real inside look into what it takes to launch a product from online advertising, to customer emails, to product photoshoots. 

As a small company we also had the opportunity to talk to members of all divisions of the business from their chief of staff, to the production manager, to the design team and everything in between. One task assigned to us was to make an Excel sheet from sales data on shopify and to identify sales trends and patterns that might be worth noting. 

What did you learn from your alum host?

She and other employees advised us to take full advantage of extracurriculars at school because those would teach us different skills that we may not necessarily work on in the classroom. She also advised us to make career choices that we found personally fulfilling and to not be afraid of taking risks in our attempts to find the careers that would be the right ones for us.

What advice do you have for students considering Princeternships?

Apply for Princternships in areas you might be even remotely interested in because a few days at the job will provide you with a good idea of what the day to day is like in the particular field and will either further increase your interest or let you know it is something you don't want to explore any further, and both are equally important.

Joan Perez

Joan Perez, Class of 2023

Organization: Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters

What was your favorite part of the experience?

My host was a pathologist at the Children's Hospital of King's Daughters in Norfolk, Virginia and watching her do her job with excitement and joy was really amazing to witness. Specifically, what I loved about my Princeternship was how hands-on this experience was. 

During the two days I was with her, I watched her do an autopsy on the heart of a still-born baby and watched her diagnose a plethora of diseases ranging from B-thalassemia to cancer for a number of children. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity to be able to observe several blood smears and images of cancerous tissues. It was truly an amazing experience that I am very grateful for as I was able to connect my knowledge of molecular biology to watching real live cells from a human body.

How did your Princeternship experience impact your future career path?

My Princeternship experience impacted my future career path in a plethora of ways. Specifically, it reassured me that I do indeed want to go into the medical field. 

When I was shadowing my host, I realized that while I didn't want to necessarily become a pathologist, I still liked the environment of being in a hospital and I enjoyed diagnosing and being around people. Her husband in particular, Dr. Werner, is a pediatrician and surgeon at the same hospital, Children's Hospital of King's Daughter. During my conversations with him, I realized that his daily interaction with children and doing routine check-ups is something I really wanted to do in the future. Thus, I intend to look into working with children in the future and possibly seeing what education is needed to become a surgeon. 

Patrick Huang

Patrick (right) with alumni host Emily Robinson '02

Patrick Huang, Class of 2022

Organization: Elevate Energy

What did you do during your Princeternship?

I met with several employees on different teams within Elevate Energy and talked to them about their career paths and how they ended up working for this nonprofit organization. I had the chance to talk to engineers, including the CEO of the organization, as well others in Elevate’s research or policy teams. Over the five days of my Princeternship, I also helped finalize a research report that my host and some of her colleagues were working on.

What was your favorite part of the experience?

My favorite part about the Princeternship was a home visit that I got to do with my host on the last day. My host runs a program for seniors to improve accessibility in their homes (by installing handrails and doing other minor repairs). I thought it was eye-opening to see how Elevate worked with members of the community directly, even though in this particular case it wasn’t for a strictly energy efficiency related program.

How was your Princeternship beneficial for you?

I learned from the employees at Elevate Energy that finding the “right” career often doesn’t follow a straight trajectory after college. In fact, many of the Elevate employees I talked to had to spend several years working to identify what they wanted to/didn’t want to do, and then go back to school for further education, before eventually ending up in this nonprofit organization. I think this Princeternship reminded me of the value of exploring different career options and environments early on, and what advantages and benefits advanced degrees can have.

What advice do you have for students considering Princeternships?

Apply for a Princeternship if a company/organization makes you wonder, even if it’s a little bit,  “Oh, I wonder what it's like to work there?” Once you’re there, make the most of talking to different people who work there, because their shedding light on their own experiences is a valuable resource.

Masi Nagdee

Masi (left) with fellow Princetern Daniel Te '21

Masi Nagdee, Class of 2022

Organization: Jonathan Kirschenfeld Architect 

What did you do during your Princeternship?

Jonathan Kirschenfeld *81 runs his own independent architecture firm which specialises in socially and environmentally sustainable social housing, with a focus on providing humane and high-quality housing to the homeless. What I loved about the firm was how mission-driven it was; its designs were guided by making its housing solutions as pleasant as possible for individuals and the entire community, with particular attention paid to lighting and communal areas. 

Our first half-day was spent with Jonathan learning about the company's past projects and the process of completing an architectural design and construction of a building, from looking at the company's portfolio, models, and drawings. In the second half of the day, we went on a visit to a site in The Bronx and one of the company's previous developments nearby. 

The next day, we were tasked with preparing a floor plan and basic building design and layout for the plot we had explored in The Bronx the day before. We started by researching the relevant zoning laws and nearby community and then proceeded to put together a floor plan based on specifications given to us by the firm, taking inspiration from some of their previous works.

What was your favorite part of the experience?

My favorite part was walking through The Bronx for our site visits. We went there primarily to look at a piece of land that the firm intends to develop into housing for the homeless in the future but we also took a long walk through the area to understand the area's history and present situation with regards to housing, architectural style, geography, and local amenities. As a student interested in urban planning, I really valued this opportunity to explore a new locality in the company of an experienced architect who clearly understood the issues affecting the area in the past, present, and possibly the future.

How did your Princeternship experience impact your future career path?

This Princeternship really opened my eyes to what a career in architecture could look like, both in traditional settings and in smaller independent firms like the one I Princeterned at. Professionally, I'd like more experience with working in an architectural design or urban planning firm and the Princeternship I undertook consolidated my intention of eventually joining this sector after graduation.