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Career Exploration and Success

Rutgers Summer Service Internship (RSSI) Initiative

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Rutgers Summer Service Internship (RSSI) Initiative

Facts & Figures

100+
High-Impact Public Service Internships
$5,000
Student Stipend
3
Funded Academic Credits

Rutgers President Jonathan Holloway sees civic engagement as a critical component of a Rutgers education and a path toward appreciating our differences, restoring civil discourse, and working in service to the common good. At his inauguration, President Holloway announced his vision for Scarlet Service. The first program planned under this umbrella is the Rutgers Summer Service Internship (RSSI) Initiative, run by the Eagleton Institute of Politics, Rutgers-Camden Career Center, Rutgers-New Brunswick Office of Career Exploration and Success, and Rutgers-Newark Career Development Center.

The initiative will provide meaningful summer internship experiences to Rutgers Camden, New Brunswick, and Newark undergraduate students at public service-orientated non-profit organizations and direct-service government offices while expanding their knowledge and skills to engage as active citizens.

Qualified Internship Sites

Candidates can apply with OR without a summer internship specified. Students without an approved internship who are chosen for round two of the selection process will have an opportunity to meet with potential internship sites during an interview matching session. Each internship site will receive a list of four to five candidates to interview and rank their selections.  The applicants will also rank their employer preferences.

Candidates who already have a summer internship can bypass the internship matching session. They are selected based on information provided during the application phase, the internship site/employer will be reviewed to confirm eligibility.

Both applicant groups will be reviewed by a selection committee and the RSSI initiative administrator. Final decisions on the 2022 cohort will be sent mid-April.

If you are an employer interested in hosting a Rutgers summer intern, please contact rssi-experiences@echo.rutgers.edu to connect with a member of the Career Exploration and Success team.

interviews

Goals & Benefits

Our society has lost sight of the common good, a problem that threatens our future as a nation, our viability as a culture, and our humanity. As an institution of higher education, Rutgers has a vital imperative to improve the human condition and seek solutions for our most complex problems. There is no greater calling for university communities today than to make sure our students can pursue an excellent, life-changing education and engage in opportunities to better our world in fundamental ways.

Goal #1: Provide high-impact, hands-on summer internship opportunities in public service for up to 150 Rutgers sophomores and juniors

  • Academic research shows high-impact student practices, including internships, lead to higher graduation rates, levels of student satisfaction in the college experience,  and increased levels of career success.

Goal #2: Provide an opportunity for Rutgers students to contribute to solutions of societal problems; view American life from a fresh perspective; and develop a better understanding of their responsibilities as citizens.

  • When we provide talented students with knowledge and skills and give them a task, great things happen. When their task is to improve our society and democracy, ALL of us benefit.
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Learn More About the Rutgers Summer Service Internship Initiative

  • Rutgers Summer Service Internship (RSSI) Initiative provides Rutgers select students from Camden, Newark, and New Brunswick with an opportunity to earn up to $5,000 while interning for a minimum of 200-hours over 10 weeks during the summer at a public service non-profit organization or direct-service government office. Students also participate in a concurrent virtual, asynchronous course designed to explore and engage with the topic of public service while building their career readiness and professionalism skills. Candidates may apply with a qualifying internship found on their own or participate in a matching process with pre-approved internship employers before final selections are determined.

  • Course Description

    This course is meant to ground students’ experience in their public service internships, providing them with the theoretical foundation and professional and civic skillset to thrive in their internship site and their communities. Through readings, reflections, and virtual discussions, students will explore and engage with the topic of public service while building their career readiness and professionalism. Specifically, students will consider the connection between public service and democratic citizenship, learn from differences, and bring these lessons into their career journey.

    Learning Objectives

    As a result of participating in this course, you will learn the following:

    • Identify connections between the work at the internship site and the community in which it’s situated and its political system
      • Examine the culture of the organization
      • Explore and analyze causes and possible solutions to community problems
    • Understand, reflect, and learn from difference
      • Interact and empathize with diverse communities and community members
      • Communicate constructively with individuals who hold different views from your own
    • Develop professional behaviors
      • Incorporate communication skills into professional interactions
      • Explore career and civic options through connection building in relevant industry
    • Translate practical experience into future narratives
      • Display an orientation to civic engagement and public service
      • Articulate internship experience using skills and competencies
  • The application process for this initiative is open to Rutgers-Camden, New Brunswick, and Newark current sophomores and juniors. Applicants must have an overall cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher, area and be in good standing with the university. Applicants must also have the ability to travel to an internship site in New Jersey or in the tri-state area, and have a passion for community engagement and/or public service.

    Apply Here

  • Yes, international students eligible for Curriculum Practical Training (CPT) can apply to the RSSI initiative. This includes the fulfillment of at least one academic year in the United States. You can find additional information on Curricular Practical Training (CPT) here.

  • Stipends, experience, knowledge, scholarships, networking, and events!

    Stipends and Experience: Students selected for RSSI receive up to $5,000 to complete a minimum of 200-hour hands-on summer internship in public service where they make a difference, contribute to solutions of societal problems, view American life from a fresh perspective, and develop a better understanding of their responsibilities as citizens. Rutgers stipends are paid in three installments to provide a steady stream of income upon satisfactory progress towards internship goals. Note: students are responsible for applicable taxes.

    Knowledge and Scholarships: Accepted students participate in a concurrent virtual, asynchronous course designed to explore and engage with the topic of public service while building their career readiness and professionalism skills. Learn about communities, work and organizational culture, diversity and differences, professional skills, problem-solving, communication, and practice how to tell your story and share your experience. RSSI students also receive a scholarship to cover the expense of the 3-credit course.

    Networking and Events: Meet talented students from across Rutgers University who have a passion for making the world a better place. Students selected for RSSI will participate in a kick-off meet and greet event in May with their families, President Holloway, and guest speakers from the world of public service. After their summer internship experience, students will share their stories and experience at a September symposium with the broader university community.

  • All eligible students must apply by February 28, whether they have a summer internship or not. Candidates complete an application form, attach a resume and unofficial transcript, and respond to various essay prompts. The application form also asks for the name, title, and contact of two references, at least one should be academic-based. If you HAVE NOT secured an appropriate summer internship already, you will be asked to provide your preferences during the application process that will assist in connecting you to pre-approved internship site options once the selection committee determines you should move beyond the first round. In late March, second-round candidates will participate in a few matching interviews with pre-approved internship organizations before the final program decisions are sent out by mid-April. 

  • All eligible students must apply by February 28, whether they have a summer internship or not. Candidates complete an application form, attach a resume and unofficial transcript, and respond to various essay prompts. The application form also asks for the name, title, and contact of two references, at least one should be academic-based. If you HAVE ALREADY secured a summer internship at a non-profit or direct-service government office, complete the RSSI Internship Site Verification Form (download *.docx) which requests information about your internship, including the position description, learning agreement, supervisor information, and program details. The form must be signed by you and your internship supervisor before uploading the document as part of your application materials. A selection committee will review your completed application, including whether the internship site is appropriate for the RSSI experience. Final program decisions are sent out by mid-April.

  • Contact Heather Escalona, Assistant Director, at rssi@echo.rutgers.edu to learn more.

Accordion Content

  • The Rutgers Summer Service Internship (RSSI) Initiative is accepting student applications for the summer 2022 cohort. The application deadline is Monday, February 28. Students will be notified in mid-March of their program status, depending on the internship track chosen on the application. Final RSSI selections and notifications will be sent in mid-April.

    RSSI APPLICATION FORM (Read full instructions below and collect all items before getting started)

    Applying to the RSSI is a five-step process: (1) submit applicant information, (2) upload supporting documents (resume, official transcript, and references), (3) submit essay responses, (4) choose internship track, and (5) affirm submitted information. We highly recommend that you preview the application (preview complete application here) to ensure you are ready to submit all of the required information before starting the process.

    ITEMS WITHIN THE APPLICATION:

    1. Submit your contact and academic information
    2. Upload supporting documents and Reference Contacts
      • Resume: One page preferred, two pages maximum (Need Assistance? Career Advising Resources: Camden | New Brunswick | Newark)
      • Unofficial Transcript: Rutgers transcript, including your current list of spring classes. Transferring students at Rutgers for less than one academic year should include transcripts from previous colleges/universities.
      • Two References: Provide the name, title, organization, and email address of two contacts who can speak to your experiences and work ethic. References can include advisors, faculty, staff, supervisors, etc. Your references should not be related to you, and one should be academic. Reference checks are conducted when more information is needed to determine between two or more equal candidates.
    3. Essay Prompts: Responses will allow the selections committee the opportunity to learn more about each candidate. Please craft your responses in a word processing application (MS Word, Google Doc, etc.) to ensure your answer is within the noted word limit of each essay prompt.  
      • Please describe your interest in public service and how it might relate to your career goals. What do you hope to get out of the program? Applicants are encouraged to include previous relevant experience or related personal experiences. (300 words or less)
      • Have you ever encountered someone with a perspective different from your own? How did you approach the situation to work across differences? (200 words or less) 
      • Tell us about when you encountered an unexpected problem at school, in the workplace, at a co-curricular activity, or in your personal life. What was your approach to solving the problem? What motivated you to persevere through adversity? And what did you learn from that experience? (200 words or less) 
      • Is there anything else we should know about you? (optional) 
    4. Choose internship track: Candidates can apply with OR without an internship site secured for the summer. The application will allow you to select the proper application track.
      • Apply with an internship secured: Complete the RSSI Internship Site Verification Form (download *.docx), have it signed by your summer internship supervisor, and upload it as part of your application materials.
      • Apply without an internship secured: Complete the internship site matching preferences as part of the application process.
    5. Applicant affirmation: Acknowledge application affirmation statements; the text includes:
      • I affirm that all information I submitted as part of this application is accurate to the best of my knowledge.
      • If applying with NO internship and proceeding past the initial application review, I acknowledge that I will receive an email in mid-March from handshake@mail.joinhandshake.com.
      • If applying with NO internship and proceeding past the initial application review, I acknowledge that I will have an opportunity to interview with multiple internship sites during the matching event in late March.
      • If selected, I must complete all RSSI requirements, including at least 200 hours in a public service internship at a non-profit or direct-service government office over ten weeks between June and August 2022, complete the virtual primarily asynchronous RSSI course, participate in kick-off and symposium events, and participate in social media requests.

    When you submit your application, you will see a confirmation screen. You will also be emailed by the RSSI Administrator when your application is received.

    RSSI APPLICATION FORM (Read full instructions above and collect all items before getting started)

Accordion Content

  • All organizations must:

    • Have a mission in service to the public
    • Provide a primarily in-person (at least 75% in person) immersive, high-impact learning experience
    • Host an intern for a minimum of 200 hours over ten weeks between June and August (maximum 20 hours per week)
    • Experiences must incorporate opportunities for the intern to engage directly with the community served by the organization or indirectly through employees who can do so.
  • We look to allow for a focused learning role, complete with mentorship, feedback, and the ability to ask questions. The focus should be a professional development experience – not just completing tasks. Click here for a list of items that we typically ‘red-flag’ in an application. Rutgers departments are ineligible.

  • Yes, you can offer more than one internship for consideration. When completing the Qualtrics survey linked at the top of the page, you will have the opportunity to indicate the total number of unique internship type(s) you would like to offer.

  • All internships must be primarily ‘in-person’ experiences (at least 75% in person) unless the university determines a switch to remote due to health and other environmental factors.

  • Only organizations that are external to Rutgers University are eligible to apply for RSSI.

  • Follow this link to a walkthrough document that outlines learning objectives and how to create them for your internship experience.

    • Student applications are due by February 28. Employer applications are due by Tuesday, March 15, 2022.
    • All complete applications will be reviewed for qualification and potential student matches.
    • Each accepted employer will receive a list of candidates to interview rank order their selections, and the RSSI initiative administrator will make a final decision on the 2022 RSSI cohort by mid-April.

    The interviews will take place virtually utilizing our career management system, Rutgers Handshake. If you do not have an account created, please do so now, as it will be required to conduct interviews if you are matched with student applicants later in the process.

    Rutgers Handshake is the #1 platform for all things related to career success for students, alumni, and employers. If accepted, please create your Handshake Employer account here. By logging in to your Rutgers Handshake career management account, you agree to abide by the Policies and Guidelines.

    Please see the question below regarding guaranteed acceptance or student placement.

  • Rutgers University does not guarantee acceptance into the Rutgers Summer Service Internship Initiative or guarantee that all placement sites or experiences will receive a matched student. We have a limited amount of employer positions available for this program. If you are not accepted into the program, please know we can assist you in gaining awareness of your organization by setting up a Rutgers Handshake profile. Please contact email recruiting@echo.rutgers.edu for more information