Truist Foundation ensures continued support for internships with $50,000 grant

Students at Lenoir-Rhyne pursuing internships will continue to receive financial support to offset their costs, thanks to the generosity of the Truist Foundation. In 2022, the foundation awarded the university $50,000 to create the Internship Support Fund, which provides small grants to students to help them pay for internship-related expenses, and this foundation has provided an additional $50,000 for the fund.

Students use Career Closet for professional wear

“This additional support from the Truist Foundation is a significant shot in the arm to help our students as they pursue internships,” said Cat Serrin Niekro, vice president of advancement. “We know that internships are critical for students as they explore their careers and build their networks. Microgrants from the Internship Support Fund ensure that they can pursue an internship and still cover costs such as commuting expenses, supplies and a professional wardrobe.”

In addition to covering workplace readiness costs, students can apply for grants to offset temporary housing costs or lost income while completing an unpaid or under-paid internship. Although not all applicants receive the full amount requested, every applicant receives some assistance. In the last year, the fund has distributed 116 unique grants, ranging from approximately $100 to $1000, to students on the Hickory, Asheville and Columbia campuses. 

In return, letters of gratitude have poured in, with one student summing up the purpose of the Internship Support Fund – “Thank you so much for the award money. I am appreciative of any amount that assists with the costs associated with a busy and important time in my academic career.”

Katie Wohlman, director of the Alex Lee Career and Professional Development Center explained how research shows internships provide increased skills, expanded networks and enhanced social capital. Students who complete a paid internship receive more job offers and higher starting salaries than those who complete unpaid internships.

“Research from the National Association of Colleges and Employers found that female, Black, Hispanic and first-generation students are overrepresented in unpaid internships and underrepresented in paid internships,” Wohlman added. “Through the generosity of the Truist Foundation, we can enhance equity of access to life-changing opportunities for all students.”  

For more information, please visit our Internships and Careers page.

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