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Dickinson College Family Helps Students Access Career-shaping Internships

Giving is a family value for the Cocores family. Photo by Dan Loh.

Giving is a family value for the Cocores family. Photo by Dan Loh.

Internship-grant program designed to inspire a ripple effect

by MaryAlice Bitts-Jackson

Internships are powerful, potentially life-changing experiences, but because many are unpaid or low-paying, they may not be viable for students who rely on summer-job incomes, or who cannot afford related travel or housing costs. That’s why Dickinson’s internship grants are essential, and why nearly 60 students benefited from them last year.

During a recent on-campus event, some of these accomplished students seized a rare opportunity to connect with the Dickinson family that made their summer internships possible. They are the first recipients of the Cocores Family Internship Fund, one of 18 such funds supported by Dickinsonians and friends of the college. As they met Chris Cocores ’05 and wife Emily West Cocores ’06 during the Oct. 4 gathering, the students shared highlights from their internships and expressed their thanks.

Ellen McInnes ’22 (Spanish, Latin American, Latinx & Caribbean studies) intends to pursue a master’s degree in public health. Because of her internship grant, she was able to devote full attention to a remote internship at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles last summer that centered on community-health projects.

“I believe that this internship will prove to be an important steppingstone for me as I formulate my career goals and plan my professional life,” she said.

Ayana Rahman ’22 (theatre, physics), an international student, also pursued internships with an eye toward graduate-school applications. She faced formidable challenges as she applied for U.S. research internships during a pandemic. The internship grant award allowed her to accept an opportunity to mine NASA Horizons data and write code that simulates planetary orbits.

Jacob DeCarli ’22 (international studies, Italian studies) is applying to graduate fellowships and researching a career in the U.S. foreign service. He noted that through his internship at the U.S. Army War College, he researched topics related to women, peace and security issues, made recommendations on how to incorporate these topics into War College courses and connected with employees at the Department of State, including a diplomat and a retired ambassador.

Liz McCreary ’22 (history, earth sciences), described how much she enjoyed a quintessential history-major summer internship at Gettysburg National Military Park. “I was excited to go to work every day,” recalled McCreary, who’s considering a career in public history. “That experience and opportunity would not have been possible without your support.”

Speaking during the recent campus gathering, President John E. Jones III '77, P'11, said he was impressed by the caliber of the students’ work and by the Cocores’ dedication to their alma mater. The alumni couple noted that they were excited and honored to see the results of their philanthropy in action, and that they intend to meet with recent grant recipients every year, along with their young children.

“We’ve been lucky, and Dickinson clearly helped us,” Chris said, “and we want to show our children, firsthand, that we believe in giving back.”

Speaking with the students, Emily added that the family hopes that the spirit of giving will catch fire outside the family as well.

“We simply ask that, in any way you can, whenever you are able, you pay this forward and keep it going,” Emily told the scholarship recipients. “Our hope is that, as others have already done, still more Dickinsonians will contribute to internship grant funds so that, eventually, every Dickinson student who desires to pursue an internship opportunity can do so.”

Dickinson is offering a new summer internship-grant preapplication option for high-need students later this month; all other students may apply for summer internship grants beginning in February 2022. Students can learn more online. To learn more about how to help move Dickinson—and current Dickinson students—forward by giving back, visit Dickinson.edu/give.

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Published October 18, 2021