Public Service Graduate Internship Award
Providing graduate students with a public service opportunity during a period of crisis.
The PSGIA was conceived as a one-time, emergency measure to help graduate students during the summer of 2020 and a global pandemic. The program has been discontinued; however, this page remains as an inspiration and testament to our coming together at a difficult time.
Overview Heading link
The Graduate College at the University of Illinois has created a new award in order to fund graduate students who are suddenly unfunded for the summer due to the global pandemic.
Inspired by President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal and its public work projects as well as by the university’s own mission, the Graduate College has created the Public Service Graduate Internship Award (PSGIA). This summer experience allows UIC graduate students to serve in the interest of the public good while obtaining valuable “hands-on” experience, albeit virtually. For their public service, recipients will receive virtual experience in academic, administrative, and student service units at the University of Illinois at Chicago and a monetary award.
Faculty and students are the public face of the city’s premier public research university–the PSGIA will take them behind the scenes. Students will build or strengthen skills translatable to their chosen academic or non-academic career path.
Unlike the Provost’s Graduate Internship Award, which incentivizes graduate students to find external opportunities that might lead to employment following graduation, this new initiative provides graduate students with a paid summer appointment and the university’s units will benefit from a different perspective, another set of hands–at no cost to them.
details Heading link
This competitive mechanism will fund public service-minded students, with the consent of their advisor, who seek novel opportunities within the university. The Graduate College will award $4,500 over three months with the assumption of a 15- to 20-hour weekly obligation. The student and the host unit shall negotiate details and compensation for any additional expectations. (Students with < 25% FTE summer employment may receive a pro-rated award.)
The Graduate College does not require students to register in the summer in order to receive this award.
Prior to applying and if applicable, students are responsible for verifying that their federal student loan package or visa will allow them to participate. Failure to do, may result in forfeiture of the award.
- This internship program is limited graduate students in PhD and terminal master’s programs who were registered in Spring 2020 and are in good academic standing. See the list of terminal master’s programs in the FAQ section.
- Students graduating in May or August 2020 are ineligible.
- Current and past winners of the Provost’s Graduate Internship Award are ineligible.
- Students may not hold a concurrent summer assistantship greater than 25% FTE.
- Students in professional programs and/or programs not under the auspices of the Graduate College are ineligible. (For example, the following are ineligible: undergraduates, DMD, DPT, JD, LLM, MBA, MEng, MD, and MSW.)
The Graduate College can offer limited advice based on extant partnerships. The list of PSGIA hosts available at the link below will be updated periodically and is not comprehensive. Students must contact potential host units make their own arrangements.
There is a strong likelihood that other units on campus will soon begin hiring multiple graduate students as “course designers” to move large summer courses online. Students interested in such an endeavor should apply for those and not for the PSGIA.
To facilitate communications, see the link below for UIC’s online directory.
Reviewers will consist of faculty and/or staff members appointed by the Dean of the Graduate College and they will evaluate applications using the eligibility factors (above) and selection criteria (below).
- A clear articulation of the student’s goals for the internship.
- The host unit’s commitment to training the graduate student intern.
- An excellent record of academic performance, as attested to by the student’s CV and recommendation.
- A clear demonstration of financial need.
Non-renewable, the $4,500 award will be processed over the period of May 16-August 15 and the will be paid out over three months, approximately June 16, July 16, and August 16. (Due to the compressed nature of our timeline for this brand-new initiative, the first payment could be slightly delayed.) Also, the Graduate College reserves the right to pro-rate an award should the recipient have concurrent on-campus employment.
There is no tuition/fee waiver attached; nor is summer registration required.
The student is expected to be active approximately fifteen to twenty hours per week during the appointment period.
Each student’s taxation situation is unique, and the Graduate College is not qualified to provide tax advice.
The student is responsible for arranging for the electronic delivery of all documentation to their program. The Director of Graduate Studies (or proxy) will review the application and submit it to the Graduate College by the submission deadline. Incomplete applications will not be considered. There is currently no limit to the number of nominations from a program; however, we anticipate funding approximately twenty awards for students with financial need.
The graduate student arranges for the required documents to be sent to their academic degree program for review. The Director of Graduate Studies of that program (or proxy)–not the student–submits the documents to the Graduate College.
Applications must include all of the following, in order:
1. Application Form – The student completes this form and then sends it to the DGS for endorsement.
2. Statement or description of financial need (maximum 100 words)
3. Internship Description – Written by the student in conjunction with the host unit. (Limit: One page of content including any references; single spaced; 10-12 Arial font; one-inch margins) — A concise description of the proposed plan for the internship and general interaction between the student intern and the proposed host, including the expected mutual benefits and outcomes of the experience. Written for the educated lay person, the jargon-free Internship Description must describe how the student intern will:
- benefit the host unit and the public good (e.g., which skill-sets, perspective, background, etc. can you provide);
- benefit from this “virtual” experience.
4. Statement of Commitment – Signed by an authorized representative of the host unit, the statement of commitment must demonstrate the unit’s need for an intern and should include general duties, duration, weekly time commitment, and additional compensation (if applicable). Bullet points will suffice.
5. Résumé or CV (Limit of 4 pages) – Include previous and current research experience, professional accomplishments (i.e., awards, honors, publications, presentations), and pertinent work experience.
6. One recommendation – Written by the student’s advisor/mentor or director of graduate studies, the letter should describe the anticipated benefits of the internship for the student’s graduate studies and/or the public good. The letter must also indicate that the student is making satisfactory progress in their graduate degree program. One paragraph will suffice.
The graduate student arranges for required documents to be sent to their Director of Graduate Studies (DGS). The DGS reviews the documents, endorses the application, and creates a single PDF file of the documents listed below in the order listed. The department or program emails the PDF to the Graduate College’s Box folder employing the following naming convention using the example of Tony Fauci, a PhD student in microbiology and immunology: PSGIA_MIM_FauciT.pdf
- Statement of financial need
- Internship description (limit of 1 page; completed by the student)
- Statement of commitment (from the host unit)
- Résumé or cv (limit of 4 pages; completed by the student)
- One (1) short recommendation
Submit via email to: Public_.email@example.com
Q1: Which terminal master’s degree programs are eligible?
A1: For this competition, UIC’s terminal master’s programs are: Architecture (MArch; MS); Architecture in Health Design (MS); City Design (MCD); Civic Analytics (MS); Design Criticism (MA); Biomedical Visualization (MS); Environmental & Urban Geography (MA); Forensic Science (MS); Forensic Toxicology (MS); French and Francophone Studies (MA); Graphic and Industrial Design (MDes); History (MAT); Latin American & Latino Studies (MA); Moving Image, New Media Arts, Photography, Studio Arts (MFAs); Museum and Exhibition Studies (MA); Occupational Therapy (MS); Spanish (MAT). Students in professional programs and/or programs not under the auspices of the Graduate College are ineligible.
Q2: Which units on campus are hiring?
A2: See the “Who is hiring interns?” tab for a partial list. There may be other units. Be resourceful.
Q3: Does it have to be a unit at UIC?
Q4: How does this differ from an assistantship?
A4: Linguistically dating to 17th century French medical training and conceptually akin to the medieval apprenticeship model, “to intern” is to gain practical experience in a particular field with our without pay. An assistantship is employment to perform proscribed duties. Harkening back to an earlier period of US history with high unemployment and embracing the university’s mission “to train professionals in a wide range of public service disciplines” and “to address the challenges and opportunities facing not only Chicago but all Great Cities of the 21st century,” the emphasis here is on experience and public service.
Page last updated: 4/28/20
DEADLINE Heading link
DEADLINE: 5 p.m., May 13, 2020 (EXTENDED)