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Summer Alumni Mentorships

"What can you do with an English major?"

No doubt you've heard this question -- whether it's from your friends, your family, or even a random person in a coffee shop who just asked you what you were majoring in. The truth is that Penn English majors do just about everything: some become famous writers (like Jennifer Egan) or musicians (like John Legend) or journalists (like Andrea Mitchell). But many, many others find their ways into careers that you might not immediately associate with literature and writing. The skills these English majors learned at Penn, they report, help them in all these varied professions. Whether it's running a non-profit organization, managing political campaigns, starting a new business, litigating cases, caring for patients, or designing an ad campaign, our alums tell us that they value the skills they honed in Fisher-Bennett Hall: critical thinking, careful analytical reading, persuasive rhetoric, in-depth research.

We want to connect our current majors with these alums, to help them explore the myriad possibilities for life after the Penn English major.

For that reason, we have launched an exciting new initiative: the Summer Alumni Mentorships. Each summer we will place several Penn English majors in internships in organizations run by Penn English alumni. Rising juniors, rising seniors, and those who have just graduated are eligible to apply. Each mentorship involves 20 hours a week for 8 weeks, and the student will receive an award from the English Department of $2500.

You can see descriptions of SAMs from previous years and comments from our student interns by clicking here.

Summer Alumni Mentorships are a valuable opportunity for both our students and our alumni. Students receive important training and put the skills they have learned to practical use, with money to cover their living expenses for the summer months. Alumni gain valuable assistance (at no expense to them), while helping to shape the career paths of future leaders and maintaining their connection with Fisher-Bennett Hall.

In order to apply for a Summer Alumni Mentorship, please give hard copies of the following to Loretta Williams (FBH 130) by noon on Friday, February 23, 2018:

  1. a brief statement of why you are interested in the position you are applying for (300 words maximum); you may only apply for one of the positions
  2. an unofficial transcript
  3. your resume
  4. the name of a faculty member who knows you well and is willing to provide a brief recommendation (300 words)


Summer 2018 mentorships:

1) The Lapin Group (Philadelphia) is a nonprofit fundraising consulting firm working with local, national and international clients. We work as partners with our clients to demonstrate the difference they will make in the lives of the people, families, and communities that they support. Our clients include: a local hospital, an Israel-based education nonprofit, an international film school, and a Boston Reform synagogue, among many others. The Lapin Group works together with nonprofits to provide comprehensive donor research, messaging, and donor cultivation. 

An intern with The Lapin Group will have responsibilities for donor research, assistance with grant writing, market research, and assistance with writing thought pieces to share with the nonprofit community. There is opportunity to understand the nonprofit landscape and how fundraising, development, and consulting work in real time and in practical ways. This position allows an English major to use their writing and creative thinking skills while learning about potential careers in fundraising and in the nonprofit sector.


2) Rising Tide Interactive (Washington, DC) is a data-driven digital advertising agency with a personal approach and a history of winning results for our clients. Over the past two election cycles, our work has helped Democrats win nine US Senate races and seven gubernatorial elections. We’ve helped win hard-fought ballot initiatives on critical issues like gay marriage and personhood. And we’ve helped raise tens of millions of dollars for campaigns and non-profit organizations. We work exclusively for political campaigns and non-profit organizations; we have no corporate clients. All of us at Rising Tide Interactive are strongly committed to using our knowledge of the Internet to create positive change – helping candidates and organizations who focus on promoting social justice.

This internship is an excellent opportunity to learn marketable skills in digital politics. Responsibilities include drafting and editing outbound marketing email and ad copy; building, sending, and monitoring blast emails; creating and updating email and ad performance reports/analytics; helping with ad development; performing market research; and assisting teams with client services.