Purposeful Work Internships

Through the Purposeful Work Internship Program, students explore interests, deepen skills, and build networks during the summer. The Purposeful Work approach to summer internships gives students the tools they need to deepen what they learn through their internship, as well as access to Bates-specific paid internships with core employers in diverse industries and locations, and the chance to apply for a summer stipend for any unpaid or low-paying internship. Through the program, students benefit from application feedback, goal setting, and reflection activities designed to help maximize their experiences, strengthen their resumes, and build connections. In response to the challenging economic and employment circumstances created by COVID-19 in 2020, staff at Purposeful Work made the strategic decision to open the Purposeful Work Internship Program to graduating seniors. We will continue this model for summer 2021 and members of the Class of 2021 are welcome to apply.

After an enriching and reflective experience, students return to campus ready to connect their summer experience to their studies and present on what they’ve learned during their time in a professional environment.

Components of the program include:

  • Comprehensive and personalized learning experience
  • Career Counseling and Online Modules that will help strengthen application materials through the Bates Center for Purposeful Work
  • Participation in a virtual cohort to encourage reflection and discussion of personalized goals with fellow Bates students

Already have a summer internship and need financial support?


**Given the recent shift in the exam schedule, we are going to extend the PW Competitive Funding deadline to Wednesday, 4/7 at 11:59 pm. **

To be eligible and apply for Purposeful Work 2021 Internship Competitive Funding:

You must submit all materials by the Funding Application deadline (March 8, 2021, April 7, 2021, May 3, 2021).

PW 2021 Virtual Internship Competitive Funding

In response to the unique and challenging circumstances created by COVID-19, and the uncertain nature of recruitment and hiring during this time, Purposeful Work has made the strategic decision to target funding towards virtual internships in summer 2021.

We recognize that organizations are considering both hybrid and in-person options again in 2021. We will continue to evaluate the public health and COVID-19 protocols and follow guidance from Bates and the CDC to inform our decisions in the best interest of our students’, health, safety, and professional growth.

If you are applying to an in-person internship, eligibility and funding will be contingent on you and your site supervisor signing an agreement (Memorandum of Understanding) that acknowledges your awareness of and compliance with workplace safety protocols, with particular emphasis on COVID-19 regulations and guidelines. Please continue to check this website for updated details.

Funding Amounts

Internship funding awards will range from $2000 to $4000 to support part-time and full-time internships ranging from 200 to 300 hours. Bates sophomores, juniors, and seniors (class of 2021) who have received an offer for an unpaid or low-paying internship will be eligible to apply for funds. Virtual internships will receive priority consideration given the current public health situation.

In order to support as many students as possible, partial awards are likely.

See the graphic below for eligibility instructions and click here for the application form on Handshake.

Looking for a summer internship?


Apply for paid summer internships with 60+ core employers across the country and world. Core employers prioritize hiring from Bates, giving you unique access to find out what it takes to run a hospital, mentor kids, learn to code, conduct ESG research…and more.

Purposeful Work internships with core employers are posted in Handshake and are updated frequently. Please check back to this page frequently for updated listings. In order to apply for any of these opportunities, you must complete the following eligibility requirements:

START the process by becoming eligible through the three required steps facilitated by the Bates Center for Purposeful Work.

Step 1: Complete SkillScan Express, if you haven’t already, and update your Career Interests in your Handshake profile.

Why? This online assessment helps you identify the skills you enjoy using every day and provides examples of career paths that require these skills. Your results may affirm what you know about yourself or inspire new ideas. Either way, your results will give you language to use in your resume, cover letters, and interviews communicating these skills to employers.

How? Click here. This online assessment only takes about 15 minutes. We encourage you to use the information learned to update “Your Career Interests” into your Handshake profile for optimum job search results. You are welcome to make an appointment with the staff at the Bates Center for Purposeful Work to debrief your results.

Step 2: Have your resume reviewed by the staff in the Bates Center for Purposeful Work.

This is something all students will be required to do each year to participate in our programs. For more information and helpful tips, please review our Resume and CV Guide.

Step 3: Have a cover letter draft reviewed by the staff in the Bates Center for Purposeful Work. For more information and helpful tips, please review our Cover Letter Guide.

Why? We’re here to help you put your best foot forward as an applicant, whether this is the first or the 50th time you’ve applied for an opportunity using a formal resume and cover letter.

Students are encouraged to use our daily drop-in hours to have their resume and cover letter reviewed virtually. For more information about drop-in hours, please visit the Center for Purposeful Work website.

After these steps are completed, the corresponding label will be added to students Handshake profile. Acquiring the final label: purposeful work internship program 2021/22 is the “green light” label which will allow you to apply to any of the Purposeful Work Internship Program opportunities. Please remember, you MUST be eligible (completed all required steps) AT LEAST one full business day before the application deadline. Plan ahead!!!

Step 1 —> Step 2 —> Step 3 = PW Label!

“resume reviewed 2021/22” + “cover letter reviewed 2021/22” + “skillscan complete 2021/22” = “purposeful work internship program 2021/22”

Visit the Summer Funded Opportunities website to learn about additional research grants and civic engagement fellowships available to Bates students.

Check out this resource page in Handshake for the latest information and deadlines.

Questions? Find answers here or email purposefulworkinternships@bates.edu.

Ryan Lizanecz ’20

Internship Site: Sachem Strategies
Location: Boston, Massachusetts

“Did I think I was going to find purpose during a global pandemic? Absolutely not. Did I – because of the Purposeful Work program? Absolutely. It was an amazing way to cap off my Bates experience.”

Click here to watch a video on Ryan’s experience!

Nicole Kumbula ’21

Internship Site: SUNY Cortland
Location: Cortland, New York

“Computational chemistry is a field not offered at Bates which I had always been interested in exploring and this was made possible.”

If you would like to learn more about Nicole’s experience, please follow us on Instagram @batespurposefulwork and then check out our Instagram Highlights here!