Purposeful Work Internships

Through the Purposeful Work Internship Program, students explore interests, deepen skills, and build networks during the summer.  In 2020, in response to the challenging economic and employment circumstances created by COVID-19, we have made the strategic decision to open this year’s Purposeful Work Internship Program to SENIORS. It is typically open to first-years through juniors. The Purposeful Work approach to summer internships gives students 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, you will benefit from application feedback, goal setting, and reflection activities designed to help you maximize your experience, strengthen your resume, and build your connections.

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?

PW 2020 Virtual Internship Competitive Funding 

In response to the challenging economic circumstances created by COVID-19, and the difficulties associated with recruitment and hiring during this time, Purposeful Work has made the strategic decision to move almost all internships we are funding in summer 2020 to a virtual format. We will also consider seniors as part of this year’s Purposeful Work Internship Program. Given the limited pool of available funding, this means that we will unfortunately not be able to consider first years this year. 

Internship funding awards will range from $1000- $2000 for part-time internships. For example: 75-150 hours are the maximum amounts available to eligible sophomore, junior, and class of 2020 students at Bates College who have received a virtual internship offer for an unpaid or low-paying internship. 

In order to support as many students as possible, this year especially, partial amounts will be potentially and likely awarded. Eligible students must apply through this Handshake posting to be considered for a Purposeful Work internship funding award.

2020 Program details:

  • The 2020 Purposeful Work Internship Program will be almost exclusively virtual.
  • We will not consider submissions that involve international travel or state-to-state travel.
  • There will be three deadlines: April 27, May 11, May 26, each with a separate round of funding. 
  • A funding selection committee composed of Bates staff will review all application materials and select award recipients. This committee is the final arbiter of how much money will be allocated per student.  
  • Funding is limited and financial need is one of several factors in awarding funding. Refer to the rubric below. 
  • While students who have been awarded PW funding through this process in a previous summer may apply, priority is given to students who have not received funding through this process from the Purposeful Work Internship Program in the past.
  • Students will be awarded funding based on the number of hours confirmed for the internship.
  • Prior to participation, students are required to:
    • Sign all PW paperwork electronically.
    • Attend a virtual internship orientation.
    • During the summer, students will be required to:
    •  Actively participate in weekly online reflection activities.
    •  Complete three brief online surveys (pre-, mid-, and post-internship).
    •  Prepare a presentation due within one month of the end of the internship. The format will be decided upon in consultation with PW staff.
    •  Write a thank you letter to the donor who made their internship award possible.

To be eligible and apply for Purposeful Work 2020 Virtual Internship Competitive Funding:

You must submit all materials by the Funding Application deadline (April 27,  May 11, or May 26). 

Only complete applications received by the deadline will be considered. Apply on Handshake!

Looking for a summer internship?

Apply for paid summer internships with 70+ 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, market chocolate, conduct clinical 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. 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 2019/20 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 2019/20” + “cover letter reviewed 2019/20” + “skillscan complete 2019/20” = “purposeful work internship program 2019/20”

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

Frequently Asked Questions

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

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

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



Varun (Sunny) Piplani ’21

Internship Site: Octagon Sports Agency

Location: Stamford, Connecticut

“As someone who dreams of becoming an agent one day, this internship was a dream come true. Octagon represents many high-profile athletes such as Michael Phelps, Simone Biles, and Aly Reisman. I developed marketing pitches and social media campaigns for athlete tie-ins and endorsement opportunities for current clients.”

Jayde Biggert ’20

Internship Site: Maine Immigrants’​ Rights Coalition (MIRC)

Location: Portland, Maine

“My time at MIRC enabled me to find ways of connecting my academics to my community engagement work in Lewiston and produce a final thesis about best practices in trauma intervention services for refugee and asylum seekers in Maine.”

Previous Summer Intern Highlights