Record number of students apply for Princeternships

From working at an auction house to meeting government leaders, Princeton University undergraduates participating in the Office of Career Services' Princeternship program explore potential careers by getting an inside look at the jobs of alumni. Since the program was re-launched in 2008, hundreds of students have spent one-to-three days during their academic breaks at alumni workplaces across the country, with a record number of students applying recently for more than 70 Princeternships to be held over the winter session. 

Princeternship definition This year the number of student applications nearly doubled for the winter session (232 applications in 2012 and 463 applications in 2013) according to Rachel Jimenez, assistant director of student/alumni engagement programs and manager of the Princeternship program. The program enables undergraduate students to make professional connections and explore a range of industries, including architecture, arts, business, communications, engineering, health care, nonprofits, technology and more. The alumni hosts expose students to a "day in the life" of their profession by arranging for students to participate in board, client or patient meetings, office tours, seminars, case studies and projects.

Richard Gadsen, Class of 2013 at Pace Law School with host  Elizabeth Corwin, Class of 1989"The information gathered through this exposure to professions helps students as they consider the connection between their majors and careers, and try to decide which career is the right 'fit' for them," Director of Career Services Beverly Hamilton-Chandler said. "While some students come to Princeton with a specific career path in mind, most begin the process of exploring majors and careers while in school. The career development process is a journey that unfolds as students expand their knowledge and experiences, and continues throughout their time at Princeton and beyond."

The Princeternship program is one of the many ways that students and alumni can network through Career Services. More than 200 alumni participated in career education programs last year as hosts, guest speakers, panelists and mentors. 

"Student-alumni engagement is an important part of career exploration and the Princeton experience," said Rachel Jimenez, assistant director of student/alumni engagement programs, which is a new role designed to enhance and expand alumni partnerships with Career Services.

Alum host Bill Dwight,Class of 1984 at FamZoo created a thank you infographic for their Princetern Michelle ScarfsteinHamilton-Chandler said alumni are an important resource for both information and inspiration. "Each of their career journeys has been unique and their educational and extracurricular experiences, professional interests and goals have led them in different paths — some in directions they might have never imagined while in school," she said. "Alumni can also show students that they can have successful careers in areas that might not be related to their undergraduate major."

Noting the level of support from alumni given the challenging economic climate, Hamilton-Chandler added, "Now, more than ever, we appreciate the continued support of alumni who, through their dedication and involvement with their alma mater, are making a difference by sharing their insights and advice for current students as they navigate through the career exploration process."

In addition to student-alumni events, Career Services offers several programs that allow students to assess their interests and skills, strengthen their knowledge of career options, pursue their career goals, participate in internships, pursue graduate studies and gain employment after graduation.

As part of Career Services' continuing efforts, Hamilton-Chandler said the office hopes to expand the Princeternship program by increasing the number of alumni hosts, locations and student participants.

To maximize the learning experience, student participants write reflective blogs about what they discovered through their Princeternship experience — both about the career field and themselves. Given the popularity of the program and the record number of winter session applicants, Career Services is working hard to expand the program in the future to help meet demand. The next opportunity for students to apply to the Princeternship program will be for the spring break session. Watch the weekly CareerNews enewsletter for the announcement in January.  

View "Three Princeternship Stories" > 


By, Eva Kubu