Question of the Week: Summer Internships During a Pandemic

Nov. 6, 2020

Question: Hi HPA – Any advice on how to plan for the summer, knowing that we don’t know what’s going to be happening with the pandemic?
Answer: We’ve talked with the staff at the Princeton Internships for Civic Service (PICS) and International Internship Program (IIP), which are two of the most popular prehealth internship options. Both offices are working with internship providers on remote opportunities, as well as some that will meet in person. The Summer Health Professions Education Program (SHPEP), one of our favorite opportunities for first-years and sophomores, is planning on a fully remote experience that will still give you an inside perspective on life at a professional school. All three of these programs have placements that vary in scope and duties, so expect to spend a few hours reading placement descriptions to determine what might best fit your interests. PICS and IIP are both offering prehealth-specific information sessions to highlight some of their opportunities in the coming weeks (their 12/7 deadline is among the earlier internship deadlines we’ve seen – plan accordingly)!
Outside of these three programs, we’re starting to curate our list of internship opportunities. So far, some are planning for remote, some for in-person, but many have not yet been updated for the summer. Keep an eye on Vitals for listings as we learn about them.
You may also want to stay closer to home for the summer. With some creativity, it’s very possible to create a summer plan that will help you develop your competencies without an official “internship” program. Working at a local summer program with an underserved community could demonstrate your service orientation and improve your cultural competency; a part-time job interfacing with the public (retail, food service, etc.) could demonstrate your reliability and hone your oral communication skills. Any job, full-time or part-time, could be combined with a weekly volunteer shift at a local healthcare facility (if it’s safe to do so) to help you gain insight into a clinical environment and help you develop your “bedside manner.” You may be able secure funding for local opportunities through Princeton programs like the Bogle Fellowship (for first-years) or Dale Summer Award (for sophomores) – check SAFE regularly for funding opportunities. Designing your own opportunity can demonstrate vision and initiative, and let you follow your own passions in a way that might not be possible in a pre-established internship.

QOTW 2019: PHY 109-110 for Premeds
QOTW 2018: Summer Research at Princeton vs. Elsewhere