The Public Interest Fellowship Program’s (PIFP) tagline explains its mission: Developing the Next Generation of Nonprofit Leaders. This goal is accomplished through the creation of summer and yearlong fellowships for Colorado College students with nonprofits in Colorado.
This year, there are 40 positions available with over 30 organizations in Colorado Springs and Denver, such as The Bell Policy Center, TESSA, and Colorado Consumer Health Initiative, which helped create the “Got Insurance?” ads you may have seen. The positions are competitive; students typically have a one in three chance of landing a fellowship.
Along with exposure to the nonprofit sector, students are also matched up with CC alumni mentors who are working with nonprofits. These internships are funded by CC. The summer placements, June through August, receive a $3,500 stipend, and yearlong positions, beginning summer 2014, receive $23,000 and health benefits.
One student, Chris Edmonds ’14, was a fellow this summer with the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) Health program, and has been using the mentor program to make future job connections. Within the large NCSL organization, Edmonds was still able to participate in various important projects.
One such project was filming a video in Wyoming about telehealth (e.g., using Skype for a quick doctors appointment) in rural communities. While speaking on a PIFP panel, Edmonds did acknowledge that there was still a lot of time behind a desk in his position, but he had an overall positive experience.
The application process for a PIFP position is unique because students first apply through Colorado College. By Jan. 29, students must submit their top five choices of organizations, along with the typical job application paperwork, all of which can be found on the CC website. Students then participate in pre-qualifying interviews with the alumni committee on Feb. 7and 8. Students that are pre-qualified then go on to interview at the host organizations and are generally informed of offers before spring break.
In the PIFP information sessions, the Career Center made it very clear that they are not involved in the selection process, but rather work to help all interested applicants. Everyone working in the career center, including student interns, is qualified to work with students on applications.
Students can even apply if they are studying off-campus this spring semester. Senior Amber Burkhart was abroad in India while conducting her PIFP interviews, and she then spent her summer as a fellow with ClinicNet, a centralized voice for Colorado’s clinics. Because of the small size of ClinicNet, Burkhart was one of four employees and was given real responsibilities, such as organizing a statewide event.
Students of all classes and majors are encouraged to apply for summer fellowship positions, and yearlong fellowships are available to CC 2014 graduates.