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College of Arts and Sciences Newsroom

Department of English raises funds for paid internships as professional writers

By Allison Brace ’22

Five University of Dayton students will receive scholarships for their work with nonprofit organizations in the community through the generosity of donors to the 2022 One Day, One Dayton day of giving campaign.

The Department of English raised $3,245 on April 6 to support the new initiative, which funds students in its Writing Internship Program who take unpaid internships to gain professional experience with community organizations. 

The department has placed students with Big Brothers Big Sisters, Crayons to Classrooms and the Dayton Art Institute, among others, for more than 15 years. However, students are increasingly in need of financial support to pursue these opportunities.

“Many of our partnering organizations are in the nonprofit sector, so these experiences are often unpaid,” said Nicky Adams, principal lecturer and Writing Internship Program coordinator. “The Flyer Write Intern Scholarship Fund will support these students by offsetting related costs, including transportation to work sites and time away from their paid part-time positions.Our internship program allows English majors to develop as professional writers and learn about targeted messaging in a variety of formats, preparing them to communicate confidently within the communities and organizations they enter after graduation.” 

The idea for the campaign is rooted in creating more equitable experiences for students seeking writing internships. The funds will go to students who choose to use their skills to serve these community organizations. Donations for the scholarship were accepted through a Flyer Funder campaign website.

Flyer Funder is the official crowdfunding platform of the University of Dayton. Crowdfunding offers the Flyer Nation an opportunity to provide support to the colleges, units, programs and projects at UD that are most important to them. The English department elected to connect their fundraising campaign to the University’s annual day of giving.

Adams and Patrick Thomas, associate professor and Department of English undergraduate studies director, were selected in February to participate in the Flyer Funder campaign as a part of One Day, One Dayton with the support of Andrew Slade, professor and department chair.

“To take on an unpaid internship really poses some challenges to students,” Thomas said. “Internships are very time-intensive and really important to have, but what you give up to take an unpaid internship is often too much. As UD is really looking to advance equity of opportunities for students across the board, funding internships in some way or another is really vital to give students professional experiences while not asking them to sacrifice financially.”

The first of the Flyer Write scholarships will be distributed during the 2022-23 academic year. 

“Being able to work and study within a professional environment that allowed me to utilize my skills and interests was amazing,” said Charles O’Kane, a senior English major from Chicago. “I think it would be incredibly impactful for every English major to pursue an intern experience like I did, because there’s so much to learn and practice.”

Thomas hopes for this to become a legacy project so that the funds will be available for students for years to come.

“Every student should have an internship and any way we can get students to those opportunities is a worthwhile effort,” Thomas said. “These internships are the only way students can see an authentic real-world impact of their writing and the value that their skills bring to the organization. In my eyes, there is no better investment than our students and we are thankful that our donors see that, too.” 

For more information, visit the Department of English and Writing Internship Program websites.

Photo (left to right): Dayton Literary Peace Prize (DLPP) Intern Amariá Jones, author Jennifer Eberhardt and student Maya Drayton

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