Updated 1/24/2021

Documents and Instructions

Check the lists of earlier projects for inspiration and examples of Mentors and project ideas. These lists can help you get excited about the possibilities for Exploration and Launch Summer.

We're revising the timelines and processes for Summer 2021, given the very short semesters. Click on the appropriate Summer to see the documents you need.

November 6   Name of Exploration Mentor here
December 1    Exploration Summer First Proposal Draft here Submit January 20      Exploration Summer Second Proposal Draft here
March 1          Exploration Summer Third Proposal Draft + budget
April 12           Exploration Summer Final Proposal Draft + budget

January 20      Launch Coach here
March 5          Launch Summer First Proposal Draft
April 12           Launch Summer Final Proposal Draft + budget


Recent Scholar Projects

Exploration Summer Projects 2012 2013 2014  2015 2016  2017  2018 2019

Synthesis/Launch Summer Projects 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017  2018  2019

Exploration Summer 2021 Mentor and Proposal Materials

This document explains how to choose an Exploration Mentor

Share this with a potential Mentor (optional but recommended)

November 6, 2020: Submit name of Exploration Mentor here
December 1, 2020: Submit First Proposal Draft here
January 20, 2021:  Submit Second Proposal Draft here
March 1:  Third Proposal Draft* + Budget*
April 12:   Final Draft* + Budget*

*Subject to late fees

Launch Summer 2021 Coach and Proposal Materials

Fall 2020: Have a conversation with a Robertson alum about Launch Summer

December 1, 2020: Record your conversation with a Robertson Alum here

Share this document with a potential Launch Coach (optional but strongly recommended)

January 20:  Submit name of Launch Coach here

March 5:  First Proposal draft* + budget*
April 12:  Second Proposal draft* + budget*

*Subject to late fees

The following materials and dates have not been updated for Summer 2021:

Launch Summer Overview 2020 (this is a document!)

February 28, 2020: Launch Proposal first draft (follow these instructions--you will submit a Word document) and budget draft due
April 10: Final Launch Packet due

Resources and Opportunities


Check the Summer 2021 page for remote opportunities as they are identified.

Transferable Skills Worksheet     This will help you organize and articulate the skills you have and those who you want to gain through Summers.


Passed deadlines:  Opportunities for Summer 2021

  • The Volpe National Transportation Systems Center has released their applications for summer internships.  Travis Crayton (UNC ’13) works there now after doing a Launch Summer with them, and senior Rahi Patel (UNC ’21) is on that same path.  Travis writes, “As you are aware, we were able to offer remote internships for summer 2020, and regardless of how things are with COVID in summer 2021, I fully expect we will be able to support internships either remotely again or in-person at our office in Cambridge, MA, if the situation has improved by then.  I know applying for internships so early can be a bit of a barrier, but I highly encourage any Robertson interested in gaining experience in government and/or transportation specifically apply. Scholars interested in policy, engineering, economics, computer science, and/or data science are all good fits for the variety of work we do at the Volpe Center. I also highly encourage scholars, in this time of uncertainty, to apply with us, as we can offer some certainty in that our internships offers are solid and reliable for summer 2021.”  Application deadline November 10.
  • Public Policy and International Affairs Program, Summer InstituteInfo session 10/29!  Application deadline November 15. This is a really good program.
  • Aakash Thumaty (UNC '20) recommends this Product Management internship from SalesForce.

Third-party providers (examples)

Connect 1-2-3
Cross-Cultural Solutions
Foundation for Sustainable Development Bolivia
Hope Worldwide
MENTE Argentina
Operation Groundswell
Projects Abroad

Summer 2020 Opportunities

American Federation of Teachers has an interesting list of summer internships, with topics such as Information Technology and International Affairs.  Application deadline 3/1/20.

Annunciation House in El Paso has a ten-week summer internship program to work with refugees. Application deadline 4/25/20.

BASF. Amelia Paulsen (UNC '23) had a conversation on the plane with the head of Seed Technology and Analytics who was on a recruiting trip. He's looking for grad students and beyond to join his team and asked Amelia to help spread the word to stats departments etc. He spends his time in Belgium and RTP. This might be an excellent opportunity for a Launch Summer Scholar with an analytics background. If you contact him, let him know you received his info via Amelia: Rene van Schaik, Head of Seed Technology and Analytics, rene.van-schaik@basf.com, BBCC - Innovation Center Gent, Technologiepark - Zwijnaarde 101, 9052 Gent, Belgium

Bellweather Education Partners, a national nonprofit dedicated to underserved children, is looking for summer interns in Policy and Evaluation. Jagir Patel (UNC '13) recommended this excellent opportunity, and Jeremy Knight (UNC '13) is working there now.

Bike and Build offers a unique way to bike across the country in support of affordable housing. Working with this group would definitely meet the "physical challenge" requirement for Exploration Summer!

City Internships has opportunities in many disciplines around the world. Apply here.

DistributeAid:  Kyle Ryan and Jake Sheridan (2021) recommend this network that supports refugee groups.  This group is strongly interested in supporting a Robertson Summer 2020.

Finance.  This page from Duke has excellent resources, including a guide to summer internships.

The Last Girl Project at the Kenan Institute for Ethics is a three year multi-sited study that examines the contemporary dynamics of domestic minor sex trafficking in the US. This project will interview youth who have experienced domestic minor sex trafficking and stakeholders on their work with this population.  All backgrounds in research (even none) are welcome. Fieldwork (all expenses paid) will be conducted across the U.S. during the summer for 8 weeks, with the possibility of continuing fieldwork in the Fall and Winter months. Researchers will be trained in qualitative and quantitative research methods and analysis throughout the Spring semester. Researchers will be collecting data in teams of 4, potentially working in Atlanta, Philadelphia, and Nashville summer 2020.  Apply by 2/14/2020https://forms.gle/wjpGsoGPpdPsJxxq7 

The Lord's Acre (near Asheville), devoted to increasing community strengths by growing and sharing food, has summer internships.

National Parks Service/Yellowstone National Park.  Lawton Ives (2021) strongly recommends this organization for Scholars in science fields as well as others.

One Virginia 2021, a group that studies gerrymandering, is looking for a summer intern and would really like a Robertson. Annie Evans (2021) worked for them.

Openspace Ventures.  Matt Smith (2021) strongly recommends this venture capital firm in Singapore.

Peachy is a start-up in NYC (founded by the wife of a Robbie alum, Kenneth Barshop, below), and Abby Gay (2017), head of Growth Strategy, is looking for a summer intern. They need "anyone from pre-med to marketing to design to tech." Email Abby to learn more.

PEAK6    Abby Gay (2017) is setting up a summer internship with this investment firm in NYC.  Here's the application for a 2-week boot camp in Chicago, strongly recommended by Abby.  They also have two summer internship programs in Chicago for rising senior women--technology and trading experience

Public Consulting Group provides management consulting in the public sector. Internships are available in a number of areas, such as Consulting, Technology, and Corporate Operations.

RTI International offers domestic and international internships in social and lab science, engineering, and international development, such as this one in Government Relations and this one in International Project Management.  This is an excellent internship program--I attend their end-of-summer presentations every year.

Student Action with Farmworkers, Into the Fields Internship.  SAF places college students with organizations that serve, organize, or advocate for farmworker justice including migrant health clinics, legal aid, community-based organizations and Migrant Education programs. Students receive excellent training in documentary work and activism.  Watch this documentary from Dateline Australia. Deadline 2/10/20.

Tech or social entrepreneurship in India?  Vishnu Ramachandran (2019) is working on a unique project with Deshpande Startups (he's building an agritech accelerator program!) and is interested in working with Scholars on positions there or with other organizations (e.g., Desphande Foundation in Boston, Centre for Internet and Society in Bangalore and Delhi). Contact him!

US Trade and Development Agency internships  apply by 1/31/20

Unite for Sight supports eye clinics worldwide by investing human and financial resources in their social ventures to eliminate patient barriers to eye care. The Global Impact Corps provides year-round health care delivery in Ghana, Honduras, and India and offers summer fellowships. 

Urban Education Leaders Internship Program in Washington, DC gives summer interns a chance to learn about managing an urban school district.  Here's the blog.

Kenneth Barshop: I am a UNC '12 graduate who went to medical school at University of Chicago, internal medicine residency at Brigham and Women's Hospital and have stayed affiliated with Harvard as a fellow in gastroenterology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. I'd love to serve as a resource for past and current scholars, and could potentially be able to connect any pre-medical candidates with some summer research opportunities if they were interested in coming to Boston. Contact: kbarshop@gmail.com

Passed Deadlines

American Dance Festival, an internationally acclaimed summer-long festival that takes place in Durham, has Production and Arts Administration internships --application deadline 2/7/20. They also have really interesting employment options for the summer, such as Festival Services Coordinator and Video Producer and Editor. Those deadlines are 2/3/20 unless the positions are filled earlier.

Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Summer Program is fantastic.  Application due 2/4/20.

Community Empowerment Fund (CEF) of Chapel Hill sponsors summer internships that address many of the community issues Scholars face Community Summer.  Apply here by 1/20/20.

Critical Language Scholarship.Sponsored by the US Department of State, the CLS Program is an effort to expand the number of Americans studying and mastering critical foreign languages. Students of diverse disciplines and majors are encouraged to apply. Rachel Anderson (Duke '16) and Joe Calder (UNC '16) received this scholarship for summer study. Application deadline is 11/19/19.

Department of Labor, International Relations Internship --research and analyses of child labor, forced labor, and human trafficking issues   Apply by 1/29/20

Elemental Excelerator, an accelerator supporting "startups tackling urgent challenges in food & agriculture, water, energy, and mobility" is looking for interns for Hawaii and California partners. Some interesting options in marketing, engineering, and the sciences! Application deadline 2/1/2020.

Humanity in Action Fellowship  For scholars interested in human rights, history, international relations, conflict resolution through a collection of outstanding programs. . . ask Rachel Anderson (Duke '16) about her experience. Application is here.

John Lewis Fellowship. In partnership with The National Center for Civil and Human Rights, Inc., Humanity in Action will convene a group of 30 American and European university students and recent graduates for an intensive program about diversity and civil rights in America. Trey Walk (Duke '19) did this in 2017. Application deadline is January 5, 2020.

The Margolis Center for Health Policy at Duke has a great summer internship program.  The application is due January 22, 2020.

Oliver Wyman. Scholars interested in a summer internship in financial consulting should send a resume and cover letter to Professor Emma Rasiel by late December. Selected Scholars will be notified in January about Skype interviews. Recent Oliver Wyman Scholars include Mary Ashley Murrah, Evan Rodgers, Brock Schoenfeld, and Michael Zhang.

Wall Street Journal.  Matthew King (2018) shared this info.  The Editorial Page is seeking juniors, seniors or recent graduates who intend to pursue a career in journalism for 10-week paid summer internships.  All materials must be received by December 1, 2019.

Summer 2019 Opportunities (past)

American Enterprise Institute, Summer Honors Program for public policy has an early decision application deadline of ---.. Andrew Sugrue (UNC '11) strongly recommends this program and is happy to talk with any Scholar about this or public policy in general.

*The Brookings Institution, a non-profit public policy organization, will post summer internship applications January 2019. Interns work on research (Economic Studies, Foreign Policy, Global Economy and Development, Governance Studies, and Metropolitan Policy) or in departments such as communications, human resources and central operations management.

*The Carbonshed Lab at UNC needs students interested in hydrology, environmental science or studies, geography, geology, biology, freshwater ecology, biogeochemistry, soil science, and related STEM fields to spend the summer at the Cayambe Coca Ecological Reserve and National Park in northern Ecuador as part of a research team.

*Center for American Progress, a nonpartisan policy institute , has summer internships.

*DAAD Research Internships in Science and Engineering (RISE)  Visrut Sudhakar (UNC '19) is the most recent Scholar to intern with this group. Application and internship database are here.

*New America Foundation, a social policy think tank, offers a number of positions, including Cybersecurity Initiative Intern.

Passed deadlines for Summer 2019

*Public Policy and International Affairs Program Fellowship. The PPIA supports students interested in graduate work in public policy, international affairs, or other fields related to leadership in public service. The fellowship begins with a seven-week summer institute.   Application deadline 11/1/18

*Robert Wood Johnson Foundation offers summer internships in philanthropy. Application deadline 3/10/19.

*Rosedale Freedom Project   Incredible opportunity for Scholars interested in civil rights, experiential education, and leadership development. Approximately 30 minutes from Cleveland, MS.  Apply here by 1/30.

*Z Smith Reynolds offers paid, research-intensive summer internships.  Application due February

Summer 2018 Opportunities (past)

*Caroline Whistler (Duke '08) collected an exciting list of internship opportunities from Robertson alumni:  Jeremy Knight (UNC '13) Students for Education Reform;  Andrew Sugrue (UNC '12)   Avenir Growth Capital; Julian Borrey (Duke '15)  Coinbase;  Grace Oathout (Duke '16) Tripod Media;

* Catalyst is looking for summer associates. Ask Maya Durvasula (2018) about her summer with them.  Deadline 3/25. Rolling acceptances so apply early.

*Bellweather Education Partners is looking for a summer intern. Jagir Patel (UNC '13) passed on this excellent opportunity in DC. Jeremy Knight (UNC '13) is working at Bellweather so may be a resource for applicants.

*Bellweather Education Partners is a national nonprofit consulting firm devoted to improving educational and life outcomes for underserved children. Summer internships are available.  

*Roosevelt Institute/Summer Academy.  This is an intensive leadership development program that aims to bring those committed to positive change together to enable them with the tools, experiences, and community to be powerful actors in the policy process. Ask Blake O'Connor (UNC '14) about his experience with this group.  Roosevelt Institute Summer Internships are available. 

*American Institutes for Research, a major social science research and evaluation organization.   (11/3/17)

* Mathematica, policy research (11/3/17)

* National Council on Teacher Quality (11/3/17)

* Council on the Great City Schools       (11/3/17)

* National Education Association (11/3/17)

* Council of Chief State School Officers (11/3/17)