UConn Extension program offers paid summer internships


Students get paid and gain hands-on experience at an in-state Extension office location of their choosing, according to the program’s website. (Amar Batra/The Daily Campus)

Applications are open until Feb. 25 for the University of Connecticut’s Extension paid summer  internship program.

Students get paid and gain hands-on experience at an in-state Extension office location of their choosing, according to the program’s website.

The main areas of study focused on in the Extension program are nutrition, marketing, sustainability, research, youth education, agribusiness and community development. Students work for approximately 20 hours per week over a nine week summer period in a career-oriented role, according to the website.

The internships chosen for Extension, which is housed in UConn’s College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources (CAHNR), are designed for target audiences and communities, Dr. Michael O’Neill, associate dean and associate director of UConn Extension, said.

“If you scroll through the internships available, more than half involve some component related to youth development,” O’Neill said.

Many of the program’s internships work through 4H, a youth education organization that has worked with agricultural colleges around the state for over 100 years, O’Neill said. By working through programs such as 4H, Extension relates to areas where they believe there is need for additional education in the state connected to specific topics.   

“We work to identify areas of need,” O’Neill said. “We work with Extension staff and they identify an audience or area where, if a student were able to come and help provide support, it would enhance educational opportunities for the state.”

UConn Extension currently has 17 different internship opportunities around the state listed on their website. Paul Gagnon, a career consultant for CAHNR, is Extension’s “matchmaker,” O’Neill said.

O’Neill said part of the program’s goal is to ensure participants need not travel too far from where they live to work. There are two elements in choosing the proper internship for a student: the topic area and the geography.

“We try to connect students with opportunities in places they’ll be living during the summer,” O’Neill said.

As far as criteria in applicants, O’Neill said the main focus is on an interest in the area of work and a willingness to learn.

Extension intends to both offer career experience to students and to help educate the community, O’Neill said.

“First, we want students to have internship experience, period, any internship,” O’Neill said. “We find through working … with students who have internship experience, if it’s part of their transcript, it gives them a big head start. We want students to get as many (internships) as possible here at UConn.”

The second goal of the program is to provide the opportunity to learn about UConn Extension, O’Neill said. O’Neill described Extension as an “outward facing organization,” with the goal to help communities outside of the campus.

“We focus on citizens beyond the campus, because all students will be citizens beyond campus in few years,” O’Neill said.

Abby Brone is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at abigail.brone@uconn.edu.

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