Alumnus Bequest Opens Up a World Of Possibilities for Business Students
Most business students spent last summer working in seasonal jobs in their hometowns or serving in business internships in the United States. But thanks to an endowment supporting international experiences, Caitlin Newman ’09 spent nine weeks interning at a microfinance bank in Uganda.
There, Newman lived with a Muslim host family on a banana plantation and worked at an institution where there were no computers—only manual records.
The cost of her travels, as well as a stipend for her work, was covered by the Eric Stein Fund for International Experience, which supports internships for business students through an endowment given to the university by Eric Stein ’69 just three weeks before his death in 2006. Without the scholarship, “studying abroad might have been possible, but daunting,” Newman says. “The only real reason I was able to go was because of this scholarship.”
Newman received the internship through the Foundation for Sustainable Development, a San Francisco–based organization that connects students with grassroots efforts to combat poverty in developing countries. Newman applied what she’s learned as a business administration major by leading workshops that taught villagers the importance of saving money and developing sustainable sources of income, as well as the opportunity to get loans.
More important, the internship allowed Newman to combine her business skills with her real passion: serving the world’s underprivileged populations. At Susquehanna, Newman is involved with the annual Fair Trade Festival, which benefits artisans and farmers around the world.
“The internship helped me to meet and fall in love with the people I work for here. Now I have personal stories about how people in Uganda are affected by what we do here,” she says.
So far, the Eric Stein fund has allowed 11 students to intern at businesses in countries around the globe, including the United Kingdom, Uganda, Australia and the Czech Republic, says Ronald Keefer, director of business internships. Since travel and related expenses are included in the Stein Fellowship, Keefer expects an increasing amount of student interest each year.
The Sigmund Weis School of Business already has student commitments for the summer of 2009 in Sweden, India and Germany, and several other countries are being considered. “Not a lot of schools have programs like this,” Keefer says, “and not everyone gets the chance to work abroad.”
Contributing writers to the People & Places section are Sondra Zanetto ’09 and Julie Buckingham ’09.