The School of Information this week announced a new grant program to support MIMS students who take summer internships with non-profit and governmental organizations.
With the cost of graduate education rising at both public and private universities, there is more and more pressure for students to pursue high-paying careers in private industry. The new grant program aims to preserve access to the master's degree for students interested in public service.
“Our students and alumni are already doing amazing work in governments and non-profits around the world; we want to be sure that continues to be true in the future,” said School of Information dean AnnaLee Saxenian. “We also take seriously our mission as a public institution. We believe in expanding access to information, and this grant program is just part of the School's commitment to the public good.”
The school will provide a limited number of grants of up to $6000 for master's students during the summer between their first and second years of the master's program, when they work in internships in non-profit organizations, governmental agencies, and non-governmental organizations in the U.S. and abroad.
“Many students come to the I School with backgrounds in non-profit and public interest organizations,” observed Meg St. John, the school's director of admissions and student affairs. “We hope that this grant will help to keep our degree program accessible to these students.”
First-year student Monica Rosenberg is one of those students; before starting the MIMS degree, she was a program manager for the National Parks Conservation Association. “The decision to take that job cost me a 30% pay cut, but I've never regretted it,” said Rosenberg. “I enjoy working on a mission I care deeply about. Professionally, I want to bring the information revolution to technically under-served non-profits. Non-profit organizations should not be relegated to third-rate IT resources.”
Heather Ford, now a second-year master's student, was able to pursue a non-profit internship during summer 2010; she worked with the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) in a position funded by a Google Policy Fellowship. “I wouldn't have been able to do the work that I did with the EFF on reforming international copyright if it were not for the Google fellowship, so I'm thrilled that the I School is offering this grant program,” said Ford. “I School students come to non-profit organizations with really critical skills. We're trained to think strategically and critically about the role of technology in society, and we offer cutting-edge technical and practical skills as well. This is a real boon for non-profits and the I School alike.”