Tisch Summer Fellows program diversifies placement opportunities for 2018

Courtesy Tisch College Two Tisch Summer Fellows, juniors Gabriella Roncone and Eva Kahan, pose for a photo with former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright during an internship at the Pentagon in the summer of 2016 (Courtesy Tisch College)

The Tisch Summer Fellows (TSF) program, which provides Tufts students with 10-week summer internships, is diversifying its placement options in summer 2018, according to Jennifer McAndrew, director of communications, strategy and planning at the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life, and Maggie McMorrow, the TSF program administrator.

The Tisch College website states that the program currently offers domestic placements in Washington D.C., Boston and New York, as well as some international placements in India and for participant-designed projects all over the world. The TSF fellowships are available for undergraduate, graduate and professional school students.

Some new opportunities in the 2018 program involve positions at the American Ballet Theatre and disability advocacy organization YAI in New York City. In Boston, positions include The Office of Boston City Council President Michelle Wu for graduate students and MassHousing, McAndrew explained.

McMorrow spoke about the ways in which this diversification ties in with the overall mission of the Tisch College.

“We want all Tufts students to receive the best civic education in the world. This means providing opportunities for all students — regardless of field of study or intended career — to explore pathways to civic engagement and careers in the public good,” McMorrow told the Daily in an email. “Tisch Summer Fellowships are a vital part of that mission.”

According to McAndrew, the program was founded about 12 years ago with the name “Active Citizenship Summer” (ACS). It was renamed the Tisch Summer Fellows program in 2014. She said that the number of fellows on the program has increased rapidly, from 80 in 2016 to 126 in 2017.

McMorrow said the program has added placements in the arts, research, health and public sectors in recent years. She stressed that Tisch College partnered with the Tufts University School of Medicine, The Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and The Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy to provide varied opportunities for students.

“Through those collaborations, Tufts graduate and professional students worked at organizations such as the U.S. State Department, The Bronx Zoo, the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, City Harvest, and the Southern Jamaica Plain Health Center,” McMorrow said.

McAndrew said that specific placements are sponsored by Tufts alumni, individual donors and grants from the Tufts Alumni Association. According to McMorrow, the TSF program is funded in part by a gift from the James and Judith K. Dimon Foundation, established by Judy and Jamie Dimon (A ’78).

McAndrew mentioned TSF’s India program, which places undergraduates at the Bodhi School, 3 hours outside of Hyderabad, highlighting that all expenses on the program are covered and that fellows are given a stipend.

She also emphasized that all fellows gain work experience and exposure to professional contacts.

“Another important part of the program is the mentorship and networking opportunities with alumni in the respective cities,” McAndrew said. “For example, a student may be working in Capitol Hill, but will also get to interact with and learn from other alumni in D.C. as well.”

Eleni Scurletis, a sophomore, was a Tisch Summer Fellow at Madison Square Boys & Girls Club in New York City in the summer of 2017. She said that when she reached out to the professionals with whom she worked, she found that they were more than willing to give her career guidance.

“I gained valuable skills, as I now have a deep understanding of corporate and individual giving, event planning, and marketing and communications in the nonprofit world,” she told the Daily in an email.

McAndrew said that these connections often benefit students later in the employment process.

“Sometimes these placements result in full time jobs after graduation, either directly through the organization or indirectly through alumni and other connections that students make,” McAndrew said.