The Bucknell Public Interest Program (BPIP) held a luncheon event on Sept. 11 to celebrate the 39 students who were awarded stipends of $3,000 each to complete unpaid internships in the fields of public policy, social work, and community service this past summer. The program was founded in 2000 to increase student interest in that area of work. The stipend was instituted in 2004 to allow students to pursue opportunities that arose in those fields so that they might later pursue a career in public service.
Marilyn Shull, the director of the program, noted that many students would be unable to complete unpaid internships without the program. “I spent about one-quarter of the stipend on Metro costs alone to get to work, so I’m very thankful I had the opportunity to receive funding to aid in work-related costs like that,” Zoe Lindahl ’20, a recipient of the stipend, said.
Shull mentioned at the luncheon that the stipends are funded entirely by alumni and parent donations. With 39 students receiving stipends, the program was able to award $117,000 in total. Since the founding of the program in 2004, 436 students have received stipends, totaling more than $1.9 million over the course of 14 years.
“To run the program is an honor. My favorite part about it is introducing the students to the field of public service, and supporting their interest in the nonprofit and service sectors. To me, at the end of the day, it’s all about service and contributing to the common good,” Shull said.
Barclay Wohlstetter ’19, another recipient of the stipend, worked at Inglis, an organization that advocates for people with severe mental and physical disabilities, in addition to providing a housing program with an ultimate goal of encouraging independent living. “The best part was seeing how these individuals compose themselves with so much positivity, drive, and passion. They are differently-abled and have goals like anyone else,” Wohlstetter said.
Applications to receive a grant from BPIP for the summer of 2019 will be due in March. More information regarding the program and application process will be available in January.