2024 Derian Summer Internship: Faculty-Mentored, Community-Engaged Research

The Derian Summer Internship is a faculty-mentored and community-informed research internship program administered by ProCES.

Derian supports collaborations between faculty, undergraduate interns, and community experts. Interns support faculty in discipline-specific or discipline-spanning research or practicing artistry that is being conducted in collaboration with, and that directly benefits, locally, nationally, or internationally-located community partners and that facilitates the growth of students as community-engaged scholars. In addition to working directly with Derian faculty mentors and community partners, interns will participate in regular ProCES programming designed to scaffold the experience through community-engaged scholarship methods workshops and reflective practice. Over the course of the eight-week, 35 hour-per-week internship, students will develop an electronic portfolio documenting their experiences, identifying the skills and capacities they are building, and articulating a strategic narrative of their work and learning. 

Eligibility: Freshmen, Sophomores, Juniors who are enrolled in the Spring semester prior to the internship and the Fall semester following the internship. Students who are taking leave from the University the semester prior to or following an internship are not eligible for Derian internships. All students must be in good academic standing.

Projects have included: language revitalization; documentary filmmaking; community-building; sustainable agriculture; archival research or archive development; public humanities; creating best practices reviews; designing assessments; developing curricula; generating research-based content, such as policy briefs or communications materials; grant writing; oral history; community history; digital humanities; environmental impact studies; and interviewing or surveying community members. 

The Derian Student Internship fund is named in honor of Patricia "Patt" Derian, a human rights activist and a U.S. State Department official in President Carter's administration.


ProCES provides students with a $700 weekly living stipend which covers housing and meals, as well as $150/week supplemental funding (total summer stipend is $6,800). Additional funds for project-related expenses are available on an application basis.  

Stipends may be subject to tax and may be reported by the University to the Internal Revenue Service. See University guidelines 

Contact Tania Boster [email protected] 

Applications are now closed for the 2024 program.


Project Rousseau

Faculty Mentors: Dr. Christine Sagnier, Director, French Language Program, and Dr. Sandie Blaise, Lecturer in French

Site supervisor: Bethany Thorne (she/her/hers), Chief of Staff, Secretary to the Board, Project Rousseau

Critical Dates for Project Rousseau

  • Monday 2/19/2024 Application opens 
  • Friday, 3/8/2024  Student application deadline at 5 PM EST
  • Monday-Friday 3/11-3/15/24 Zoom interviews
  • Monday, 3/18/2024 Successful candidates notified
  • Before and immediately following spring break: Interns sign ProCES learning agreement.
  • Friday, 4/5/2024 9:00 AM - noon: Community-Engaged Research Institute (required).
  • May 20th orientation with Project Rousseau either in-person or virtually
  • Early May 2024: Program orientation
  • June 3-July 26, 2024 (8 weeks total): Internship period
  • August 15, 2024: Derian portfolios due

Project Rousseau offers full-scope, comprehensive immigration services. This includes a full screening with an attorney or Department of Justice accredited representative, to assess a family’s suitability for immigration relief. Project Rousseau only offers full-scope legal representation  because we believe that families with a strong immigration relief claim deserve the right to quality legal representation throughout their case, and because our holistic programming compliments the full-scope representation so well. These services are intended to serve all communities, with the families we have screened hailing from 17 different countries. Furthering that end, we also host asylum information sessions at various public fora across the city and assist individuals with a number of forms  relevant to their immigration relief applications.The scope of our legal services has greatly expanded in recent times to meet the ever-growing new arrival population in New York City.

This internship allows Francophone students to be at the front-line of New York City's so-called "Migrant Crisis." Students will directly serve young people affected by the crisis who have been bussed to NYC. All have recently arrived in the US after a treacherous journey. Migrants arriving in New York have come from all over the world, including many Francophone countries. In addition to the primary responsibilities to the organization, the intern will liaise with the faculty mentors to help establish a sustained academic relationship between Princeton and Project Rousseau.

Applicants should be ready to work in a fast-paced and changing environment. They should understand that the internship will be broad in nature to reflect the needs of those served by Project Rousseau. This internship is suited to someone with an interest in law.


  • Support Francophone students in their English Language Learning
  • Coordinate resources (such as toiletries, food, and shoes) to meet fundamental needs of migrants
  • Provide mentorship and socioemotional support for students
  • Assist Project Rousseau's Immigration Legal Services Team as they provide immigration legal services to Francophone clients
  • Liaise with stakeholders to identify and meet the needs of families
  • Identify new trends in the migrant crisis to ensure Project Rousseau leadership is up to date with how to be most responsive to needs
  • Coordinate with faculty mentors to prepare information relevant to course sustained collaboration with Project Rousseau.

Proficiency in French is required

This internship is fully in-person based at the program headquarters, located in Times Square in Manhattan, and there is unfortunately no flexibility for remote work. 


Submit the following in the SAFE application portal (search for Derian 2024 Community-Engaged Research Internship: Project Rousseau)

  1. Resume
  2. Cover Letter: The letter should be directed to the staff of Project Rousseau and address the following questions:
    1. What sparks your interest in the Project Rousseau internship?
    2. What previous experience do you have working with asylum seekers/refugees, new arrivals to the USA, or other vulnerable populations?
  3. Faculty reference
  4. Completed budget worksheet

  5. Site supervisor: Mme Bethany Thorne; Adresse de Projet Rousseau : 1560 Broadway suite 805, New York, NY 10036; Numéro de : 917 719 1060.



The Heirloom Gardens Project

Principal Investigators: Tessa Desmond, School of Public and International Affairs and Hanna Garth, Anthropology

The Heirloom Gardens Project is a collaboration of Princeton University, Spelman College, and the Ujamaa Cooperative Farming Alliance to collect oral histories of people who have worked to preserve Black and Indigenous seed and foodways through the Southeastern United States and Appalachia.  Working across six sites over two years, students and faculty will work with communities to interview and archive the stories of farmers, gardeners, chefs, community organizers, local historians and others who have been actively sustaining rich farming, culinary, and medicinal traditions.  

The Heirloom Gardens Project is currently hiring summer interns.  Positions are funded through the Derian Internship Program supported by the Program for Community-Engaged Scholarship at Princeton University. Positions are available at research sites in Asheville, NC, Atlanta, GA, and rural Georgia/Alabama. Up to one student may be based in Princeton, NJ to support fieldwork and archiving.  Other field sites may be considered on a case-by-case basis if students have a connection to an appropriate location in the southeastern United States or Appalachia.  A required pre-internship gathering will be held in the afternoon of Thursday, April 3 and the morning of Friday, April 4.  A required orientation will be held at Spelman College in Atlanta in early June.  

Site-based interns will work with community partners to conduct oral histories, which involves interview skills as well as hands-on work in gardens and on farms.  

Princeton-based interns will be a part of a larger internship team based at The Seed Farm.  Princeton-based interns will serve as field support for oral historians in the field and archivists.  They will also assist with growing rare, culturally-meaningful seeds in the gardens at The Seed Farm and participate in field trips to other farm projects.  

Expectations of interns include: 

  • Networking with communities involved in seed saving, community gardening, farming, and historic cultural preservation work.  
  • Setting up interview days and times.  
  • Arranging logistics for transportation, as needed.  
  • Preparing for oral history interviews.  
  • Conducting oral history interviews.  
  • Uploading recorded files to centralized data. 
  • Transcribing and record keeping for all interviews.  
  • High level of organization and ability to self-direct and work independently. 
  • Follow ethics protocols, ability to deal with culturally sensitive materials. 
  • Working as a team.  
  • Sensitivity to diversity of perspectives and life experiences, especially the ability to work with people across age, race, ethnicity, religious/spiritual practices, political affiliation/beliefs, and socioeconomic and educational backgrounds. 

Please note: This position requires living full-time on location for the duration of the 8-week period and may involve shared housing and/or transportation with other student(s). 

To Apply: complete the application by February 12, 2024, for priority consideration. 

Heirloom Gardens Project Timeline:

  • Friday, 1/12/2024 Application opens 
  • Monday, 2/12/2024  Student application deadline at 5 PM EST
  • Monday-Friday 2/19-2/23/24 Interviews
  • Friday, 3/1/2024 Successful candidates notified
  • Before and immediately following spring break: Interns sign ProCES learning agreement, begin process of van certification, travel and housing placements, travel registration
  • Friday, 4/5/2024 9:00 AM - noon: Community-Engaged Research Institute (required) featuring the Heirloom Gardens History Project
  • Early May 2024: Program orientation
  • June - August 2024 (8 weeks total): Internship period
  • August 15, 2024: Derian portfolios due

students and community partners gathered for a photo at a farm project site

Photo Credit Justin Zhang '24

Excerpts from 2023 Derian Interns' Project Portfolios

"I am a rising junior in computer science, with prospective minors in linguistics and history. I am greatly interested in applications that lie at the nexus of these fields, which led me to the Lenape Language Project. Using the knowledge I have accrued in studying computer science and linguistics, I spent the summer exploring and developing resources for the furthering of the Munsee (Lenape) language, with the end purpose of developing an online dictionary that can be used for pedagogical and language reclamation purposes. I attended the Language Camp and met with language keepers to discuss the most appropriate and effective ways to create the online dictionary.  To reach the point where I am now with respect to the project, I worked closely with professors and community members and consulted the pre-existing literature on the language as primarily documented in the places of Muncey and Moraviantown. Through this project and my research, I gained a deeper knowledge of language revitalization as it interfaces with the needs of local communities, with representatives from multiple Lenape nations in attendance for the camp."

"I am a rising senior (’24) in the Astrophysical Sciences department at Princeton University. While my university work focuses on research questions in the physical sciences, I have a strong interest in history and the humanities. What excites me most about this summer's Museumverse project is the potential to use new technologies to tell human stories. Among other lessons, my research this summer impressed upon me the richness of oral histories, and so the importance of seeking them out, preserving them, and sharing them with future generations."

"The skills acquired during this internship will undoubtedly shape my future pursuits at Princeton and beyond. I plan to continue engaging in community-based research projects and careers that prioritize shared goals and values between institutions and the people they serve. I will leverage the trust-building and communication skills I honed during this experience to collaborate effectively with diverse communities. Additionally, I aspire to promote accessible results and community empowerment through my research, contributing to positive change in society."

"This Internship furthered my Interest In how location can affect many facets of people's lives and especially people of color. For my thesis I want to focus on generational mobility of minorities after they move to places of opportunity. I think my [internship project] played a role In furthering my Interest.  It demonstrated how places that once held promise and economic stability could slip Into extreme poverty."

"The Ujamaa-EFN database is a community seed-saving project recording the inventory of cultural and experimental seeds owned by our community partners. The ArcGIS mapping project is meant to track the spread of seeds over time across zip codes. My involvement with the ArcGIS project is hopefully just beginning, as I believe there is still work to be done with it....[T]hrough conversations with different community partners, I've been thinking more about the applications of computer vision and machine learning in agriculture. Computer vision models could optimize different aspects of the growing process, especially with irrigation for example."