Propose your own community-engaged research internship

ProCES offers enrolled students the opportunity to propose your own summer internship with a non-profit organization, community group, or government agency.  Internships supported by ProCES allow you to apply your academic skills to the information needs of a host organization and to understand the crucial role of knowledge and research in creating social change.  Your internship work should be of an academic nature and provide a direct benefit to your host organization.  You will also be able to learn from the expertise of community leaders and represent Princeton University in the broader community.  During your internship you may have the opportunity to refine a research question for an organization, conduct a literature review on a question of interest to your organization, collect or analyze new data, and/or practice research strategies relevant to your junior paper or senior thesis. Potential projects could also include some of the following activities: engaging in archival research, creating best practices reviews, designing assessments, developing curricula, generating research-based text and content for websites or grants, and interviewing or surveying clients.  For more examples, see the profiles of several of ProCES’s 2020 Derian summer research interns in this Princeton news story.

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.

Requirements for Summer 2022 internship proposals

If your internship proposal is accepted, you will receive a stipend of $4,800 for your summer research internship, or $600/week over 8 weeks(Additional support for materials, travel, food, or lodging will not be provided.)  You should not submit a proposal for a ProCES-Derian research internship if you have another paid full-time commitment during June and July 2022. Your internship is expected to be a full-time position and you should spend a total of 40 hours per week doing research work for your host organization, observing meetings, attending events relevant to your project(s), and participating in ProCES's programming. Each week you will benefit from training, support, and professional development activities that are organized by ProCES. You will also have opportunities to connect with your peer ProCES-Derian interns.  

The research must be done in collaboration with a hosting nonprofit organization or governmental agency.  Proposals with an emphasis on laboratory research, direct service, event planning, and marketing are unlikely to be funded. Preference will be given to proposals involving existing ProCES community partner organizations and Service Focus alumni or potential participants.  Your proposal should include 1) a single project or set of small projects that can be done either remotely or in-person or 2) two projects (or sets of smaller projects), one of which is suited for remote work with the other feasible if on-site activities are permitted.

You should adhere to all Princeton University travel guidelines. Summer 2022 policies will be announced in early 2022.

Eligibility, key dates, and proposal components

All enrolled first-year, sophomore, and junior Princeton students are eligible to submit a proposal between December 15, 2021 - February 2, 2022 in Handshake.  ProCES cannot support summer internships for graduating seniors. ProCES's Derian internships are eligible for Service Focus for first-year students.  International students are welcome to apply.

The preferred 8-week timeframe for internships is June 6 through July 29, 2022.  ProCES staff can work with you and a potential host organization staff to develop projects and ideas between now and Monday, January 31, 2022. To discuss your ideas, schedule an appointment with Trisha Thorme, ProCES Director, or Tara Carr-Lemke, ProCES Associate Director, via WASE.  Proposals are due on Wednesday, February 2, 2022 at 11:59 p.m. EST.

You should upload the documents listed below into Handshake. 

  • Resume 
  • Transcript from Oracle including Fall 2021 grades (unofficial is fine)
  • A document containing contact information for a reference — name and contact information for a recent employer or someone at Princeton who can speak to your academic work
  • Internship description. Be sure to include the:
    • partner organization’s name, website, and a brief description of their work;
    • contact information for your potential supervisor;
    • why you want to work with this particular partner organization and how your academic interests, work, and personal experiences have prepared you for this project;
    • the focus of your research;
    • the expected impact of your work on the partner organization; and
    • what you hope to learn from this internship experience.
More about ProCES and its Derian summer research internships

The Program for Community-Engaged Scholarship (ProCES) at Princeton University is an academic program that connects the curriculum with Princeton's signature commitment to service. It fosters collaborative, change-oriented projects of an intellectual nature that benefit students, faculty members, and community partners.  ProCES facilitates community-engaged and service-oriented academic work by supporting courses, independent work, and internships. 

ProCES has worked successfully with students and nonprofit organizations on summer research internships in the Princeton/Trenton area for over 20 years.  In that time, ProCES has also provided funding and advising for student-proposed domestic and international research internships. The projects ProCES supports are designed to enhance the capacity of the organization and the research skills of the students.   

My internship...helped me prepare for my thesis [and] it also taught me the lasting impact research can have on communities…I realized community-based research was a great way to step out of the classroom and make creative solutions for real-life issues. With the mentors and resources of [ProCES] as well as the welcoming atmosphere of my internship site, I gained a variety of skills that proved useful to my college studies and beyond. ~Amani Rush, class of 2016