Forty for Forty Supports Students’ Professional Development
By Eniola Longe
Reporting Texas TV
AUSTIN, Texas — For her very first summer internship, Emma Scalfano only sent out one application.
Scalfano, a human dimensions of organization senior, found a position she was interested in on the Handshake job board: work-life balance intern in the University Union’s human resources department.
“One of the biggest takeaways from the internship was probably professional development,” Scalfano said.
The position was one out of 39 paid internships Texas Leadership Education and Development (LEAD) offered in 2021.
“We wanted to have an internship opportunity for students that paid competitively, had housing assistance, that was accessible for our students on campus,” Texas LEAD assistant director Rachel Cohen-Ford said.
As part of the internship program, Texas LEAD offers limited housing assistance to students who are offered a spot.
Scalfano said she did not take advantage of this because she didn’t want to stay in a dorm on campus for the summer. She subleased a friend’s apartment room instead.
Cohen-Ford said the students have a choice.
“They have an option to select off campus or on campus housing,” Cohen-Ford said.
“If they choose on campus housing, we pay for the housing with University Housing and Dining. If they choose off campus, they receive a stipend that is integrated into their hourly pay.”
With internship wages per student costing the program about $3,000, Cohen-Ford said with donations from the Forty Hours for the Forty Acres giving campaign, they hope to gradually increase the number of available positions for 2023.
“This summer, for 45 available positions, we had over 1200 applications from 300 students,” Cohen-Ford said.
Texas LEAD has continued to increase availability every year, from 19 positions in 2019.
The internships are offered by the Vice President for Student Affairs. Cohen-Ford said these positions are typically unpaid.
“That is what is really unique about Texas LEAD,” she said. “We do workshops for our students to help them learn different career readiness skills that they can then practice at their internship over the summer.”
Currently in its eleventh year, the biannual Forty Hours for the Forty Acres campaign receives donations from past and present Longhorns for 40 hours. Last fall, it raised about $8 million.
“Our hope is to raise money for all of those organizations so we can continue to support our students, and become the world’s highest impact public research university within the next few years,” said Jennifer Boan, UT assistant director of development.
Like Texas LEAD, Texas Exes joins over 200 participating groups in the spring 40 for 40 giving campaign.
“I’m feeling really great about this year’s campaign,” said Jamie Puryear, marketing director of the Texas Exes. “We’re focusing on the programs that Texas Exes does that help Longhorns that need it most.”
While Texas Exes accepts donations year round, Puryear said the 40 for 40 campaign is a big social and viral moment that alumni can participate in to amplify giving opportunities.
For this campaign, Texas Exes is seeking funding for opportunities like HookedIn, its career networking platform, as well as Longhorn Business Network to help support alumni-owned businesses.
“I’m really excited to get these out there on a broad scale, not only for people to fund, but also for them to take part and get involved if they’re interested,” Puryear said.
Boan said these donations played a critical role in Jason McLellan’s spike protein research, which significantly contributed to the development of the COVID-19 vaccine.
“The money and the talent comes together to make sure that we’re making a difference and changing the world,” Boan said.
She said with over 200 participants, everyone would be able to find at least one cause to support.
“The university is so broad and has so many opportunities to make an impact in so many different areas that I believe no matter what somebody’s interests and passions are, the university has the opportunity to support that through their charitable donation,” Boan said.
The campaign runs from April 6 at 6 a.m. through April 7 at 10 p.m. Visit 40for40.utexas.edu to find a cause to donate to.