SIGP makes job opportunities possible

Medill sophomore Stavros Agorakis is heading east this summer to work at two daily newspapers – one in Athens, Greece and another in Nicosia, Cyprus.

Agorakis, who is from Greece, will explore the field of international journalism and figure out whether he wants to work abroad after graduation. But this would not be possible without help from the Summer Internship Grant Program (SIGP) through Northwestern Career Advancement (NCA).

He is one of approximately 400 Northwestern students who received grants of $3,000 or more this May to pursue unpaid summer internships. This year, NCA is sending its largest cohort of SIGP recipients in its 10-year history across the country and abroad with its funding.

Agorakis first found out about the program from a friend that traveled to Iceland to work on a farm through SIGP; he knew soon after that he wanted to apply too.

“After hearing about her experiences and ... SIGP's focus on helping you pave your career path, I decided to apply," Agorakis said, "and to my surprise, filling out the application allowed me to better clarify my goals for the summer by putting my career aspirations into words."

The program, which began in 2007, has seen its numbers soar over the years – expanding from 90 applicants and 10 grant recipients in 2007 to 795 applicants and approximately 400 grant recipients this year. Last year, NCA received 702 applicants and awarded 352 grants.

Northwestern alumni, staff, administration and other university partners, such as the Alumnae of Northwestern University, Council of One Hundred and Buffett Institute for Global Studies, help fund SIGP each year.

This year’s SIGP recipients will intern at organizations such as Los Angeles Magazine, Red Hour Films, Prague Shakespeare Company, The Field Museum, the Smithsonian Cultural Rescue Initiative, and many more.

Alums of the program said they made lasting connections during their internships that set them up well for their respective careers. Without SIGP, many students would have to turn down their summer experience or supplement it with a second job.

Weinberg sophomore Mia Andreoli will spend the summer looking at studies focused on risk factors for diabetes and obesity as a research assistant at Bass Lab at the Feinberg School of Medicine. She'll look at the interaction between circadian rhythm and metabolism, and said the research is directly applicable to her goal of becoming a physician.

She's looking forward to connecting with mentors that she can later turn to with questions about medical school and careers in research.

“Since medical research internships are typically unpaid, this experience would be a major financial burden,” Andreoli said. “Without a SIGP grant, I would have to pass up the opportunity to gain professional and research skills to instead work in a less rewarding summer job.”

SIGP applications open every year in February. Learn more about SIGP here.

Previous recipients of SIGP grants  

Previous recipients of SIGP grants