Program Mission

The Program for Leadership Development in Public Service is supported by a generous endowment from the Iscol Family Foundation. Ken (’60) and Jill Iscol have close ties to Cornell and broad philanthropic interests. The objective of this program is to inspire and educate a new generation of community leaders to tackle the seemingly intractable problems that face our society, such as poverty, hunger, ignorance, homelessness and violence. There are success stories of communities being built or rebuilt, of individuals having profound effects upon areas of social concern, and of ideas that are leading to breakthroughs in “insurmountable” problems. The intention of the program is to bring individuals who have a commitment to social change and public service into contact with Cornell students. The aim is to stimulate our students to reflect on their talents, education, experience and personal resources and to help them make the leap in imagination necessary to understand that they can make a significant difference in society as professionals, volunteers, or philanthropists. This program seeks, as well, to stimulate new problem-centered approaches to educating students, to create a dialogue among faculty from within the university, and to strengthen university-community partnerships in tackling some of society’s greatest challenges. The Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research within the College of Human Ecology serves as the administrative home for this interdisciplinary program.

Summer Internship Program

The Iscol Summer Internships in Public Service is a component of the overall Iscol Program. The goal is to support students who have an interest in gaining experience in public service settings or exploring public service as a career. It does so by working with existing organizations and programs on campus which sponsor summer internships in the public service sector in Ithaca, New York City, New York State, or elsewhere in the U.S. and abroad. Support from the Iscol Program allows more students to experience public service internships than would be possible otherwise. Wherever possible, the program will support students who wish to be placed in the home organizations of speakers brought to campus in the fall of each year. Examples of programs on campus that offer summer internships for undergraduates and that could benefit from additional support for summer internships in public service include: the Urban Semester Summer in the City Program, the Global Health Program , and the Public Service Center Summer of Service Work Study Program. This method of supporting students allows Iscol funds to be used more efficiently for direct student support rather than using program funds to establish and staff a separate summer internship office. Students apply directly to the programs listed above and once admitted become identified as Iscol Summer Interns. Support levels are consistent with the guidelines established by each program. Some common program and student expectations are outlined below.

Expectations of Internship Programs

In order for campus organizations to be eligible for Iscol Program funds to support summer interns they will be required to meet the following expectations:

  • Internships should be clearly identified as fitting the public service mission of the overall Iscol Program. Typically this would mean placing students in community-based public service or not-for-profit organizations whose mission is to promote change and development in underserved communities. However, a student may be placed in a for-profit company if the internship is to clearly advance their public service activities.
  • Students are expected to have a minimum of 6 weeks of full-time summer experience.
  • Students selected for Iscol Summer Internship support will be clearly identified within the campus hosting organization as supported through the “Iscol Summer Internships in Public Service”.
  • Students are expected to be engaged in intellectually complex and meaningful projects that advance the mission of the organizations in which they are placed. For example, students may be engaged in research and analysis, writing, proposal development, developing websites or other publications, teaching or training, or community development. The internships are not intended to support students doing simple clerical tasks (e.g. processing routine paperwork) for an organization, or to be exclusively focused on direct service (e.g. a camp counselor, teacher aide).
  • The application process should clearly reflect the public service mission of the internship, and require students to reflect on their prior experiences, coursework, and goals as they relate to a public service internship.
  • The application materials of students nominated by the programs for Iscol Program support will be shared with the director of the Iscol Program prior to the final selection of students.
  • The campus organization receiving funding will provide the Iscol Program with an annual financial and program report outlining which students were supported with Iscol funds, the internship settings, any indicators of results or impact for the student and the placement organization, and funds expended.

Expectations of Students

  • Following the conclusion of the summer program, students are expected to provide a written report of no more than 5 double-spaced pages by September 15 to the director (John Eckenrode) of the Iscol program. This report outlines the organizational setting for the internship, the significant activities in which the student was engaged, the benefits realized by the organization, neighborhood, or community; the benefits realized by the student (insights, skills, career exploration, etc.), and any plans to follow-up the experience.
  • Students are expected to write a thank-you letter to the Iscol family following completion of the summer program. The program report will be attached to this letter.
  • Students supported by Iscol funds are expected to participate in all the events organized around the fall speaker sponsored by the Iscol Program (e.g. attend lunch, dinner, and attend the talk).
  • Students may be called upon to be “ambassadors” for the Iscol program on campus.

Iscol Summer Internship Program Support Guidelines

The Iscol Summer Internship program support includes:

  • Up to $2,500 for dormitory-style housing for 6 – 8 weeks.
  • Up to $2,500 for stipends or salary (if tuition is not covered)
  • Tuition for Urban Semester students that includes bus trip to NYC
  • $500 travel allowance if student lives at home rather than in a dormitory

The Iscol Summer Internship program support does not include:

  • Cameras/film
  • Clothing or supplies/equipment for site placements
  • Computer supplies
  • Food
  • National or international travel
  • Trips to placement sites

All students will submit the following information to their sponsoring organization which will then be forwarded to Patty Thayer (pmt6) so that their awards can be refunded through their Bursar’s Office account and their tuition credit (in the case of Urban Semester students) applied to the tuition charge.

  • Name
  • Cornell ID
  • Email address
  • College
  • Major
  • Graduation year
  • Breakdown of the components of the awards – housing, tuition, stipends.

More information about Practicing Health Equity: Theory & Fieldwork in North Brooklyn.

Faculty contact: Christopher Wildeman – cjw279@cornell.edu