Lilly grant brings internship oppurtunities to USI students

Mason Bianford

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If it wasn’t for the Lilly Grant, Zane Ubelhor may not have gotten the engineering internship he enjoys today.

“They probably wouldn’t even be looking for interns at USI,” Ubelhor said, regarding his internship at Jasper Engines and Transmissions. “If it wasn’t for that opportunity, I never would have gotten it.”

Ubelhor, a senior engineering major, is one of several students on campus who have attained paying internships thanks to the $3 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. Ubelhor hopes the internship will lead to a full-time job once he graduates.

Lilly Endowment Inc. is a philanthropic organization that has awarded grants to colleges and universities around Indiana in the effort to improve employment and networking opportunities for students after they graduate.

When a student signs up for a Lilly internship, they are also required to take a one, two or three credit hour field experience class that can count toward their major. The class requires the student to keep a journal over the semester, recording what they’re learning at their place of employment.

Students also have to sit down with their employer and establish goals they hope to achieve by the end of the semester, such as mastering a new skill or learning how to use a certain program. Students can take an internship totaling 150 or 300 hours.

Lilly Endowment began the program in 2003, and grants new awards every five years.

The money from the first round of funding in 2003 was used specifically to enhance internship opportunities for engineering students and build up USI’s new engineering program. By 2008, internship opportunities were expanded to include business students.

The goal of the Lilly Endowment program is to provide internships and possible future full-time jobs for Indiana college graduates, allowing them to remain in the area after graduation.

The most recent round of funding occurred last year, when USI received $3 million. The university decided to use money to add the six new initiatives, all aimed at improving student’s career prospects and opportunities after graduation.

“This is just a mechanism to help us make sure that we maintain those relationships with employers, and use it to bring on some new employers,” said Phil Parker, director of Career Services and Internships. “To entice them to let us help them with some funding so they can bring on interns as well.”

USI reimburses the employer half of any wages they pay the student during their internship. This makes it more affordable for the employer to hire additional interns, Parker said.