Rutgers Summer Service Internship (RSSI) Program

Fostering Civic Engagement

Rutgers President Jonathan Holloway sees civic engagement as a critical component of education and a path toward appreciating our differences, restoring civil discourse, and serving the common good. Under the new Scarlet Service umbrella is the Rutgers Summer Service Internship (RSSI) Program, which provides summer internship experiences to undergraduate students at public-service oriented non-profit organizations and direct-service government offices while expanding their knowledge and skills to engage as active citizens.

The Rutgers Summer Service Internship (RSSI) Program is brought to you by the Rutgers-Camden Career Center, Rutgers-New Brunswick Office of Career Exploration and Success, and Rutgers-Newark Career Development Center.

100+

High-Impact Public Service Internships

$5,000

Student Stipend

3

Funded Academic Credits

Public Service Leaders

Inauguration Speech excerpt from Rutgers President, Jonathan Scott Holloway:

“Just as Rutgers is a leader when it comes to providing access to higher education to those from modest backgrounds, and just as Rutgers is a leader in terms of research productivity, I believe that Rutgers should be a leader in its commitment to public service. To that end, today I am announcing the creation of the Rutgers Summer Service initiative. This initiative will enable an annual cohort of our students to spend their second- or third-year summers in public service internships. Rutgers Summer Service students will work for non-profits, serve the broader community, and gain the opportunity to learn about people who are unlike themselves—who face different struggles and come from different backgrounds, countries, races, or religions. Participating in this program will make our students better citizens and our world a better place.”

Read Inauguration Address Excerpt

First 100 Students Begin Rutgers Summer of Service

RUTGERS TODAY: President Jonathan Scott Holloway Announces Student Service Initiative During Inauguration

DAILY TARGUM: Rutgers Summer Service Initiative Aims to Provide Students with Paid Public Service Internships

RSSI Initiative Student Stories

Goals & Benefits

Our society has lost sight of the common good, a problem that threatens our future as a nation, our viability as a culture, and our humanity. As an institution of higher education, Rutgers has a vital imperative to improve the human condition and seek solutions for our most complex problems. There is no greater calling for university communities today than to make sure our students can pursue an excellent, life-changing education and engage in opportunities to better our world in fundamental ways.

Goal #1: Provide high-impact, hands-on summer internship opportunities in public service for up to 150 Rutgers sophomores and juniors

  • Academic research shows high-impact student practices, including internships, lead to higher graduation rates, levels of student satisfaction in the college experience,  and increased levels of career success.

Goal #2: Provide an opportunity for Rutgers students to contribute to solutions of societal problems; view American life from a fresh perspective; and develop a better understanding of their responsibilities as citizens.

  • When we provide talented students with knowledge and skills and give them a task, great things happen. When their task is to improve our society and democracy, ALL of us benefit.

Student Service Stories

Maddison Van Der Mark

To channel her feelings of anger, Maddison Van Der Mark turned to boxing. It also gave the U.S. Army sergeant who left active duty to attend Rutgers a chance to help at-risk youth through the summer service internship initiative.

George Gandour

George Gandour, a Rutgers-Camden nursing student, helped teens build healthy habits, leadership and independence through the sport of cycling as an intern with the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia.

James Cortes and Nina Gohel

Rutgers-New Brunswick seniors Nina Gohel and James Cortes come from families with very little in common, but their path’s converged as they helped craft bills that may become future state policy as part of their internship.

Favour Ikedife

Working at a dementia resource center this summer gave Rutgers-Newark junior Favour Ikedife a lesson in empathy and a daily sense of fulfillment as she put her neuroscience background to use to help others.

Brian Montecinos

Brian Montecinos spent two months at Future City Inc., a nonprofit that works with racial and ethnic communities to foster sustainable development and support for policies that ensure healthy homes and neighborhoods.

Danna Green

Danna Green said she feels empowered to help Camden parents who, like herself, have children with learning disabilities, after participating in Rutgers Summer Service Internship Initiative.

Summer 2023 Student Information

Summer 2023 student applications are open! Apply by Wednesday, December 14, 2022.

Rutgers Summer Service Internship (RSSI) Program provides select students from Rutgers-Camden, Newark, and New Brunswick with an opportunity to earn up to $5,000 while interning for a minimum of 150-hours over 10-12 weeks during the summer at a public service non-profit organization or direct-service government office. Students also participate in a concurrent virtual, asynchronous internship course designed to explore and engage with the topic of public service while building their career readiness and professionalism skills. 

Students are required to attend three in-person events/seminars at the beginning (April), middle (July), and end (September) of the RSSI Program. Specific dates will be announced soon. Travel to Rutgers-New Brunswick campus is necessary for two of these events.

Course Description

The RSSI course is a 3-credit, pass/no credit, virtual and asynchronous internship course that will require an estimated one (1) hour of coursework per week. This course is meant to ground students’ experience in their public service internships, providing them with the theoretical foundation and professional and civic skillset to thrive in their internship site and their communities. Through readings, reflections, and virtual discussions, students will explore and engage with the topic of public service while building their career readiness and professionalism. 


The application process for this Program is open to Rutgers-Camden, New Brunswick, and Newark current sophomores and juniors. Applicants must have an overall cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher and be in good standing with the university. Applicants must also have the ability to travel to an internship site in New Jersey, New York City, or Philadelphia region, and have a passion for community engagement and/or public service. Students who participated in the RSSI Summer 2022 cohort are not eligible to re-apply.

Yes, international students eligible for Curriculum Practical Training (CPT) can apply to the RSSI Program. This includes the fulfillment of at least one academic year in the United States. You can find additional information on Curricular Practical Training (CPT) here.

Stipends, experience, knowledge, scholarships, networking, and events!

Stipends and Experience: Students selected for RSSI receive $5,000 for completing complete a minimum of 150-hour hands-on summer internship in public service where they make a difference, contribute to solutions of societal problems, view American life from a fresh perspective, and develop a better understanding of their responsibilities as citizens. Rutgers stipends are paid in two installments as long as students are making satisfactory progress towards internship goals. 

Note: students are responsible for applicable taxes.

Knowledge and Scholarships: Accepted students participate in a concurrent virtual, asynchronous course designed to explore and engage with the topic of public service while building their career readiness and professionalism skills. RSSI students also receive a scholarship to cover the expense of the 3-credit course.

Networking and Events: Meet talented students from across Rutgers University who have a passion for making the world a better place. Students selected for RSSI will participate in three seminar events at the beginning, middle, and end of the RSSI program where they will hear from guest speakers from the world of public service and build fellowship with one another. After their summer internship experience, students will share their stories and experience at a September celebration with the broader university community.

All eligible students must apply by December 14. Candidates complete an application form, attach a resume and unofficial transcript, and respond to three essay prompts. The application form also asks for the name, title, and contact of two references, at least one should be academic-based. 

Student applications will be reviewed by a selection committee and RSSI administrators. All student applicants will be notified of their status in the program by mid-February 2023.

Selected students will be responsible for scheduling their interview slots with internship sites in which they are interested. Specific information about the virtual interview process will be shared in the spring. After the interviews, students will rank their internship site preferences and employers will rank their student preferences. The RSSI administrators will determine summer matches based on these rankings. 

Contact Heather Escalona, Assistant Director, at rssi@echo.rutgers.edu to learn more.

The Rutgers Summer Service Internship (RSSI) Program is accepting student applications for the summer 2023 cohort. The application deadline is Wednesday, December 14. Students will be notified by mid-February of their program status.

Please read the full instructions below and collect all items before getting started. We highly recommend that you preview the application (preview the complete application here) to ensure you are ready to submit all required information before starting the process.

Apply Now: RSSI Student Application

Students can learn more about RSSI and the application process by attending an information session. Register for an upcoming information session on Handshake.

Before completing the Rutgers Summer Service Internship (RSSI) Program Summer 2023 Application,  please collect/draft the following items: resume, unofficial transcript, contact information for two references, and responses to the essay questions. All materials must be submitted via this form by December 14. It is important to note that students cannot save draft version(s) of this form and return to it later.

  • Notes for supporting materials
    • Resume: One page preferred, two pages maximum (Need Assistance? Career Advising Resources)
       
    • Unofficial Transcript: Rutgers transcript, including your current semester of classes. If you are transfer student and have been at Rutgers for less than one academic year, please include transcripts from previous colleges/universities.
       
    • Two References: Provide the name, title, organization, and email address of two contacts who can speak to your experiences and work ethic. References can include advisors, faculty, staff, supervisors, etc. Your references should not be related to you, and one should be academic. Reference checks are conducted when more information is needed to determine between two or more equal candidates.
       
  • Essay Prompts: Responses will allow the selection committee the opportunity to learn more about each candidate. Please craft your responses in a word processing application (MS Word, Google Doc, etc.) to ensure your answer is within the noted word limit of each essay prompt. 
     
    1. Why are you applying, what do you hope to get out of RSSI, and why should you be selected? Please describe your interest in public service and how it might relate to your career goals. Applicants are encouraged to include previous relevant experience or related personal experiences. (300 words or less)
       
    2. Tell us about a time you encountered someone with a perspective different from your own. How did you approach the situation to work across differences? (200 words or less)
       
    3. Tell us about a time when you encountered an unexpected problem at school, in the workplace, at a co-curricular activity, or in your personal life. What was your approach to solving the problem? What motivated you to persevere through adversity? And what did you learn from that experience? (200 words or less)
       
    4. Is there anything else we should know about you? (optional)
       

When you submit your application, you will see a confirmation screen and receive a copy of the submitted application to the email you provided.

All students will be notified of their selection into the program by mid-February 2023. Selected students must confirm acceptance prior to participating in interviews with internship sites.

Apply Now: RSSI Student Application
(Read full instructions above and collect all items before getting started)

Summer 2023 Employer Information

Are you a non-profit organization with a public service mission or a direct-service government office? If you are interested in hosting an RSSI summer intern, please contact rssi-experiences@echo.rutgers.edu to connect with a member of the Career Exploration and Success team. Deadline to apply is Wednesday, January 18, 2023.

All internship sites must:

  • Have a mission in service to the public
  • Provide a primarily in-person (at least 75% in person) immersive, high-impact learning experience
  • Host an intern for a minimum of 150 hours over 10-12 weeks between late May and mid-August (averaging 15 hours per week)
  • Experiences must incorporate opportunities for the intern to engage directly with the community served by the organization or indirectly through employees who can do so

We look to allow for a focused learning role, complete with mentorship, feedback, and the ability to ask questions. The focus should be a professional development experience – not just completing tasks. Click here for a list of items that we typically ‘red-flag’ in an application. Rutgers departments are ineligible.


Yes, you can offer more than one internship for consideration. When completing the RSSI Employer Application linked at the bottom of the page, you will have the opportunity to indicate the total number of unique internship type(s) you would like to offer.

All internships must be primarily ‘in-person’ experiences (at least 75% in person) unless the university determines a switch to remote due to health and other environmental factors.

Only organizations that are external to Rutgers University are eligible to apply for RSSI.

Follow this link to a walkthrough document that outlines learning objectives and how to create them for your internship experience.

  • Student applications are due in December.
  • Employer applications are due by Wednesday, January 18, 2023. These applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. 
  • Those selected to participate in our 2023 program will be notified by late January.
  • If selected, employers will be asked to set up a virtual booth to share their experience and available interview times. Booths will be created in a virtual platform called vFairs. (watch demo). All booths must be completed by Wednesday, February 15, 2023.

Selected employers will participate in virtual interviews with students using our vFairs platform in March. After the interviews, students will rank their internship site preferences and employers will rank their student preferences. The RSSI administrators will determine summer matches based on these rankings. 

Final matches between students and employers will be determined by the end of March 2023. 

Please see the question below regarding guaranteed acceptance or student placement.


Rutgers University does not guarantee acceptance into the Rutgers Summer Service Internship Program or guarantee that all placement sites or experiences will receive a matched student. We have a limited number of employer positions available for this program. If you are not accepted into the program, please know we can assist you in gaining awareness of your organization by setting up a Rutgers Handshake profile. Please email recruiting@echo.rutgers.edu for more information.

Support Excellence

Make a gift in support of the Rutgers Summer Service Internship Program. 

RSSI Advisory Committee

The Rutgers Summer Service Internship (RSSI) Program, run by the Rutgers-Camden Career Center, Rutgers-Newark Career Development Center, and Rutgers University–New Brunswick Career Exploration and Success, consults the advisory committee on decisions impacting the program. Please contact rssi@echo.rutgers.edu if you have any questions.

Heather Escalona

RSSI Program Lead

Zachary Stager

RSSI Employer Lead

Cheryl Hallman

RSSI Lead, Rutgers University–Camden

Sue Pye

RSSI Lead, Rutgers University–New Brunswick

Bernadette So

RSSI Lead, Rutgers University–Newark