Center for Engaged Learning
Center for Engaged Learning

To open the door to more learning opportunities that may otherwise not be affordable, the University of Louisville’s Center for Engaged Learning is offering a new program that will provide financial support to students pursuing unpaid internships.

Within the University of Louisville’s strategic plan (LEARN, strategy 2, action 1) the Center for Engaged Learning was established to provide a resource for all undergraduate students to participate in at least one external learning experience by graduation. The center’s new WINGS program (Working Internships in Non-Profits and Government Support) specifically considers unpaid opportunities within 501(c)(3) nonprofits or government organizations, and provides an avenue for students to apply for funding in the form of a stipend received via their financial aid. This means experiential learning need not be limited to paid positions, and that students can more likely have their practical needs met while working and learning in their preferred environment.

“Research shows that students who participate in engaged learning have a better understanding of the classroom material, gaining real-world applications of what they’re learning,” said Gail DePuy, senior vice provost who oversees the program. “Research also shows these students often have higher GPAs and higher likelihoods of graduating. Not only is WINGS beneficial to the student, but also to the community, as our talented and energetic students have a lot they can now give to these non-profit organizations.”

Erica Gabbard, director of experiential learning, noted that many nonprofits might not advertise for an internship if they do not have the funds. However, if a student is able to approach them with interest and having the option to apply for financial support from WINGS, more possibilities could become available. The experience also does not need to be directly related to the student’s major; they can apply for support to investigate other areas of interests beyond their particular school.

“We will continue to develop additional programs in the future, all in line with the mission to incentivize and support students toward engaged learning,” said Gabbard. “We want to create a culture in which students are choosing to attend UofL because of the abundance of these opportunities.”

For questions, details and to apply to the WINGS program see the WINGS program website or email the Center for Engaged Learning.