Jobs & Internships

Owl Edge Summer Experience Fund

What is the Summer Experience Fund?

Have you secured or are in the interview stage for an unpaid or low-paid summer experience? Thanks to generous donations from alumni, parents, and university friends, the Summer Experience Fund may allow you to pursue your ideal summer opportunity! Note: this funding is distributed to help defray living expenses for an intern during their summer experience; it should not be considered salary or meant as compensation.

In addition, recipients of this fund will participate in online career development activities that include: preparing for your summer experience, establishing professional connections, goal setting, and donor appreciation.

Important Dates

  • Applications for Summer 2024 will open on January 8th, 2024.
  • Deadlines: To better serve all Rice Students, the CCD is adopting a rolling application for the summer fund. Our committee will review applications at the end of January, February, March, April, and May and notify applicants of their status. This update also applies to HEDGE applicants.
  • Notifications: On a rolling basis, at the end of each month, and a final deadline in April.

NOTE: Late or incomplete applications will NOT be accepted.

Who is eligible?

1. Students with an internship, including but not limited to off-campus research experience, that meets the requirements stated below. Students must have an offer in hand OR be in the interview stage of the hiring process (proof required with each application. Students who do not provide evidence of an offer or interview will not be considered for this funding (i.e., submitting an application to an experience alone does not qualify).

**Are you unsure whether or not your internship qualifies for this funding? Please read the section, "CRITERIA FOR AN EXPERIENCE TO BE DEFINED AS AN INTERNSHIP" on this page to determine if your opportunity is a legitimate internship.**

2. Students receiving less than minimum wage (hourly) for their summer experience (this is defined as less than minimum wage per the state where you will complete your internship or, if virtual, the state in which you reside). If you receive more than minimum wage (hourly), you are not eligible to apply to this program - your application will not be reviewed.

3. Rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors who are enrolled in both the spring and fall semesters of the calendar year their internship takes place.

4. Duration of summer experience must equate to 240 hours minimum (or 6 weeks, full time).

5. Prior recipients who have received less than $5,500. Total awards per recipient will not exceed $5,500 (cumulative) during their time at Rice.

6. Programs that require students to pay to participate are not eligible; applications will not be reviewed if payment (including, but not limited to, a deposit) was made to any program for placement or tuition (including Rice abroad).

7. On-campus research opportunities will not be considered for this particular funding. Please see OURI's Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships for more information.

Additional Notes on Eligibility:

  • Priority will go to rising Juniors and Seniors without prior work/research experience.
  • Students pursuing opportunities off campus (and not continuing an experience pursued during the academic year) will be given priority.
  • If you are receiving funds from another Rice University entity, please note that in your budget worksheet.

Required materials:
1. Resume (will be evaluated per criteria offered in Resume Guide and resume workshops per the CCD; if you have not had a resume review, do so before applying).
2. If available, include an offer letter or letter of interest from the hosting organization with information about your compensation.
3. Budget Worksheet (If you have extenuating circumstances not included in your proposed budget, add a note in the essay): Instructions are provided in 12twenty.
4. Reflective essay (one page minimum): Explain why you want to participate in this experience. Describe how the experience could help shape your career exploration and job search process. Include if you can pursue this opportunity during the academic year.
5. Attach the internship description to the reflective essay.

To learn more and apply, search "2024 Summer Experience Fund" (starting early 2024) in 12twenty.

What Prior Recipients Have Said about the Fund:

"The Owl Edge Fund has allowed me to enjoy and learn from my internship experience without having to worry about the financial constraint caused by participating in an unpaid, yet extremely valuable, internship." - Jeffrey B.

"I am thrilled about the research and inquiry-based learning that I have been able to engage in so far this summer. To me, observing and discovering the world through an interdisciplinary lens has been an exciting gift." -Katherine H.

“Living alone, in a big city, out of the country, traveling on my own, and working from 9-5 are all new experiences for me. I have grown in so many subtle ways that I never would have considered had I not been pushed to challenge myself. I look forward to returning to Rice with an invigorated sense of self-sufficiency and perspective.” - Katie L.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What types of opportunities has this fund been distributed towards in the past?

This is just a small sample of organizations that students have interned with across the United States and abroad:

Alley Theatre Baylor College of Medicine
Breakthrough Collaborative Center on Budget & Policy Priorities
Commercial Spaceflight Federation Department of Homeland Security
Harris County Sports Authority Institute of Spirituality & Health
Legacy Community Health MD Anderson Cancer Center
Menil Collection Momentum Education
Save the Children Texas Children's Hospital
Texas State Legislature Texas Wildlife Rehabilitation Center
U.S. Airforce Academy U.S. Department of Education
U.S. Patent Office UT Health Center
How many times can students receive funding?

Per eligibility above, prior recipients who have received less than $5,500 remain elegible until the maximum cumulative amount has been awarded. Total awards per recipient will not exceed $5,500 (cumulative). For example, if a student receives $2,000 from this fund in their Sophomore year, they could receive $3,500 their Junior year (if selected).

What if a student receives funding here AND receives funding from another Rice-related fund?

Students can receive up to $5,500 if selected. If a student receives $2500 from another department at Rice, the student can receive up to $3,000 from this fund (if selected).

What other resources exist to help students with unpaid internships?

This isn’t a comprehensive list, but one to help students get started. Schedule an appointment with a CCD team member to you determine whether an unpaid internship is the best option for you.

Also, see this document for more information.

If a student receives funding, what is required of them?

When students receive funding, they commit to: completing several asynchronous learning modules in Canvas, an evaluation by supervisor, submitting a reflection or poster and participating in stewardship post-summer experience. A signed letter of agreement, managed by the CCD, is required. Students must also be in good judicial standing.

Will fund recipients be taxed on this money?

Yes. Students will complete a W-9 form. If selected to receive funding, students should save some in anticipation of taxes.

Why should students apply to the Summer Experience Fund?

To be clear, this is a competitive process. However, we want students to have access to experiential opportunities during their time at Rice. If students meet the eligibility criteria, we encourage them to apply and continue talking to us and mentors about how to pursue alternative funding resources and/or other paid opportunities.