Clements Internship Award FAQs

The Mark and Pearle Clements Internship Awards are intended to enable Syracuse University students to undertake unique internships that wouldn't be possible without financial help. Clements Interns will usually spend one semester or summer away from the University, working under the guidance and supervision of an expert who can help them connect their academic learning to real world application.

The Clements Awards typically range from $1,500 to $6,000.  There are usually several awards available each year, the award may be used to pay for internship-related travel, living expenses, and required materials, but may not, in most cases, be used to pay for salaries, stipends, or tuition.

Q. How much money can a successful applicant be awarded?

A.  In recent years, awards have seldom exceeded $6000 and, considering location and applicants’ other resources, have been as little as $1500.

Q. Can the internship be a paid opportunity?

A.  Yes. The Clements Awards are meant to help students meet the expenses that their own resources cannot. This could include a situation created in a paid internship where the pay is inadequate to cover basic living costs of food, lodging, transportation, etc.

Q. Are winners ever awarded less or more than they request?

A.  Yes. While candidates should try to research expenses for budget estimates, the selection committee retains some discretion in the setting of a specific monetary award. Candidates are also expected to seek out other sources of funding to complement Clements funding and to report on their success in doing so, a situation that may result in the reduction of an award when the full need may be met through the infusion of external funds.

Q. What expenses can and cannot be covered by a Clements Award?

A.  Clements Awards may not be used for tuition costs of internships associated with academic programs or as a salary or stipend that an employer might otherwise offer to other interns. Applicant requests for things like computers, software, other equipment or clothing that will revert to the ownership of the award winner are generally not supported for funding. The awards can fund travel, lodging, food, visa and vaccinations for foreign internships, and to a degree, materials necessary for the execution of the duties of the intern.

Q. Can fall, winter and spring internships be funded through a Clements Award?

A.  No. The awards were set up with the intent of funding summer internships, and since the determination of winners occurs only in the spring of the year, there is no provision for funding internships in the winter or spring. Students should be aware that costs of internships done for credit may be covered by their tuition for a given semester. Additional questions may be directed to the Clements coordinator or the internship coordinators at Career Services but might also be clarified by home college practices relative to internships.

Q. Do award winners need to keep and submit receipts for all expenses actually incurred?

A. Winners do need to submit receipts for major expenditures like travel to and from an internship at its beginning and end and lodging during an internship. Other costs may be estimated and submitted on the required budget sheet and supported by an award but receipts for day to day incidental purchases may not need to be kept and submitted. Clarification can be sought from the Clements coordinator.

Q. Are students required to seek academic credit for the internship they propose?

A. No, but they are not restricted from doing so. Clements Awards may not be applied to tuition costs, so the cost of receiving credit for a summer internship when the student is not officially enrolled, must be assumed by the student through other means. Questions about costs attached to the granting of credit can be discussed with staff at Career Services.

Q. Will winning a Clements Award impact a student’s financial aid?

A. While the Office of Financial Aid reviews and approves the awards for those chosen as winners, there is an understanding that since the one time monetary award helps defray non-academic expenses, there is unlikely to be any negative impact on a winner’s existing financial aid package.

Q. Is a Clements Award winner allowed to win an award more than once?

A. No. 

Q. Can students apply if the internship is required for their major or degree?

A. Such students can certainly apply but their final consideration may depend on how narrow the requirements for their degree actually are and therefore how little uniqueness there may be in the opportunities they may be restricted to choosing. One of the main factors in the determination of winners is how much freedom the applicant had to cultivate specific and unique settings within their overall fields of interest. Students with questions should discuss their dilemmas with the Clements coordinator well in advance of the deadline date.

Q. Can students propose internships that are outside their specific programs of study?

A. Yes. Many fields and roles consider candidates from various academic areas as long as applicants have the requisite skills and demonstrate a knowledge of the field sufficient for credibility. Students should use their proposals to explain their pursuits of such opportunities and should choose sponsors if possible who can also provide support accordingly (see related questions below).

Q. Can a PhD student apply for a Clements Award?

A. No. The award was set up to fund internships for undergraduate and Masters level students.

Q. Can I apply as a part-time student?

A. Part-time students are generally ineligible for a Clements Award, mostly because the awards support summer internships for which the employer may consider only full-time students.

Q. When is the application deadline?

A. The annual deadline is generally the first Friday in February. Interested students should consult Handshake for the exact date for the coming year.

Do students need a reference letter to apply? Must students be nominated for this award?

A. There is no nomination required for the award. An applicant must secure a “sponsor’s letter” from a faculty member or other appropriate university staff person (see below) that reflect the sponsor’s knowledge of the applicant and the relevance of the proposed internship to the applicant’s studies or specific career field of interest.

Q. Can a staff member (such as advisor) serve as an internship sponsor?

A. For a staff person to be acceptable to the committee, the person needs to show a clear knowledge of the applicant and his or her career interests, and must themselves explain their own foundation of knowledge of the applicant’s field so as to convince the committee of their ability to confirm the relevance of the proposal to these interests or their field of study.

Q. What documents are required such that an application will be judged complete?

A. A resume, a transcript, a proposal, a sponsor’s letter, a budget form and a personal data sheet.

Q. What is the expectation on the length of the proposal?

A. Most winning proposals have been 2-3 pages of concise writing and follow the instructions offered about topics to be covered in the full description of the application process available on Handshake for every year’s specific awards.

Q. What guidelines exist for the content of the proposal?

A. The internship proposal should include the following: 

1. Purpose and Goals of Internship: Describe the purpose and goals of the proposed internship and how it relates to your education and career objectives. 

(This section should describe the rationale behind the proposal. The statement must contain carefully considered learning goals. When formulating the learning goals, applicants may wish to consider the following questions: Why do I want to participate in this internship? What do I want to learn? Why do I want to learn about a specific field or a specific aspect of that field? The goals should describe what you plan to learn, achieve, and accomplish through participation in the internship. It is important to build a strong case for the proposed internship, since competition for these awards will be keen).

2. Activities to be undertaken/supervision to be received. Describe the structure of the internship and specific activities, tasks and projects you hope to undertake or already know. 

Q. Are applications accepted throughout the year?

A. No. Applications may only be made by the annual deadline date in early February for consideration for the upcoming summer internship time period.

Q. How are application materials submitted?

A. To apply you must attach IN PDF FORMAT the following 6 documents with your application in Handshake by February 1, 2019:
Attach individual PDFs for the following documents:
  • Current resume - attach PDF as a "Resume"
  • Unofficial advising transcript (saved from MySlice) - attach PDF as a "Transcript"
Combine the following documents into one PDF and attach to application as "Other Documents:"
  • Personal Data Sheet with identifying details related to you and to your proposed internship site (form can be found under attachments in this position)
  • Budget Form (form can be found under attachments in this position)
  • Internship Proposal in detailed paragraph-form, described in Clements FAQs
  • Letter of support from your Syracuse faculty or staff sponsor (Your sponsor should have familiarity with your work, character, and career interests and be able to speak to your ability to learn in the internship setting. The letter of support should contain the sponsor’s views on the significance of the proposed internship to your academic program and career interests).

Q. Do students need to have accepted an internship offer before they can apply for an award?

A. No. Although some applicants have been made official offers by the deadline for submissions, employer decision making sometimes extends beyond the submission deadline so the award is made on the merit of the opportunity, the effort of the applicant to date to secure an offer, and the likelihood that approval may be achieved.

Q. Can I make adjustments to my application after submittal due date if I have received a different internship opportunity?

A. Submitting a proposal for a specific internship assumes that the applicant is seriously seeking this opportunity and wants their award to be evaluated on this basis. On rare occasions, winners’ internships have not materialized and they have been able to substitute another internship if the committee receives its details and approves the change. Wholly new proposals and budgets are not allowed since initial awards usually leave no excess money for distribution.

Q. How is the accuracy of a budget request evaluated?

A. Sources upon which anticipated costs have been estimated are requested on the budget form and have usually included links to information sources such as travel costs, student housing and lodging resources, visa details, etc. The Clements coordinator can clarify this further and may suggest certain options and their sources.

Q. What factors are evaluated to choose winners?

A. Uniqueness and specificity of the internship relative to students’ areas of study and distinct career interests and the effort the applicants have undertaken themselves to cultivate the opportunity and a personal connection carry significant weight. Completeness of the proposal and budget, and the relative likelihood that the internship can be obtained and completed are also given significant weight. Students who merely identify internships online and apply through a web site for internships typical to their general fields, or who rely on someone else to find an internship and arrange placement are seldom given serious consideration.

Q. Is there an interview required in the selection process?

A. No. Proposals should explain the applicant’s reason for seeking the proposed internship, relevant information about the opportunity and the employer, and the steps taken to secure it so far.

Q. When are winners notified that they will be awarded funding?

A. Winners are notified as soon as the selection committee chooses winners, usually in early March.

Q. How do winners actually receive their award?

A. Once an employer confirmation is received by the Clements coordinator, requests are submitted to Financial Aid for approval and upon approval, funds are posted to a winner’s Bursar account and arrangements may then be made to receive a check or have money electronically deposited to an account for the student’s use.