Summer Links 2019 Student Application

Application Deadline: 11:59PM, Monday, February 25, 2019. Apply Now!

Program Overview

Launched in 1997 by founding UCSC Director Michelle Obama, Summer Links is a 10-week (6/24/19-8/30/19) social justice education internship program for a cohort of 20 undergraduate students committed to public service, community-building, and social change. Students receive a $4,000 stipend. Click here to watch video to learn about what makes Summer Links unique from our program alumni and internship supervisors.

2017 SL Program Report cover.pngThe program begins with an Immersion Week where students meet daily to learn about and discuss a range of topics including community and identity, Chicago history, race and segregation, leadership, and Chicago neighborhoods. They meet with UChicago and community leaders, local residents, and each other to unpack the data, stories, histories, and considerations that inform and influence the social issues of the city. For the remaining 9 weeks, participants work at their individual internship host organizations (nonprofits, government agencies, community banks, and businesses with corporate social responsibility units) Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.  (Click on the image or here for a glimpse of a previous Summer Links cohort!)

The Summer Links cohort will come together at UCSC every Wednesday evening, 6-8 p.m., during the 10-week program to share internship reflections and participate in group discussions about social issues.  Additionally, the cohort will meet off-campus each Friday from 9:00a.m.-5:00p.m. for Summer Links sessions designed to broaden understanding of Chicago and social justice issues.  These "Focus Fridays" will cover topics such as immigration, housing, education, LGBTQ issues, and the social determinants of health. Focus Fridays will include activities such as site visits, community explorations, panel discussions, artistic and cultural events, and group discussions.

Through Summer Links, students will become more informed about Chicago and methods of effecting social change, including direct service, research and evaluation, advocacy and activism, community organizing, public policy, social entrepreneurship, impact investing, and philanthropy. Click here for Summer Links 2017 bio sheet to learn from students "Why Summer Links?"

Program Goals

  • To deepen students’ knowledge of the social justice issues that impact Chicago communities and its intersections 
  • To broaden students’ experience of Chicago’s diverse neighborhoods
  • To provide students with exposure to a wider variety of approaches to social justice work to inform their academic and career trajectories

Students apply to be a part of the Summer Links program—they are not applying to a specific internship position or organization.  Students are matched through an interview process with internships at nonprofits, government agencies, and businesses with corporate social responsiblity units after their acceptance to the program. Click here for examples of internship host sites and projects.

Reflections from Program Alumni

“I have gained a new respect for the plurality that social change takes. At the same time, I believe very strongly that Summer Links provides students with a unique -- possibly once in a lifetime -- opportunity to engage directly in issues of their choice and the issues of communities that are visited.”

“Summer Links is not just about having a job/career/internship. It's about growing as a person and being a socially responsible, value-conscious citizen.”

Program Eligibility

  • Current first, second and third-years students in the College
  • All majors and academic and career interests
  • Able to fully commit to the entire program experience Monday, June 24, 2019 to Friday, August 30, 2019
  • No previous social justice or volunteering experience required

Students studying abroad winter and spring quarters are also eligible. In this case, if a student applies and is invited to inteview, VoIP technology (Skype, Facetime, WhatsApp, etc.) would be utilized. In addition, students who are eligible for federal work-study during the summer are welcome to apply, and you may use your work-study award toward participation in the Summer Links program since UCSC is a federal work-study eligible campus office.  However, use of financial aid during the summer quarter will use one remaining aid-eligible quarter.  Click here for more information. 

Student Selection

  • A desire to learn about various methods of social justice and social change;
  • A demonstrated interest and ability to engage in respectful, critical discourse with other students and representatives of community organizations, government agencies, and businesses;
  • An interest to connect one’s academic and career pursuits to social justice issues, particularly non-traditional social fields such as economics, computer science, engineering, etc.

Stipend, Transportation, Meals

  • All students will receive a $4,000 stipend; 6 bi-weekly payments on Fridays. This is taxable income. 
  • All students are responsible for their own transportation to and from their internship host site and to the Focus Friday cohort sessions.
  • Lunch provided Week 1 and all Focus Fridays, and dinner on Wednesdays.

Application Deadline: Monday, February 25 (Week 8)

The Summer Links application includes applicant information, a résumé, three essay responses and two recommendation letters. The application and further instructions are available here.

Interview Notification:  Week 8

Candidate Group Interviews:  Week 9

Student Selection Notification:  Week 10

Student Acceptance Confirmation:  Week 10

Internship Matching Process

Accepted Summer Links students will be given online access to information submitted by selected internship host sites during Week 10 of Winter Quarter. Over spring break, students will review job descriptions and rank their top 10 internship sites at which to interview. The Summer Links Director will then sort all interview requests and provide a list of five organizations for each student to interview in the following weeks. Students will then participate in 30-45 minute in-person interviews with prospective internship supervisor at the organization during Weeks 1 through 3. Students are asked to rank their top 5 choices, and internship host sites also rank their top 5 choices for interns. UCSC will make the final matches based on the feedback provided by Week 6 of the Spring Quarter.

Questions? Contact UCSC Assistant Director Nick Currie, at