Summer Intern Connects with Past CEW Scholars

I arrived at CEW through the U-M Development Summer Internship Program (DSIP). DSIP is a unique program that im¬merses twenty-six undergraduate interns in the theory and practice of philanthropy. DSIP requires participating units to create mean¬ingful projects for its interns. My 12-week project was to construct and implement a plan to help CEW engage productively with former scholarship recipients. CEW has been awarding scholar¬ships to outstanding women with nontraditional paths since 1970, and there are nearly 1,500 scholarship awardees. In the Fall of 2012, I will begin my final semester and will be completing my Bachelor’s degree in Women’s Studies, with a minor in Japanese. Gender equality has always been important to me, so I was thrilled to be placed at CEW. Interning here has shown me how to transfer the theory of Women’s Studies into practice.

“ . . . [CEW is] developing the future, developing the leaders, and changing the mind set that’s out there in corporate. People can do it, even if they go back to school and take some time off, it’s reach¬able.” –CEW Scholar

Collaborating with CEW staff, I concentrated my work on an online survey to scholars, as well as a series of in-depth discussion groups. The purpose was to gain a better understanding of the value of the scholarship, and to determine how CEW affected these Scholars. The feedback has been tremendous; the survey had a 50% response rate, and follow-up discussions were held with 10 Scholars, indicating that Scholars are committed to CEW and its mission. Confirmation of CEW’s significant impact on the careers of women provides incentive for us to expand the program.

Here are some of the exciting things we learned from the survey:

  • Respondents represent Scholars in 25 states and abroad
  • Over 45% of respondents have begun or completed a doctoral degree.
  • 36% of Scholar respondents have used other CEW services (e.g. counseling, workshops, critical difference grants, library.)

This project has also allowed CEW to learn what Scholars have been doing since graduation. Many women provided us with personal reflections in the open-ended parts of the survey, and seven women went on to detail their accomplishments and to describe how CEW played a part in their success by completing the “CEW Shares a Story” area of our website.

I would like to thank all of the Scholars who played a role in this project. Hearing the Scholars’ unique stories has inspired me as a woman and a student. What we have learned this summer will hopefully help CEW to build on and improve its already phenomenal scholarship program.

“The University of Michigan was an intimidating place. CEW was the place to which I turned to talk with people about how to even begin to explore returning to school… I’ve sent several contemporaries to the CEW; participated in leadership and other training; and was blessed to be a scholar. CEW is a blessing for our entire state–and one that should be supported for decades to come.”” –CEW Scholar

My summer experience at CEW has been truly amazing. I learned so much from everyone, and I received wonderful recognition for the ideas I brought to the project. I would like to end by thanking the wonderful people at the Office of University Development for placing me in a position that was perfect for me. And I would like to thank everyone who works at CEW for making me feel welcome, and showing me that it is possible to have a career that I am passionate about.

Charlotte Meyers