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Interning for fun and nonprofit


So class is going well, but your parents don't want you to be distracted from schoolwork with a job. They can't argue with an internship, though, as it's essentially a job in sheep's clothing with the added benefits of college credit and possible employment in the future. Many internships even come with some form of monetary compensation, but the real-world, few-strings-attached experience gained while still in college is truly invaluable. Here are five internships unique to the Triangle that you might want to consider for the future.

If you want to work in an environment of complete creative freedom channeled into an intensely team-oriented setting steering the public relations efforts of North Carolina's major business, higher education and policy players, an internship at Capstrat--named one of the top 25 agencies to work for in America--is a proven, market-tested strategy. Interns are treated as if employed at the company, participating in meetings and planning for all clients. Positions are available for either the fall or spring semester or throughout the summer, and successful completion of the program earns students credit hours and a term-ending $500 bonus. In the past three years, a dozen interns have been hired as employees, and the company counts the internship program as the most integral part of its hiring process. To apply, e-mail

Carnivore Preservation Trust
If feeding Pena the snow leopard or observing Romeo the 600-pound tiger excites you, an internship at Pittsboro's animal care sanctuary Carnivore Preservation Trust should be your perfectly spent summer. CPT is an educational facility that has been devoted to the care of threatened exotic species since 1981, and they care for 130 animals year-round on their 55-acre expanse. The 120-hour internships are non-paid, but the hours can be conveniently spread over either six or 12 weeks and used for college credit. Interns will learn and practice animal care, feeding and cage cleaning daily, and a series of workshops will teach them about neonatal care and animal enrichment. An application is available online at

The Common Sense Foundation
Named for Revolutionary American progressive thinker Thomas Paine's seminal pamphlet, Common Sense is a progressive political think tank committed to an established doctrine of social justice meant to involve those citizens normally omitted from the policy-making process. Three times a year, the Raleigh-based organization brings in two interns for semester-long, fifteen-hours-per-week internships in which each student develops, researches, writes and edits a 4, 000 word report in the continuing Common Sense Says... series. Guilford College student and recent Common Sense intern Emily Stewart released her report on the failure of abstinence-based sex education in North Carolina earlier this month. Interns receive a $200 stipend each month that they are with the foundation. E-mail to apply.

Merge Records
From Merge Records--the indie rock stalwart that brought you Neutral Milk Hotel, Spoon, Lambchop, The Magnetic Fields and the flagship band Superchunk--comes a crash course in day-to-day label maintenance for as long as you'd like. Merge interns have been known to stick around for several hours a week for several years, assembling press kits, stuffing envelopes, updating websites and holding down the fort. Some interns have gone on to be hired for full-time, paid positions by the label, including current mail-order maestro, Wilson Fuller. To apply for a stint at Merge, e-mail the label's publicist Christina Rentz at . Bonuses include guest list action for any Merge shows coming through town, free copies of current releases and a priceless, instantaneous increase in coolness.

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
One of 20 National Institutes of Health, Research Triangle Park's National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) offers one of the best national summer research ventures in the biological sciences. Thousands of students apply for the program each year, but between 45 and 60 are selected to spend up to 12 weeks working in the NIEHS labs in fields ranging from epidemiology and functional toxicology to biophysics and computer modeling. High school students, college students and teachers can all apply for the faculty-guided program, and pay is commensurate to the level of training and type of work for each participant. The program concludes with a poster session in which all researchers showcase their work, which may range from arsenic-induced cancer in rats to the functionality of DNA polymerase. Contact Charle League at for more information.

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