For Cornellians, summer vacation will not provide much of a break with students across the country taking classes, participating in virtual internships and working within their local communities.
This summer, like the last, is unique for the number of opportunities that are virtual. There are seven times more remote internship opportunities during the summer of 2021 than in March 2019, before the onset of the pandemic.
Kevin Diaz ’24 has an online fellowship through the Industrial and Labor Relations Buffalo Co-Lab Program working with companies in Buffalo to revitalize the economy and spur economic growth in the community. Diaz will be working with healthcare workers that want to unionize, studying their mental health and looking into collective bargaining and arbitration strategies.
While the fellowship was moved online, Diaz acknowledged some of the benefits.
”[Working remotely] gives me space and the opportunity to explore other areas and do other things this summer,” Diaz said. “For me, I will be trying to pursue a real estate license and do a summer class through Cornell in conjunction with the fellowship.”
Macy Berryman ’23 is also taking advantage of remote work. This summer, she will work virtually with the Animal Welfare Institute as a communications intern, exploring her passions for the environment and animal rights.
Berryman expressed that even though she will miss the opportunity to work in-person, she will be able to enjoy time in her hometown.
”It is nice because I will have time to go places and hang out with my family, so it’s a good balance,” Berryman said.
Myles Winkley ’22 will work from his apartment in Ithaca as a virtual research assistant at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
Winkley expressed that while he wishes the position was not moved online, he decided to still participate as the opportunity to conduct research at the federal level was too good to pass up. He is making the best of the situation by also taking summer classes through Cornell.
But for some students, in-person experiences are starting up after 2020 forced most internships online. Melanie Marshall ’24 plans to live at a Zen Buddhist Temple in Ithaca with other scholars, teaching suburban farming classes in Ithaca.
Leah Tilson ’22 will have an in-person internship in Corning, NY with the human resources department of Corning Incorporated.
“A lot of my friends weren’t lucky enough to be in-person, so I feel fortunate to have this opportunity,” Tilson said.
But not all Cornell students will be interning this summer. Some, like Lauren Sherman ’24, will be taking online courses at Cornell. She is planning on fulfilling some distribution requirements so that she can focus more heavily on courses that interest her during the school year.
The remote setting also comes with increased versatility, according to Sherman.
“Virtual classes are definitely more convenient; I don’t have to worry about housing or any other logistics. I don’t know if I would have taken classes if they were in-person,” Sherman said.
Others are working summer jobs to make money and expand their resumes. Alyssa Schwertfeger ‘24 will be working retail at a clothing boutique in Stone Harbor, New Jersey. After a long year of Zoom classes, Schwertfeger expressed her need to be around people working in-person.
”This semester has been a very good semester, but it has also been very long, and Zoom fatigue has really been settling in. I think this summer will be a good academic break,” Schwertfeger said.
No matter what students plan on doing this summer, it can be assumed that they will be productive with their time off.
“I can’t imagine staying still,” Marlee Pincus ’24 said, who is taking summer classes. “As Cornell students, we like to challenge ourselves.”