Summer Opportunities In English Literature and Creative Writing

Divisional Grants in the Humanities support students who hope to pursue individual projects during the summer months, typically under the direction of a faculty member.  While these grants are most typically awarded for scholarly projects, recipients have included creative writers in past years.  The due date for applications this year is February 10, 2016. For more information, see

The Morrell-Potter Summer Stipend in Creative Writing, sponsored by the Creative Writing Program of the Swarthmore Department of English Literature, supports a writer of exceptional promise during the summer after the junior year.  Applicants present proposals for summer projects, along with samples of their work, early in the spring semester, most likely late January this year.

The Friends Historical Library and the Peace Collection hire students during the academic year and over the summer to work on special projects.  Pamela Harris reports that they regularly hire a “reference intern,” extend at least one spring internship for a paid summer project, and sponsor two SPEED interns:

Our students have often found internships at libraries, museums, publishing houses, literary magazines, and small presses during the summer.  Recently, for example, Swarthmore students have served as interns in the American Society of Magazine Editors’ summer immersion program, at NPR, at the Folger Library in Washington DC, the American Poetry Review, Copper Canyon Press, Graywolf Press, Saturnalia Books, and Tupelo Press.  Here are some specific internships:

American Society of Magazine Editors (due date December 1 this year)

CartoDB (mapping software, Digital Humanities)

NEH program internships:

Folger Shakespeare Library:

Library of Congress Junior Fellows:

Presidential Libraries:

Berkman Center:

Berkman Center list of related organizations with internships:


DH summer fellowship possibilities:  CUNY Digital Humanities

Stanford Lit Lab

Northeastern DH

MIT Climate CoLab

Student poets and fiction writers often attend summer writers’ conferences, workshops, and seminars.  Our students have participated in the Bucknell Seminar for Younger Poets, scheduled this year from June 12 - July 3 (due date for submissions January 31); and recent graduates have attended international poetry conferences in Prague and in Canada. A number of Swarthmore fiction writers have taken the Alpha Fantastic Literature Workshop, July 21-31, at the U of Pittsburgh's Greensburg Campus, for young writers ages 14-19.  Students might also consider the Odyssey Fantasy Workshop at St. Anselm College in New Hampshire, in June; the Clarion Writing Workshop (one at UC San Diego, the other, "West", in Seattle) that begins in June and runs for six weeks; the Summer Literary Seminars scheduled for Montreal, Lithuania, and Kenya this year; the Baltic Writing Residency; the Home School (formerly the Ashbery Home School) in August; the Iowa Summer Workshops; the New York State Summer Writers Institute at Skidmore in July; the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference in Vermont in July; the Yeats Summer School in Sligo, Ireland, in July; and hundreds of others.   Some URLs:

Students may attend classes and workshops at other colleges and universities, as well.

Career Services can assist you in finding summer opportunities.  Career counselors are available for consultation by appointment through 610-328-8352, or come by Parrish 135; and Career peer advisors are available to get you started, Monday to Friday, 1 to 4:30, in Parrish 135.

SwatCareers: internships posted by Swat alums and employers seeking Swatties. Stop by Parrish 135 for username and password
UCAN Internship Database: exchange of internship listings for 20 selective colleges and universities. 
Garnet Connection: Over 300 posts of Swatties and their summer experiences
Online Alumni Directory: All 18K Swat alums – Self-register for access
Alumni Career Profiles: Career narratives of alumni career mentors

Accessible on-campus without a password
Swatties Helping Swatties (Mentoring Group)
Swarthmore Business Association
Swarthmore College Alumni
Swarthmore Black Alumni Association
Notes and Advice from Career Services Power Point:
Paid Internships
Housing or other Benefits

College Credit

Swarthmore does not offer college credit for internships.  What if the employer requires credit for me to do the internship? Check with the Registrar.

Funding Ideas:
Part-time Internship combined with part-time job
Outside funding: deadlines vary, competitive

Campus Funding Sources:
Swarthmore Foundation  (Lang Ctr. for Civic and Soc. Resp.)
Summer Social Action Awards (Feb.2016)
Summer Project Grants (April 2016)
Summer Internship Support (March 2016)
Summer Research Opportunities w/ Academic Departments; applications begin in Jan. Due in mid-Feb
Experiential Summer Fellowships/Extern Program (Feb 2016)
Swarthmore Future Entrepreneurship Program (Feb 2016)
Morrell-Potter Summer Stipend in Creative Writing (Jan 2016)
Rubin Mentoring Program (Feb. 2016)


How To Be Competitive:
Don’t apply to only one or two internships
Rejection is to be expected!
Research the organization
Clean-up and restrict your Facebook account
Network with employees when possible
Write a persuasive cover letter
Apply early!
Follow-up to express your interest
Prepare for a possible interview

What have English majors been doing lately during the summers?  A few intriguing examples:

Summer Research Internship

"During this past summer, I conducted research under English Literature Professor Lara Cohen on the genealogy of the term "underground" in the nineteenth-century United States. The Underground Railroad became the focal point of the project, as the publications surrounding the antebellum movement profoundly exemplified how the literal and figurative manifestations of the term "underground" can be difficult to wholly dissociate. Newspapers like The Liberator and The National Anti-Slavery Standard utilized a discourse of "conductors," "derailments," and "collisions" to both publicize and obfuscate the underground network to a mainstream readership. I generated a database of print materials focusing on the Underground Railroad, as well as the Subterranean Pass Way (abolitionist John Brown's planned counterpart to the former), the Mammoth Cave in Kentucky, and American opinions about Karl Marx. Over the course of my research across these disparate subjects, I enjoyed reading into the possible "underground"/counter-cultural meanings and realities behind the printed narrativizations." -- Zachary Wunrow, '14

Early Novels Database

Emma Madarasz '15, Treasure Tinsely '15 and Sierra Eckert 14 worked with Professor Rachel Buurma on the Early Novels Database in 2014. Treasure Tinsley is a Trico DH Intern who posts about this experience on the TDH website  Nora Battelle ‘17, Gaby Ekens ‘17, and Yumi Shiroma ‘16 worked on the END in 2015.

Morell-Potter Summer Internship

"The Morell-Potter Stipend allowed me to remain in Spain over the summer, extending, in effect, my study abroad experience. During this additional time, I was able to write a lot, and even produce a couple of things to my liking; for me, that's not bad! I learned a lot about my process as a writer, saw a lot of beautiful things, and I hope to remain inspired by the experience for a long time to come." -- Ian Hoffman, '15

De Mott Summer Grant

"This summer, I lived at Swarthmore and wrote the first draft of my Playwriting thesis, which reimagines Paradise Lost for the stage and tells the (fictionalized) history of John Milton and his three daughters. I also worked as Assistant Director on Shakespeare in Clark Park's production of Henry IV: Your Prince and Mine, which featured a 100-person battle scene. This was the type of work I couldn't do during the academic year, and having a whole summer to focus on these projects, thanks to the Deborah A. DeMott '70 Research and Internship Grant, was a fantastic privilege." -- Patrick Ross, '15

“Last summer, with the support of a summer research grant, I created a portfolio of poetry based on research about the interactions between different cultural groups in Cleveland.” – Jacob Oet, ‘16

Julia Finkelstein ’13 reports:
Here is a list of what I've done over the past three summers:
1. 2012: Teacher at Salisbury Summer School. I taught two creative writing courses and "Reading and Study Skills." I also acted as a faculty adviser, dorm proctor and tennis instructor.
2. 2011: Internship in Building Community, Columbia University. I was a TA for an Expository Writing course, an RA for the Residential program and I organized trips in NYC and did Community Service projects.
3. 2010: Camp Counselor, Pine Forest Camp. I directed 2 plays and tutored a camper for her Bat-Mitzvah
In Spain [where Julia spent a semester abroad], I also taught English at a Spanish high school 6 hours a week.
Nick Gettino ‘13 served as an intern at Tupelo Press:
Although they don't list information about internships on their website, Tupelo will send an info sheet about internships to students who contact them. I've attached it to this email. (I should note: the internship isn't limited to students in the Berkshires, as the document states.) The community at Tupelo is inviting and knowledgeable, and they always keep the loft well stocked with food. Although the daily tasks of the internship are more administrative and managerial, the Publisher is always willing to let students read unsolicited manuscripts, and truly values the feedback he's given. North Adams, where Tupelo Press is located, is also a nice location for writers. I stayed in a house on the Appalachian Trail and would see hikers cut through the yard while at home—a scenic experience! The hours at Tupelo are flexible, so I'd keep the late afternoons free for writing. There's also an intriguing community of artists in the town, so working in the artist workspaces at MASS MoCA and visiting the galleries on the town's main street are good ways to get material.