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SwatWorks: Funded Micro-Internships

SwatWorks's micro-internships are short-term, paid, professional assignments that are similar to those given to new hires or interns. These projects enable college students to demonstrate skills, explore career paths, and build their networks, as they are sponsored by Swarthmore alumni. Unlike traditional internships, micro-internships will be funded through micro-grants provided by generous donors including Swarthmore Board member Robin Shapiro and offered by Career Services at $500 for a 40 hour project. Alumni sponsors will be recruited in winter 2020-21 and opportunities will be posted to Handshake for students to begin applying in January 2021.

Students: How to apply for a SwatWorks micro-grant project on Handshake

  1. Write one paragraph about why you would like to do this project, what skills you would bring to this project, or how you would benefit from this project.

  2. Include your resume in your Handshake application. 

  3. Your applications will be reviewed by alumni as they are submitted; you will be selected by the alum for their project on a rolling basis and will be offered the project once selected. 

  4. Please reply promptly to the alum once selected to accept or decline the project. You may of course ask the alum any clarifying questions you have about the project prior to your decision.

  5. If you are an international student (F1 or J1) considering this opportunity, please contact Jennifer Marks-Gold or Ryan MacMorris.

  6. US Citizens/Resident Alien/DACA students: Please note that students who are United States citizens, Resident Aliens or have current DACA status will not have taxes withheld from the payment (nor will it be reported to the IRS); however, the IRS considers this payment income to the recipient. When filing your tax return, you must report the amount of this payment as income. If you file a FAFSA for financial aid, the payment must also be included as part of your gross income.
  7. International Students: The regulations regarding federal tax withholding and reporting are different for international students who are classified as non-resident aliens for income tax purposes. This income will be reported to the IRS as income to the recipient. As a result, if you are not a United States citizen, you will need to contact Joseph Cataldi in the Business Office ( to learn how you will be affected. Be advised that your funds will not be released until this step has been completed.

PLEASE NOTE: This is a competitive process. Alumni will choose students for their projects based upon the student’s application so be thoughtful as you submit your materials.

Alumni/Student Expectations

Because of the many demands on both the alumni and the students, this is designed to be a short-term, yet meaningful exchange. 

  • Application Process: Students must apply to SwatWorks through Handshake; search using SwatWorks as a keyword. Applications will require a resume and brief essay. Alumni will choose a student for their project, based on the student’s application. Once a student is selected and accepts the offer, pairs will initiate communication.

  • Communication: Alumni and Students should initiate contact after the Alum chooses the Student for their project. They should confirm that their ongoing communication will be via email, phone, Zoom/Skype etc.  A plan for communication about the project will be agreed upon by both.

  • Define Project and Expectations:  The alum will define the 40 hour project. The student will confirm they understand the necessary tasks and action steps.  

  • Check-In:  The alum and student will communicate to discuss questions or challenges of the project. Alum and student will mutually agree upon frequency/schedule of check-ins.

  • Review: The alum will review the project upon completion and offer feedback to the student. The student will write a brief summary of their work. The alum will submit the project completion survey, including the student's summary. Micro-grants will be disbursed via direct deposit or check.

Tips for Alumni Project Sponsors

  • Be clear about your expectations. It can be difficult for workers to understand what you want them to accomplish in short-term/remote work projects. Offer examples, input and guidance so work can be completed in the way you are expecting.

  • Be realistic about the number of hours required to complete your project. Check in often to see if your student has questions or is experiencing challenges.

  • Give feedback so students know they are on the right track, prior to conclusion of the 40 hour project period. 

 Tips for Students

  • Ask for specific input and advice and be receptive to input. Consider the perspective others offer you, even if it is not what you want to hear.

  • Be considerate. Be prompt to meetings. If you need to reschedule, give your alum at least 24 hours’ notice. Recognize that your alum is busy, and respect their time.

  • Be prepared. Respect your alum’s limited time and come to meetings prepared and organized. Write down your list of questions.

  • Do your best work! Ask for clarification if needed. This may be a small project, but your performance will develop more skills and opportunities. 

  • If you determine the project cannot be fully completed within the 40 hours, communicate this to the alum as soon as possible and help them understand exactly what you’ll be able to complete within your allotted time frame.