The fair, held at the SOCH, hosted over 50 different Harvard offices offering summer opportunities and funding for students.
Students said the breadth of information can pose difficulties for those unsure of what they want to do over summer break.
“I think you kind of have to come in with an idea and try to seek out information about that idea,” Catriona Barr ’20 said. “But if you don’t know where you’re starting it can be a little overwhelming.”
Timing presents another difficulty of applying for summer funding. Most funding application deadlines fall at the beginning of the spring semester, yet students may not have committed or received acceptance to internships and programs at that point.
“It’s sort of a complicated process of trying to look for your internship or summer experience at the same time as potentially looking for ways to fund it,” said Deb Carroll, associate director of employer relations and operations at OCS. “It’s not simply [that] Harvard hands over funds, it’s an application process.”
According to Carroll, OCS primarily provides funding for international internships, jobs, and non-thesis research, although OCS also caters to requests for national funding. There are, however, several area studies institutes across the University that also provide funding for opportunities within their regions of interest.
“OCS is a large source of funding, but there’s actually many other sources of funding across Harvard as well as sources at internships,” Carroll said. “You know, there are departments or centers that are cultivating internships actually all around the U.S. and all around the world.”
The David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies offers funding for many students across the University. Last summer, DRCLAS provided 84 research and travel grants to students.
According to DRCLAS Program Manager Rachel Murray-Crawford, the center funds its structured programs, such as a summer internship program and study abroad opportunities in Latin American countries, as well as the DRCLAS Summer Travel Research Grant.
International funding is also available from the Harvard China Fund and the Center for European Studies. The Office of Undergraduate Research and Fellowships includes eight programs through which students can receive funding for pursuing academic research.
“We try to have as close as possible to have a one-stop shop for students to see all of their options,” said Carroll.
Simon Shen ’20 said the summer opportunities fair helped centralize and simplify information.
“It’s been helpful to actually see the faces of the people who are in charge of the programs,” he said. “It’s a much different experience than reading things online to get information, being able to ask questions.”
Carroll said she recommends students plan ahead of time and explore University resources for opportunities and funding.
“We say this all the time, but Harvard has so many resources, and that’s what makes it a challenge is how to navigate all of those different options,” said Carroll.