Social Innovation Internship

Social Innovation Internship
students standing at solar array


Interns are supported by a dedicated mentor


400 hours of hands-on experience with a regional organization


Professional training days provided by our staff

What is the Social Innovation Internship?

Each spring the Changemaker Collaborative selects a handful of idealistic, high-achieving, impact-focused UNH student-leaders for the summer Social Innovation Internship program. 

Each intern works at a different host organization based on their skills and interests and reports to a supervisor/mentor at that organization. Interns spend the majority of the summer at their respective host organizations and occasionally come together as a cohort for UNH trainings in social innovation, sustainability, for professional development opportunities and to meet with leaders of mission-driven organizations.

At a high-profile Showcase at the end of the summer, interns share what they have achieved and reflect on their growth interning at innovative organizations focused on people, the planet and the economy. The showcase attracts people from business, government, nonprofits, and higher education and all are welcome to attend.

Do you want to change the world? Whether you’re already committed to a career at the intersection of mission and business, or curious how to apply your major’s skills towards social and environmental good, the 10-week Social Innovation Internship will:

  • Connect you to leading for-profit and nonprofit organizations for a rigorous and meaningful summer internship;
  • Provide UNH training in social innovation; and
  • Support you to mobilize your UNH peers during the school year. All this, along with a $4,000 stipend!  


2020 SII Virtual Showcase

Learn about the Summer 2020 Host Organizations.

Important Dates & Reminders

November 1
Deadline for hosts to express interest

December 1
Deadline for hosts to submit project description (to be posted online for student recruitment & applications)

January & February
Outreach to exceptional and high-performing students

Mid-February (TBD)
Priority Student Applications due

March 1
Final Student Applications due

Mid-February - March (TBD)
Changemaker Collaborative conducts Interview #1

March (TBD)
Hosts Interview #2 with 2-3 candidates, pre-screened and selected by the Changemaker Collaborative, and report top choices

April (TBD)
Host/Mentor & Intern Matches announced

June (TBD)
Social Innovation Internship program begins

July (TBD)

Mid-August (TBD)
Social Innovation Internship program ends


Contact a student Changemaker Coach!

  • 2019 SII Cohort
    Former Interns have this to say about the program:

    “If you are interested in social and environmental issues but don't know how to make your interests into a career, the Social Innovation Internship is just for you. This internship will help you learn more about social innovation and how YOU can make a difference in your work and future career. When people think of making a difference, they automatically think of working for a non-profit of some sort. However, there are various career paths you can go down to still be making an impact. The Center for Social Innovation and Enterprise will help you see the bigger picture of what you are capable of in terms of working on social change.”

    “Having a career that is involved in social justice, social change, and/or social innovation feels more like a priority now than it ever did. Before, it was an option that sounded interesting, but maybe not all that realistic. Now, I feel more inclined to look for jobs that make me feel as though I have a real purpose that is driving me. I've always been informed and up-to-date on issues, but this experience made me feel like I can go a step beyond being informed and actually make change.”

More Details for Students

UNH juniors, sophomores, and exceptional freshman in good standing are encouraged to apply at the beginning of spring semester. Seniors and graduate students are also eligible. Applicants for the Social Innovation Internship are chosen by an independent review panel at UNH and then a smaller subset of selected applicants will go on to interview with the host organization(s) prior to final selection and matching.

Students are selected based on:

  • Prior achievement in academic and extracurricular activities
  • Relevant skills, interests, and goals
  • Potential for, and commitment to leadership 
  • GPA 3.0 or above
  • References

Students must be available from the beginning of June through mid-August. Students will work with their host organizations full-time (40 hours per week) for 10 weeks, over the course of 12 weeks, including professional development and training at UNH. Students will present at the end of summer at the Social Innovation Internship Showcase in August.

More Details for Host Partners

Each year, the Changemaker Collaborative partners with a handful of innovative business, nonprofit, and government organizations to help introduce a passionate young person to careers at the intersection of business, sustainability and social mission. From 2011 - 2019, the Social Innovation Internship placed 121 students at 58 leading organizations that use market-based approaches to tackle pressing social, economic and environmental challenges.

  • Ten-week internship over the course of 12 weeks: June - August
  • High-performing rising Junior or Senior (or extraordinary Sophomore) – vetted, interviewed, selected (with recommendations from host organizations) and trained by the Changemaker Collaborative
  • Interns will be at the host site full-time, with the exception of orientation, UNH training days (including presentation prep), and the Social Innovation Internship Showcase
  • Scope of work should satisfy the needs of both the Host Organization and intern, i.e., significant project-based work with committed supervisor/mentor and access to senior leaders
  • A total of $5,000 program fee paid by host site: $4,000 directly to student, $1,000 directly to UNH (Fees/Student Stipend subject to change for summer 2021)
  • Limited opportunities for reduced program fees for early stage organizations and non-profits
  • Small cohort model to provide high levels of support and training 
  • Interns earn a $4,000 stipend (TBD for 2021) and are responsible for covering their own living expenses for the summer
  • Potential Host Organizations may apply for grants to reduce their costs
  • Grant funds are prioritized for first-time internship hosts, non-profits, small communities, and other organizations with limited resources
  • Host Organizations are also expected to cover all project-related expenses
  • Through the Host Organization Fees, we are able to fund the administration of the program, networking events, field trips and other exciting professional development opportunities. 

We believe in paying students for their work in order to make the internship accessible to all (allowing students of all socioeconomic levels to participate); thus, the bulk of the total cost to the Host Organization (75%) supports the student stipend. 

The remainder (25%) helps defray the costs of faculty & staff support of the cohort. 

This includes:

  • Recruiting top students
  • Training them to be successful in the workplace
  • Introducing them to social innovation, sustainability and triple-bottom-line business models
  • Facilitating training, professional development and when possible, site visits to mission-driven organizations exploring different social-change models and theories of change, organizational leadership and day-to-day operations
  • Celebrating their and your work at an end-of-summer Social Innovation Internship Showcase, regularly attended by over 100 people from academia, business, non-profits, and government

This additional support is what distinguishes the Social Innovation Internship from other internships with which you are familiar.

Hosting a Social Innovation Intern supports a student’s professional development and your operations and introduces your mission and activities to the UNH community – jointly developing graduates who consider environmental, social, and economic factors in their career and personal decisions.

Host Organizations are primarily responsible for the design of the Social Innovation Internship projects, and for day-to-day oversight of the intern. If your project is selected, you’ll have world-class talent dedicated to your project throughout the summer.  You’ll be asked to participate in selection, planning, networking, and most importantly, to prioritize meaningful mentorship of your intern.  

Specifically, Host Organizations commit to:

  • Provide input to the interview and selection process
  • Work together with the Changemaker Collaborative to ensure that the work plan and products will be both beneficial to the partner organization and intellectually stimulating for the intern; a final, Changemaker Collaborative-approved work plan should be submitted by December 1st
  • Designate one staff member to serve as the primary Mentor, to provide project guidance, to be accessible on a day-to-day basis as needed, and to reserve one hour per week at a minimum for a regularly scheduled dedicated check-in with the intern
  • Encourage the interns’ participation in training and networking opportunities provided by the Changemaker Collaborative, the Host Organization and others, including activities relevant to the interns’ project and/or career
  • Be available for 2-3 coordination calls with the Changemaker Collaborative, and provide feedback & updates on the intern's progress over the course of the summer
  • Actively connect with other interns and partners throughout the network as appropriate 
  • Provide the intern with an adequate workspace, computer, phone, travel funds, and other necessary resources and contacts required for successful completion of the project
  • Make reasonable accommodations for intern(s) as appropriate
  • Provide and receive feedback at the end of the internship term

We know students were profoundly shaped by the experience of the summer Social Innovation Internship because it embodies the Changemaker Collaborative's mission to create a transformative hands-on learning experience for the next generation of changemakers and help them graduate with the courage, confidence and skills to create a world where people, planet and economies all thrive.

We also know this internship lends itself to a new model of career preparation that is based on the premise that no longer is a great education enough. To survive and thrive in today’s challenging economic environment, great education must be supported by opportunities for internships and other modes of experiential learning which can, in turn lead to professional success and lifelong engagement. It is also a model where students are supported but take responsibility for their careers. 

We are seeking to forge more effective ways of preparing students for meaningful careers with lifelong success and well-being through transformative hands-on learning experiences, like this Social Innovation Internship as well as continuing to fully embrace New Hampshire and New England as a whole.

We believe in the profound impact of experiential learning – not a replacement to academic learning, but a rigorous underpinning in terms of understanding the theoretical frameworks and gaining the skills that are vital to developing highly confident and competent professionals who will serve as a pipeline into mission-driven companies, non-profits and government agencies and municipalities, JUST LIKE YOURS.

The summer Social Innovation Internship is built on several key principles: 

  • A faculty and staff supported model which scaffolds time at the host organization with regular touch points and mentorship throughout the internship, including pre-internship orientation and regular training days throughout the summer while helping the cohort of students develop the skills and habits preparing them to succeed in their internship.
  • Transformative learning experiences are a result of having the chance to have “ownership” of significant projects. Our interns will have spent 10 weeks working on challenging, complex projects which are material and strategically significant to their Host Organization.
  • The principle of mutual benefit. We firmly believe that an internship must be win-win, and that our students must provide concrete and significant value to your host organizations while gaining knowledge, skills, self-awareness, confidence and a growing network of professional colleagues.

Program student spotlights

  • Christian Redding
    2020 Social Innovation Intern - NH Human Trafficking Collaborative Task Force | NH
    Christian Redding interned with the NH Human Trafficking Collaborative Task Force and was responsible for increasing their online presence and improving their social media efforts to raise awareness about human trafficking. During his time at UNH, he studied Business Administration with double options in Marketing and Entrepreneurship, had been a member of UNH’s Net Impact and the New Hampshire…
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  • Marianna Miller
    2019/20 Social Innovation Intern - Unitil | Hampton, NH & ReVision Energy | Brentwood, NH 
    Marianna Miller is a rising junior majoring in Environmental Conservation and Sustainability. She is passionate about renewable energy, sustainable building design, and the green real estate industry.
    Learn More
  • Rachel Avery
    2020 Social Innovation Intern - Paper Crane Associates
    Rachel Avery completed her B.A. summa cum laude in May 2020, dual majoring in English and History with a concentration in Comparative Democracy.
    Learn More
  • Antonio Serna
    2020 Social Innovation Intern - New Hampshire Community Development Finance Authority | Concord, NH
    Antonio Serna is a rising junior majoring in Social Work. He is passionate about social justice and advocating for underserved populations.
    Learn More
  • Bhavya Wadhwa
    2020 Social Innovation Intern -Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center | Lebanon, NH
    Bhavya Wadhwa is a first year Computer Science master’s student. In India, where Bhavya grew up, she helped build a website for a residential retirement community, which helped the organization expand their fundraising efforts.
    Learn More