Center for Community Engagement

If Internships Be the Food of Love, Eat On



Ken Koopmans knows what he would do if aliens came to Earth.

“I would ask them if they wanted to hire an Amherst intern. Or maybe see what kind of food they eat.”

That’s exactly the right type of attitude I had hoped from the new manager of internships at Amherst College.

Hailing from Oregon, over three thousand miles away, Ken came to Amherst because he “loved working in the college environment and being a part of helping students learn more about what they wanted to do.”

But before he can do all of this, he must wake up at 7 a.m.  each weekday and eat breakfast. (“Maybe 7:01 a.m.—that one extra minute is important, you know.”)

“When I wake up,” he remarks, “I am very hungry. And that usually motivates me to get out of bed and get something to eat right away.”

Thankfully, Ken’s hunger doesn’t go away with the first meal of the day. As the new “point-person” for the Amherst Select Internship Program (ASIP), Ken searches for another type of fare—internships.

ASIP is the collaborative effort of the Career Center, Alumni and Parent Programs, and the CCE. Generally speaking, Ken’s role is to increase the number of internships available to Amherst College students. His job puts him in contact with many alumni, who he says are excited to give back to Amherst by hiring students. Most internships are open only to Amherst College students or are labeled as “Amherst-preferred.”  

What does this triumvirate mean for the student who is accepted into ASIP?

It means being able to tap into a database of internships offered by Amherst alumni eager to help students further their careers and talk about their experiences before and after graduation. It means giving students the opportunity to sharpen their interview, cover-letter writing, and resume-building skills. It means providing internships that include, but are not limited to, public service and non-profit organizations.

For certain internships related to the CCE’s goal of community engagement, ASIP also means money. Students can receive $3,500 for an international position, $3,000 for a continental U.S. job, and $2,500 at home.

For those students who don’t know what they want to do, Ken is the master chef who can help facilitate the process of cooking up the perfect summer internship. He has chosen the perfect ingredients make your resume appealing and enlisted the best alumni around to give you a job—all to make your summer a wonderfully delectable experience.


Mmmm…chew on that.

When she is not putting lots of garlic and chili powder on her food, Tracy Huang ’11 enjoys mentoring with Big Brothers/Big Sisters and practicing Karate and Tae Kwon Do. She will gladly accept your favorite recipes and answer any questions at yhuang11[at]amherst[dot]edu.