Internship Program

As a type of Individual Service, Engage Dallas partners with the Hegi Family Career Development Center to offer internships with the initiative's Community Partners. This semi-structured program develops student career readiness gained via experiences offered through community partners affiliated with Engage Dallas.

In order to understand the program, we provide details on the (a) history of the Engage Dallas Internship Program, (b) intern eligibility, (c) key component, and (d) how to apply.

The Hegi Family Career Development Center offers the Hegi Family Career Development Center Internship Program annually to a select number of students who receive unpaid internship offers. Engage Dallas is excited to partner with the Hegi Family Career Development Center Internship Program to offer internships in collaboration with our Community Partners.

The Program was established in 2016 and is a resource exclusively for SMU students completing summer internships at nonprofits and other organizations that typically offer unpaid internships. Hegi Family Career Development Center re-launched the Program in the 2019 academic year with the structure that it has now, prior to that it had been in existence as the Hegi Family Unpaid Internship Award.

Examples of the non-for-profits and community agencies students interned with included Dallas Zoo and Make-A-Wish. Additionally, the Program has developed a number of arms, or branches, to support niche needs and larger university strategic goals. For instance, as a part of the university response to the SMU Black Unity Forum Action Plan, the Hegi Family Career Development Center excitedly introduced the SMU Diversity Equity and Inclusion Internship Program, including a paid internship for Black students at SMU. This program was administered as a branch within the larger Program.

Therefore, in 2021, the Division of Student Affairs supplemented funding of an arm for Engage Dallas within the existing Hegi Family Career Development Center Internship Program. We believe the Engage Dallas Internship Program can be a transformative experience for Mustangs to develop career readiness within a nonprofit context.  

The Engage Dallas Internship Program has specific requirements for student applicants and community partners.

Student eligibility

The table below outlines major student eligibility requirements as well as an explanation for preferred qualifications.


Engage Dallas Internship Eligibility

Time and Duration

Summer (10 weeks), Fall and Spring (15 weeks), Year-long (30 weeks)


Options at 5, 10, or 20 hours/week

GPA Requirement


Internship Requirement

In process of application

College/Major Requirements




Preference afforded to applicants with Community Engagement Proficiency and Experience satisfied

To be eligible, it is preferred but not required that students complete their required Community Engagement Proficiency and Experience hour requirement prior to the internship start date.

The Community Engagement experience requirement challenges students to engage in a reflective way in substantial community-based activities where communities are groups of people with a shared identity held together by ties of affinity or necessity not easily broken. This requirement may be satisfied by engaging in communities that are civic, religious, professional, familial, ethnic or otherwise constituted.

This can be done through coursework with a significant community service requirement, coursework that includes an internship, coursework in which students work with non-campus clients, etc. Community Engagement activities must be sustained over time and include a reflective component. Preferably, the applicant would have completed their proficiency within the Engage Dallas program, but other methods of attainment are acceptable.

It is the intent of Engage Dallas that the internship experience and stipend be distinct from and not contribute to the attainment of the proficiency as it would defeat the purpose of volunteerism. 

Community Partner eligibility

Recognized Engage Dallas Community Partners, or those organizations that have been vetted and approved by the Engage Dallas Off-site and Risk Management sub-team, are eligible to submit requests for Engage Dallas interns. A list of recognized Engage Dallas Community Partners is provided on the Partnership page

Internship posting process

  1. Recognized Community Partners will submit an interest form to Engage Dallas detailing the roles and responsibilities of the proposed internship.
  2. The Engage Dallas team will be responsible for approving the internship and designating the appropriate Award Tier and Level.
  3. Following approval, the Engage Dallas team will work to match you with an intern through SMU’s Handshake platform

The program and its components are structured differently according to the semester(s) a given student chooses to participate.


Forming the core of the program, the internship determines the amount of award funds granted to the participating student, as judged by its duration and corresponding number of hours expected to be worked each week. Awards and their qualifying factors for students are explained in a tiered table illustrated below. Two key components of the program, the pre-reflection and the post-reflection, will be conducted immediately prior to internships for confirmed student interns and immediately following the internships’ conclusion, respectively. Topics of these reflections and associated questions that may be asked are listed below. In addition, the community partner organization that the student completes an internship with will conduct their own evaluation of the student based on their work performance.

Student program experience 



Stipend Funds

Stipends are divided into tiers (based on the type of work) and levels (based on the number of hours per week). Tier 1 stipends are for internships that fulfill office management and support positions.  Positions that are primarily administrative and include responsibilities such as filing, scheduling, or office organization would qualify as Tier 1 internships. Tier 2 stipends are for internships that stretch the intern to apply academic skills or training to a project or goal. Positions that are primarily project management, such as social media coordinators and project coordinators, would qualify as Tier 2 internships.  


Stipend levels are based on estimated hours per week.  Level 1 internships are approximately 5 hours/week, Level 2 internships are 10 hours/week and Level 3 internships are 20 hours/week.  Students have the option to apply for 10-week summer internships or 15-week fall/spring internships.  Students applying for year-long internships would be eligible for two stipends (fall and spring semester).


The table below presents student stipend amounts by tier and level.


Stipend Amount

Hour Estimation

Tier 1: Office Management and Support


5-20 hours/week

Level 1

Summer: $500

Fall/Spring: $750

5 hours/week

Level 2

Summer: $1,000

Fall/Spring: $1,500

10 hours/week

Level 3

Summer: $2,000

Fall/Spring: $3,000

20 hours/week

Tier 2: Project Management


5-20 hours/week

Level 1

Summer: $750

Fall/Spring: $1,125

5 hours/week

Level 2

Summer: $1,500

Fall/Spring: $2,250

10 hours/week

Level 3

Summer: $3,000

Fall/Spring: $4,500

20 hours/week


Pre and Post Reflections

Both a pre-reflection and post-reflection will be required for stipend recipients. The reflections are designed in a way to contribute to the participants' understanding of how their experience in the nonprofit context and topics will span career readiness, job-skills training, job-readiness, and civic engagement. Example prompts for the pre- and reflection are outlined below. 



Timing: Collected in application

  • What do you hope to gain from your internship experience?

  • Choose one competency in which you hope to develop in your internship. What are your goals for your development of this competency?

  • How will your internship experience in a community non-profit aid in your career readiness?  What skills do you anticipate utilizing or developing within your internship?

  • How do you hope to contribute to your community through this internship experience?

  • Engage Dallas Checkpoint #1 is a quantitative survey encompassing community engagement attitudes, attitudes toward service, etc. students will take during the application period. 



Timing: Collected at end of the internship

  • What skills did you develop within your internship that you anticipate utilizing in your future career?

  • What unique job skills or job-training did you develop that may be unique to the nonprofit environment? 

  • What did you learn about responsible civic engagement through your internship experience?

  • Engage Dallas Checkpoint #3 is a quantitative survey encompassing community engagement attitudes, attitudes toward service, etc. students will take at the end of their internship experience. 


The Engage Dallas Assessment, Research, and CEPE attainment sub-team intends to perform a content analysis on findings to include in their annual report. 

Community Partner Evaluation of intern

Each community partner organization that hosts an internship will be responsible for conducting a professional evaluation of each student intern at the end of their internship. The evaluation method and variables used to measure performance will be up to the organization’s discretion. Ultimately, however, it is meant to show the student’s engagement and effort invested in the work, the employer’s experience hosting the intern, and their receptiveness to hosting more internships in the future.


Student recruitment

Student recruitment for Engage Dallas Internships will align with recruitment for the Hegi Family Career Development Center Internship Program.  Recruitment for each internship cycle will occur at specific points in the year. Recruitment for Summer and Fall internships will occur in the previous Spring semester.  Recruitment for Spring internships will occur in the previous Fall semester.  Recruitment will not be a year-long cycle.  Instead, applications will open and close at specific points in the year as determined by the Hegi Family Career Development Center.

Stipend distribution 

Stipends will be managed and distributed by the Hegi Family Career Development Center.  Stipend distribution will align with the distribution timeline for the broader Hegi Family Career Development Center Internship Program.  In general, students will receive half of the stipend at the start of the internship and will receive the second half once they have submitted their Community Partner Evaluation and their Self-Reflection.

Details coming in March 2023.

We are excited by your interest to serve as an intern for our Engage Dallas Community Partners! Follow the steps below to complete an internship application.

Details coming in March 2023.