Student internships in the age of virtual staffing

After adopting a virtual model for its college internship program, UFCU continued to build out financial wellness counseling, networking, and scholarship components.

University Federal Credit Union ($3.1B, Austin, TX) created its UFCU Scholars program in 2018. In 2019, the Austin-based credit union combined that program with an existing internship program to create a two-part initiative called Student Success. No one could have predicated what was on the horizon for 2020.

When the pandemic struck during the first few months of the year, organizations across the country canceled internships, throwing into flux the academic as well as career plans of thousands of students. UFCU — whose field of membership includes the flagship University of Texas campus in Austin — found another way to serve its students. It put a virtual spin on Student Success.

“Our program was designed to be an in-person experience, but the pandemic made that impossible,” says Rhonda Summerbell, UFCU’s director of relationship management and community impact. “Because of that, we moved the program to a 100% virtual setting, including our professional development and networking events.”

UFCU provided 11 internships this past summer and nine this fall semester. Interns make at least $15 an hour and work in multiple areas, including IT, HR, marketing, relationship management, retail, finance, organizational development, legal, vendor management, and community engagement.


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