Meritus Scholar Leon Yuan at his marketing internship with Institute on Aging

Summer 2015: Career Development Highlights

Conventional wisdom has long held that summer internships are important for college students. But did you know that internship participation was recently found to be the number one most important credential for post-graduation employment?

In a study conducted by the Chronicle of Higher Education Education and American Public Media Marketplace, employers said that internships mattered more in their hiring processes than college major, college reputation, GPA, or relevance of coursework. The National Association of Colleges and Employers also found that students who participated in paid internships are more likely to receive a job offer and will make a starting salary of approximately 40% higher than their less qualified peers.

That’s good news for the forty-five Meritus Scholars who participated in our internship program this summer. Scholars have been hard at work since mid-May partnering with 24 prominent Bay Area organizations in fields as diverse as healthcare, public service, business, finance, and technology.

At the first annual Meritus Intern Poster Presentation on August 5th, Scholars showcased their work and reflected on the summer experience. Many Scholars felt that their internships helped them think about their academic course loads and future goals in new ways. Jordon Baca, who interned with 826 Valencia, explained, “Before this experience I felt lost in what direction I wanted to take after college because I just didn’t understand the type of environment that brings out the best in myself.” Others described the experience as “an incredible learning experience,” “truly inspiring,” and “invaluable.” To see pictures of the event, hosted by Zephyr Real Estate, click here.

Excitingly, Meritus interns have recently caught the attention of two online news outlets. In an August 14 article on, reporter Melanie Graysmith wrote about the Meritus Career Development program and included a slideshow of several of our Scholars hard at work. Then, on August 31, MarketWatch showcased the long-standing partnership between Meritus and Zephyr Real Estate. Among other contributions, the company has provided more than $150,000 in scholarships over the past ten years and hosted Meritus Scholar Ahmed Almahbashi as an intern this summer.

As the summer internship season comes to a close, our Career Development Program is setting its sights once more on securing high-quality Career Mentorship pairings for our Scholars. More than forty Meritus Scholars are currently enrolled in mentoring this fall, and more will join the program in January. For more information on Career Mentoring, please contact Hollyann Vickers at

A special thank you again to all the organizations and individuals who made this productive summer possible!