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UT System welcomes its summer 2021 interns

2021 Summer Interns and Law Clerks

The 2021 University of Texas System Internship (UTSI) program launched this month, welcoming 30 students from undergraduate and graduate programs across the state. 

This paid, 10-week summer program offers project-based work experience, a robust professional development program, one-on-one mentoring and opportunities for career exploration. 

UTSI 2021 by the numbers

Tarun Punhani, a UT Dallas graduate student interning in the UT System Office of Shared Information Services, said that he was drawn to the program because he saw an opportunity to work on both his technical IT skills and the soft skills, like networking and interpersonal communication, that will propel him in his career. 

“I wanted to be involved in this project-based internship program to make myself ready for the U.S. IT industry,” said Punhani, who was born and raised in India. 

Created as a pilot program in 2020, UTSI was initially intended to be an in-person on-site program in Austin, but the COVID-19 pandemic forced Susan Masson, the assistant director of Talent and Innovation Programs at UT System, and her team to pivot to a 100% online experience last summer.  

Despite the challenges of virtual collaboration, the pilot was a success, and Masson and her team decided to offer the remote format again and increase the number of intern positions for the 2021 cohort.  

The silver lining is that students from every corner of Texas can participate in the program without the added financial and logistical burden of relocation. 

“Doing this internship remotely has helped me tremendously,” said Jonathan Hinojos, a communications intern in the UT System Office of Information Security. “As a first-generation student at UT El Paso, I would have had little to no chance of being able to afford staying in Austin.” 

This year, interns and law clerks have even more career development opportunities available to them via weekly events and assignments including informational interviews, mentor meetings, project presentations, coffee chats with UT System executives and an end-of-the-program Q&A with Chancellor James B. Milliken.

“Meeting one-on-one with Dan Sharphorn, UT’s general counsel, was an amazing experience. Dan was very relatable and provided me with great insight into the dynamics of higher education law,” said Ashney Shelly, a Thurgood Marshall School of Law student at Texas Southern University and law clerk in the UT System Office of the General Counsel. 

Students and the UT System Administration are both reaping the benefits of the internship program.   

“In addition to providing a robust experiential learning opportunity to students that they can leverage in future interviews and job searches, UTSI is also an opportunity for UT System Administration staff to connect with the students we serve,” Masson said.

By Makayla Vasek, Communications Intern in the Office of Communications & Media Relations

About The University of Texas System

For more than 130 years, The University of Texas System has been committed to improving the lives of Texans and people all over the world through education, research and health care. With 13 institutions, an enrollment of more than 243,000 students and an operating budget of $21.7 billion (FY 2021), the UT System is one of the largest public university systems in the United States. UT institutions produce more than 64,000 graduates annually and award more than one-third of the state’s undergraduate degrees and more than half of its medical degrees. Collectively, UT-owned and affiliated hospitals and clinics accounted for more than 8.6 million outpatient visits and almost 1.8 million hospital days in 2020. UT institutions also are among the most innovative in the world, collectively ranking No. 4 for most U.S. patents granted in 2020, and the UT System is No. 1 in Texas and No. 2 in the nation in federal research expenditures. The UT System also is one of the largest employers in Texas, with more than 21,000 faculty – including Nobel laureates and members of the National Academies – and more than 85,000 health care professionals, researchers and support staff.

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