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CollegeCorps Sends Students to Service

CollegeCorps, a nonprofit organization founded by two Harvard juniors, has announced the first batch of students it matched with summer internships in seven different countries.

Founded last September by Hani N. Elias ’05 and Adam Kalamchi ’05, the organization pairs undergraduates with host organizations which provide public service opportunities in foreign countries.

The interns will also receive a total of $40,000 in need-based scholarships, funding which CollegeCorps raised from local businesses and foundations.

The 11 students, seven of whom are from Harvard, will travel to China, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico, Nicaragua, South Africa and Tanzania.

Two additional interns are from MIT, one from Brown University and another from Tufts University.

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Students who are accepted must identify faculty advisers with whom they will work on academic projects during their summers abroad.

During the school year, interns also have weekly training sessions with experts about regional social policy issues.

Among the guests have been former members of the Peace Corps and Jennifer Leaning, professor of international health at the Harvard School of Public Health.

“Some of our students have gone abroad,” Elias said, “but a lot of them aren’t social science majors. This gives them a good grounding before they go.”

To attract applicants, CollegeCorps advertised in The Crimson and Boston-area newspapers. Students submitted applications through CollegeCorps’s website. CollegeCorps screened and interviewed the applicants. The host organizations then reviewed the interviews and selected students for internships.

The Harvard students who were chosen for the program include Kathryn E. C. Berndtson ’06, Jeffrey R. Daffron ’06, Kathryn A. Eidmann ’06, and Cornelia L. Griggs ’05, who is also a Crimson editor.

Berndtson will travel to San Carlos, Costa Rica where she will work with children in local schools.

“No matter how much time I spend learning about the pervasive injustices in the world, I think that the opportunity to act holds infinitely more value,” she said in a press release.

Griggs, a pre-med history and science concentrator, is the coordinator of Project HEALTH at Harvard. She will travel to Cape Town, South Africa, where she will volunteer in hospitals and clinics.

Griggs said CollegeCorps is unique because it reaches out to undergraduates who want to volunteer abroad. She said many of the host organizations with whom CollegeCorps works do not normally seek college students for internships. Child Family Health International, the host organization with whom she will intern, usually accepts only medical students as volunteers, she said.

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