ROCHESTER, NY (08/08/2017) Nazareth College is making a bold investment in its students with its new SPARK grant (Students Pursuing Academic and Real-world Knowledge). The pilot program, launching in January 2018, provides a $1,500 college-sponsored grant for eligible students to pursue early opportunities for internships or study abroad experiences. SPARK is intended to help make possible enriching opportunities for real-world learning and growth experiences to position students for career success. Nazareth is the first local college to offer a comprehensive early experiential learning grant program with an academic component.
The SPARK grant is a unique program that is integrated as part of Nazareth's Center for Life's Work (CFLW), which gives students an early start on the path from college to careers and lives of meaning. Career coaches help students as freshmen plan and integrate academics, skills, and experiences with passions.
"The goal of the program is to invest in our students and encourage opportunities for real-world learning," said Nazareth President Daan Braveman. "Students can use these experiences to apply their classroom learning and develop the skills that prepare them for their careers.
"Nazareth has invested significantly in opportunities for students, and it is very important that families get every ounce of value during all four years," said Nazareth College Board of Trustees Chairman Sergio Esteban. "There should not be any difference between a first-year student and a senior in terms of post-college preparation, and this program will help change that mindset."
The one time, one experience SPARK grant works like this:
A Nazareth grant covered travel costs for music/business major Nick Napoli '18 of Connecticut to complete a summer internship at BMG Rights Management music publishing company in Manhattan. "It makes a night and day difference. I was very grateful, because it made the internship do-able," says Napoli, who received the funding during the early pilot phase of this new initiative.
Nazareth believes that a more engaged student who takes part in a second internship or study abroad opportunity is more likely to be a successful student, graduate in four years, and land that first job. Look Sharp's 2016 State of Millennial Hiring Report indicates that graduates who complete three or more internships are more likely to secure full-time employment.
"Nazareth's SPARK Grants are a new way to enhance our commitment to preparing and guiding students on their professional paths," says Emily Carpenter, executive director of Nazareth's Center for Life's Work. We also want to encourage these opportunities early in students' college years because they provide such great relationship-building, learning, and growth. They can help students get even more from the rest of their education."
Nazareth is confident that the addition of the SPARK grant to the Center for Life's Work will give students a distinct edge, making them highly employable because of the quality education and rich experiences they pursue while at the College.