Student/Intern FAQ

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About ELI

Current college students of Oregon who are Pell Grant eligible and are from rural communities in Oregon, and who’ve graduated within the last year. ELI matches students with paid internships at top companies in Southern Oregon and the Portland-area. This includes current undergraduate students as well as recent graduates (within one year of graduation) who are looking for experience. 

Our interns are selected not only for their smarts but for their desire to grow as leaders. The companies that are hosting interns have a sincere desire to broaden the representation of the community in their workplace and retain local talent. And they’re looking for new pipelines of talent. They’re looking for someone just like you to bring a new perspective.

ELI encouragement begins at the interview event. You’ll be treated professionally and will gain experience in interviewing and networking through the process. Students who are selected for an internship will have a senior leader mentor in their company. During the summer, ELI will host gatherings to support and inspire you on your path to becoming a professional and workshops on topics such as resume creation, networking, and other professional development topics. ELI will continue to act as a support throughout your internship experience and beyond.


Our desire is to connect students who have a strong connection to Portland and Southern Oregon to internships in the region. The idea is that students who grew up in each region will return there after graduation to build a career. And for those who have made Oregon their home during college or graduate school, they will see themselves making this the place to build a career and participate in the community. As such, we currently accept applicants who are from Portland and Southern Oregon and attending school anywhere, and those who are from any other location, but who are attending a higher ed institution in Oregon and are planning to look for career opportunities here. This includes all students attending Oregon State University and University of Oregon.

Yes, we accept applications from DACA recipients.

Unfortunately, Emerging Leaders currently lacks the capacity to support international students (F-1 visa) in the work authorization process. Thus, we have made the difficult decision not to consider international students for placement. We regret this disappointing situation and commit to continuing to develop systems and build our capacity to be able to support international students in future cycles of our program.

Students can apply for an ELI internship while currently attending college or up to one year after undergraduate graduation. Students must have completed a minimum of one year of college coursework to be eligible. That can be at a community or a 4-year college.

While students currently enrolled in grad school can apply, we caution that our internship program is designed specifically for undergraduate students and recent graduates (within one year). Certain internship positions may not be able to accept grad students for their positions.

Program Details

This year is our first year offering internships in Southern Oregon. Most internships will be available in the Portland metropolitan area or in Jackson and Josephine counties. Students from Southern Oregon attending colleges in the Portland Metro Area will also have the opportunity to apply for the internship or remote opportunities with our Portland partner companies! The application has a place for you to identify which region(s) you are willing to take an internship  and your preferred internship format. Some internships may be remote/virtual or hybrid (include both remote and in-person/on-site work), but all ELI applicants should be available to work in the regions they select during the upcoming summer, including having access to housing accommodations in those selected areas. 

Most internships run 10–12 weeks in the summer with scheduling flexibility to accommodate school calendars. These are full-time internships, working 30–40 hours/week. 

That depends on your interests, goals, career ambitions, and the company’s internship needs. Companies agree to provide work that is important to their goals and a senior leader as a mentor. Whatever specific work you do in your ELI internship, it’ll be relevant to the organization and insightful for the intern. 

This is the first year for ELI Southern Oregon, so all companies will be new. Many companies in our Portland region will renew their internships the following year, and others will have openings in different departments. While we don’t know for certain what the needs will be, you can take a look at the company partners from the previous year and our job groupings to anticipate the types of internships that will be available.

During the selection process, candidates will have an opportunity to indicate a few internships that are of primary interest. ELI will try to match you with your preferences, but the staff will also match students to other internships where they see a good fit. Keep an open mind; some of the best internship opportunities are with companies you may not be familiar with. 

At this time, we do not coordinate credit for ELI internships, but interns are free to discuss this with their company and school once they have accepted the internship.

There is no application fee. What it takes is your time and effort to complete a quality application, engage in our application and selection process, and participate in ELI programming during the summer if placed as an intern. 

In addition to engaging in a full-time summer internship at the host company, interns invest in their growth by participating in Professional Development (PD) and community-building events hosted by ELI from June to August. This includes a required Orientation and reporting, as well as optional professional development and social gatherings.



Monthly PD events are about 90 minutes in length and may involve some pre-work and/or post-reflection activities (around 15–30 minutes). Brief surveys are collected at key points before, during, and at the end of the internship experience. Participation in select PD events and reporting are a required part of successful ELI program completion.

Intern Application & Selection Process

  • Submit an online application before the January deadline, including a resume and essay questions. Your application will be screened to see if you meet the minimum requirements.
  • If you pass this first screening, we’ll invite you to an interview in late February/early March. This is a required step for all candidates to move forward in the selection process and held remotely.
  • ELI staff will then evaluate your application, resume, and interview results to match 3 students to each internship opening as finalists for the company to select from. Students who apply are not guaranteed an internship.
  • In April, if you’re matched to an opening, you and up to 2 other candidates will be contacted by the company to set up a final selection interview. Final interviews and offers will take place in April and are the decision of the company that is offering the position.
  • In June, you’ll attend an orientation to set you up for success in your 10–12 week internship.

We will only accept resumes that are one page in length and in PDF format, and it is best not to use a lot of graphics or custom fonts. Your career center is a great resource to help you create and review a professional quality resume.

You will be notified following the application deadline if you are invited to the interview event. Interns also have access to the intern portal in which they will receive updates as the come available, the system will also send out email updates as they come. Check out the intern section for program timelines.

The purpose of the event is two-fold. First, it gives you a chance to hear more about our program and to gain experience in an interview situation. This is an opportunity to improve your skills and to network with the ambitious students and supportive professionals at the event. From day one, you are part of the ELI family.


Second, it provides the ELI staff with feedback from interviewers on the way you present yourself and your readiness for an internship. Throughout the event, the focus is on building you up and on giving you feedback to make you an even stronger candidate. We want to reassure you that, yes, ELI really does want you as an intern at a top company.


The interview event is required. If you are unable to attend for a valid reason, we will talk to you about an alternate way to accomplish the interview.

The application deadline is firm and the online application may be completed from anywhere you have access to it. There is a mandatory interview event in late February/early March for all students who are selected to move forward in the selection process. For students who are out of the country during the event, an alternative interview can be arranged. Students must also be available (by phone or Skype/Zoom, etc.) if they cannot be present to participate in a final interview if invited to compete for a particular internship.

Following the interview event, the ELI staff completes an intensive matching process and may not be able to reply to inquiries about your status. You’ll know in April if you’re a finalist for one or more internships. Applicants are not guaranteed a finalist interview.

There is no guarantee that finalists will be offered an internship. It is a competitive process and the company will ultimately decide who to interview and who to hire. Offers for internships are given directly to the intern by the hiring company. All offers are expected to be made by the end of April.

Yes, you’re welcome to reapply! In fact, we encourage you to apply each year through graduation. Your skills will be building, and new internships will open up as ELI grows.

We recognize participating in the ELI process takes time and effort. We want to support you in determining if this is an investment you are ready to make. ELI may not be for you if:

  • You don’t have the time to commit to a full-time internship in the summer and monthly ELI events.
  • You’re only interested in getting an internship and are not prepared to put in intentional work toward your personal and professional development.
  • You aren’t comfortable being held accountable by, and building community with, a group of peers and mentors from various backgrounds during this season of growth.

Please be honest with yourself. We do not ask you to commit to something if it will not serve you and meaningfully support your personal and professional goals. We welcome you to attend an info session to see if ELI resonates with you so you can feel confident in your commitment.