LULA BURKE, Asst. News Editor — Career exploration initiatives around campus are pushing forward despite COVID-19, taking advantage of a 10 million dollar grant from the Sherman Fairchild Foundation. The grant, given in August, will support the work of Denison’s new Center for Global Programs, as well as the Austin E. Knowlton Center, the Launch Lab and other projects. 

Founded in the 1950s, the Sherman Fairchild Foundation is a non-profit that funds a myriad of private liberal arts colleges and public universities across the United States, focusing on the importance of higher education. President Adam Weinberg expressed his appreciation on the Denison website shortly after the grant was received. 

“We are extraordinarily grateful to the Sherman Fairchild Foundation for these opportunities to enrich our students through new possibilities,” he said. 

Executive Director of the Knowlton Center Hank Malin said that students can look forward to an enhanced experience in the campus’ pre-existing programs.

“The Sherman Fairchild gift will allow us to expand our summer internship stipend fund (which provides funding to support students who want to pursue unpaid or low-paying summer internships) and expand our First Look program,” he said. “We also added an 8-week “Fast Track” program for seniors (and interested juniors).”

Similarly, Professor Katy Crossley-Frolick of the Center for Global Programs said the money the Sherman Foundation provided is especially useful this year, as travel-based internships and opportunities for international students suffer in the current job market. 

“In so many words, the mobility of students around the world has become sluggish and difficult to navigate,” she said. “Nevertheless, there are also new opportunities emerging as we cope with COVID that I think will be ultimately game-changing, in a good way, for international education.”

Crossley-Frolick said she encourages students to continue to make use of the various career programs, especially given the recent monetary boost. She said that the coronavirus has brought about some positive changes in her division. 

“We hope to develop new global learning opportunities for all Denison students and create new ways to support Denison students from abroad with innovative programming and services,” she said. 

Both Malin and Crossley-Frolick said they appreciated students’ willingness to adapt. Malin noted that although it is atypical, a virtual system can sometimes benefit students who are interested in international or out-of-state opportunities. 

“We were pleased that students seemed comfortable with those changes and, in some cases, actually preferred the virtual environment, he said. “This has allowed us to actually increase the number of employers and graduate schools interested in “coming to campus” since a Zoom call is easier (and less expensive) for the employer or graduate program than getting on a plane to come to campus!” 

The Launch Lab in Columbus will also benefit from the grant and is still set to open in January of 2021. 

According to the Launch Lab webpage, the lab will “provide space and support for Denison faculty to connect their students and coursework to resources, experiences, and opportunities in Columbus.” It will bring a score of new opportunities for students to prepare for their future careers right in downtown Columbus.