New MJ-school Lookout Fellows Program removes financial barriers to student internship opportunities

UNC alumni Lee and Sunny Burrows are creating life-changing opportunities for UNC School of Media and Journalism students to pursue dream internships without the financial barriers that often limit some students’ access to their ideal experiences.

Through the Lookout Foundation, the Burrows family has committed $200,000 over the next four years to support The Lookout Fellows Program. The program supports undergraduate students with funding for summer internships. The award is highly competitive, and all Lookout Fellows must be MJ-school majors receiving need-based financial aid.

“This kind of investment in student experiential learning can’t happen without people like Lee and Sunny Burrows, who believe every student should have the opportunity to begin building a career they may not have imagined possible before coming to the MJ-school,” said Susan King, dean and John T. Kerr Distinguished Professor at the school.

The Burrows family is allowing students to set aside financial concerns during the internship planning process to focus solely on the quality and impact of the learning experience. Lookout Fellows can highlight the award on their resumes, which could give them an edge when competing against other internship applicants.

“Being a graduate of the UNC School of Media and Journalism and currently serving on their Foundation Board,” said Lee, “I know what a great institution it is, and I want to make sure students have their dream internship without associated financial concerns.”

Students selected for the fellowship will receive assistance in targeting which companies would best fit their career goals; polishing their resumes; refining cover letters; and identifying alumni who could serve as mentors. The MJ-school will also work with Lookout Fellows to design an all-inclusive budget tailored to the internship and the city in which they will be working. Award amounts will allow Fellows to start their internship experience without any financial worries and be able to make the most of the opportunity.

Sunny said that real world business experience gives students the confidence to achieve their career goals. “Many students will come from a small town high school like I did,” she said. “With that perspective, learning about advertising was interesting, but I did not feel comfortable applying for a job until I spent a summer internship in brand marketing.”

Following the summer internship, Fellows will return to school and continue to work closely with the career services director on their career preparation and first job search. The application process — managed by the school’s career services director — is in the fall semester for the following summer’s internship. All finalists will be interviewed by a selection committee of faculty and staff from the MJ-school.

For more information, visit mj.unc.edu/LookoutFellowsProgram or contact Director of MJ Career Services Jay Eubank at jeubank@email.unc.edu.