More than $1 million Paid to FSU Students Through the CHOICE Internship Program Since 2013

More than $1 million Paid to FSU Students Through the CHOICE Internship Program Since 2013

Nov 1, 2019

Environmental Science and Policy major Rose Determan ’20 knew she had found the perfect experiential internship opportunity at the Charles River Watershed Association (CRWA) in Weston during the summer following her junior year.

There was only one problem. Because the watershed association is a nonprofit organization, it has no budget for paid interns, and Determan needed to earn some money to support herself.

Enter the Framingham State University CHOICE (Community/Hometown Organizations Internships and Cooperative Education) Program, which pays students who complete an internship or cooperative education opportunity at a local government or non-profit organization a competitive salary for their time. Launched in 2013, the program has awarded more than $1 million to FSU students for their work.

“I don’t know that I would have been able to do the internship if not for the CHOICE program,” says Determan. “I would have missed out on a really great experience, that has been important to helping me think about what I want to do after graduation.”

The CHOICE program is funded annually from a $110,000 grant from the state’s Internship Incentive Fund, as well as matching private support through the FSU Foundation, Inc., which is the University’s fundraising arm.

“Our mission is to provide direct financial support to students to ease the burden of the cost of their education,” says FSU Foundation Board President Robert Ramrath. “The CHOICE program puts hard earned and well-deserved dollars in the pockets of students who need it. It’s an outstanding program.”

More than 520 students have taken advantage of the program since its inception, participating in paid internships at 413 different sites. This year, the program is paying students a competitive salary of $16 an hour for their work, which is intended to take into account their level of education, according to FSU Internship Coordinator Jill Gardosik.

Framingham State Director of Career Services and Employer Relations Dawn Ross says the program has been crucial to students who cannot afford to be working for free as they pay their way through school.

“They wouldn’t be able to leave their part-time jobs and get these great experiential learning opportunities and internships without it,” she says.

Courtney Thaen, executive director of Downtown Framingham Inc. (DFI), says her organization has benefited greatly from the program because it’s been able to host interns who rely on a salary that she doesn’t have the budget to offer.

“DFI enjoys support from passionate, talented students who are continuously introduced to the world of community and business development in downtown Framingham through the CHOICE internship," she says.

To learn more about the CHOICE Program, visit

About Framingham State University

Framingham State University was founded in 1839 as the nation’s first public university for the education of teachers. Since that time, it has evolved into a vibrant, comprehensive liberal arts institution offering small, personalized classes on a beautiful New England campus. Today, the University enrolls more than 6,000 students with 58 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in the arts, humanities, sciences, social sciences and professional fields. As a State College and University (SCU), Framingham State prides itself on quality academic programs, affordability, and commitment to access for all qualified students.