Department of English



The Department of English’s internship program allows English majors to gain skill and academic credit, and meet people who can aid their careers. The program matches students with locally and nationally known commercial and nonprofit companies in, among other fields, literature, publishing, radio, television, and public relations.

The Program

The Department of English’s internship program helps majors create a fall or spring semester internship with one of nearly three dozen participating Upstate New York companies (listed below). It also allows students to create a summer independent study program anywhere in the world.

The intern process lets majors refine their field of interest, linking academic study and post-University of Rochester careers. The Rochester Broadway Theater League, for instance, specializes in public relations; National Public Radio affiliate WXXI, in programming; the Messenger-Post newspapers, in writing and editing. Open Letter, the university’s new trade-oriented press, and the University of Rochester Press help interns evaluate and acquire books, read untranslated books and/or sample translations, and write pieces for its web site.

An intern works 10-15 hours at the participating company, meeting key officials, earning four credit hours, and building skills and professional relationships. Interns are paired with a faculty advisor. At the end of the semester, they submit a portfolio of their work and a 12-15 page essay describing the internship experience. We also invite students who plan to be on campus the semester following their internship to participate in an informal discussion with undergraduates who are interested in learning more about our internship program.

The summer “independent study” process is similar but allows majors to create an internship near where they live and work. Recent summer programs include NBC and ESPN Television; TV’s Dr. Phil, Tavis Smiley, and Tyra Banks shows; and major radio stations in New York, Chicago, and Boston.

Each year the number of internship opportunities grows. For general questions about internships in English, contact Curt Smith at Students who are interested in internships within the Rare Books Department and any other department of the UR library should contact Russell Peck at Students who need to arrange an internship in order to complete their requirements in the Language, Media, and Communications track of the English major should contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies.

Please note that all internships must be approved by one of the program’s co-directors in advance. We require that students planning a spring semester internship contact one of the co-directors no later than October 15, and that students planning a fall semester internship make contact no later than March 15. The application process is straightforward, but please be sure to allow yourself enough time to select and interview for an internship, receive English Department approval, and fill out the necessary paperwork. It is never too early to contact us so that we can help you to sort through your internship and scheduling options. Students asking for credit retroactively, after they have already begun their internships, risk not getting course credit for their internships.

The Co-Directors

Russell Peck, Professor of English, has worked with University of Rochester undergraduates for more than forty years, sponsoring a variety of research internships that allow students to collaborate on his professional projects or conduct research in the university’s archives.  His research has focused on Gower, Chaucer, and folk and fairy tale motifs in Middle English.  He is currently editing the Middle English Texts Series.

Curt Smith, Senior Lecturer of English, wrote more speeches than anyone for former President George H.W. Bush. He is also what Gannett News Service calls the “voice of authority on baseball broadcasting.” The former Gannett reporter and Saturday Evening Post senior editor has written ESPN TV documentaries; hosted series for an NPR affiliate, XM Satellite Radio, and the Smithsonian Institution; and authored fifteen books, including the landmark Voices of the Game.

Tanenbaum Scholarship

In 2004 University alumnus John Tanenbaum ’85 began a funded internship to help English majors subsidize their housing, transportation, and other expenses in a summer independent study. Since 2006 the Tanenbaum Scholarship has helped make internships possible at an academic publishing house in Pittsburgh, a TV production team in Los Angeles, the American Red Cross, and the Legal Aid Society of Rochester. For more information, contact

Applications for summer 2016 are due at 4pm on Monday, April 18th, 2016. Applications may be found here or in the English Department main office, Morey 426.

Research Internship Opportunities

A number of undergraduate students have refined their research and writing skills by interning with English Department faculty, the Robbins Library, and the library’s Department of Rare Books and Special Collections. Faculty have offered these students an opportunity to collaborate on their professional projects (Morris Eaves’s Blake/An Illustrated Quarterly, Alan Lupack’s Camelot Project, Russell Peck’s Cinderella website), and have supervised their original work in the university’s archives (for instance, on the Susan B. Anthony papers, the John Gardner papers, the Claude Bragdon archive, dime novels, and the Plutzik Library’s Heyen Collection of broadsides and first editions of contemporary poetry). The students’ work is featured on several library websites ( and Students arrange these internships directly with the faculty who will be supervising their internship.

Participating Organizations
Afterimage Al Sigl Center
American Red Cross Arts & Cultural Council for Greater Rochester
Bausch and Lomb BOA Editions
Cerebral Palsy Association Democrat and Chronicle
Eastman Kodak Company FOX TV Rochester
George Eastman House GEVA Theatre
Image Word Sound Merrill Lynch Client Association
Messenger-Post Newspapers Monroe County Democratic Committee
National Multiple Sclerosis Society Planned Parenthood
University Communications, University of Rochester Office of Minority Student Affairs, University of Rochester
Open Letter Books, University of Rochester Rochester Broadway Theater League
Rochester Museum and Science Center Rochester Red Wings
University of Rochester Press Visiting Nurse Service
Writers and Books WROC TV
WXXI Radio WYSL Radio