Make your summer count

Take an internship, find a mentor or get involved in your community.

A student volunteer working at Tiger Pantry
Tiger Pantry is looking for volunteers to work shifts every Sunday throughout the summer. Sam O’Keefe/University of Missouri

From the desk of Bill Stackman, vice chancellor for student affairs

Summer is nearly here. For many of us, that means an opportunity to relax, recharge and just enjoy ourselves after a busy spring.

It’s also an opportunity to get a step ahead in your professional development by taking an internship, finding a mentor, or getting involved in your community.


Summer is traditionally a good time to pursue an internship that can help you develop career skills. Laura Peiter, a career services assistant at the MU Career Center, told me internships are much more than a block of text on a résumé.

“An internship makes you more marketable to employers and help you know whether you’re making the right decisions about your future,” Peiter said.

“The people you intern with are going to be your references in the future,” Peiter said. “Behave as if you want them to really miss you when you leave.”

If you don’t know where to start, visit Hire Mizzou Tigers to access Handshake, a free-to-use website that can help you find internships and jobs. If you’d like one-on-one assistance with landing a summer internship, go to the MU Career Center or the career service office in your academic unit.

Peiter also recommends students take the CliftonStrengths assessment to identify their natural talents. “Knowing your talents lets you build on them and develop them into strengths, which can help you achieve success in school and beyond,” she said.


Mizzou Mentoring is a program of the Mizzou Alumni Association that pairs students with Mizzou alumni who can help guide them during their time on campus and beyond.

“Alumni and friends of Mizzou are a great resource for students,” said Maddie Dunkmann, coordinator of alumni and student programs. “They’ve walked across the same Quad as you and can share their knowledge, skills and experiences to help you grow both personally and professionally.”

You can begin by creating an account with Mizzou Mentoring. Once your profile is complete, you can search for a mentor and send them an invitation to connect.

Community involvement

There are many local service opportunities for students who are staying in Columbia for the summer.

On campus, Tiger Pantry is looking for volunteers to work shifts every Sunday throughout the summer. Shifts take place from 11:30 until 2:15pm. Sign up here.

If you want to get outside and help maintain our streams, Sustain Mizzou is organizing several stream-clean events, both on campus and off. Email to sign up.

You can find additional service opportunities on the Service@Mizzou Engage page. Engage will shut down for part of the summer. When it does, you can find updates about volunteer opportunities at

You can also write to at any time to learn about opportunities.

Off campus, the City of Columbia showcases volunteer opportunities, both one-off and long-term.

If you’re not in Columbia, check with your local government, library, service organizations (such as Lions Club International or Rotary International) or houses of worship about service opportunities in your community.