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Career Fair, 2023. Credit: Micaela Go

What is Rising Bird Fellows?

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Rising Bird Fellows (formerly known as CareerEd and BEAM Fellows) is a program that provides funding for Stanford students who participate in qualifying unpaid internships, externships, or short-term projects during Winter, Spring, or Summer quarters. These opportunities allow students to apply their classroom learning to real-world environments while exploring different industries and roles, learning new skills, and making professional connections.

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More About the Rising Bird Fellows Program 

The newly named Rising Bird Fellows program, named for Dr. Tina Rising Bird ‘82 and Dr. Jeff Bird ‘82, MD ‘86, PhD ‘88, will pay stipends of up to $6,500 to students who secure experiential opportunities that are unpaid. The fellowships are open to all undergraduates, with priority going to students with financial need. Other contributors to the program include an anonymous donor, Wendy Fisher ‘85, MBA ‘92, Addie Swartz ‘82, and James Munger ‘49 (a former volunteer with Stanford Career Education). 

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Rising Bird Fellows Eligibility

To qualify for the Rising Bird Fellows program, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Be a Stanford undergraduate student or a co-term within your first four years at Stanford (master’s/PhD students and postdoctoral scholars do not qualify)
  • Be in good academic standing (students on suspension, leave of absence, or gap year do not qualify)
  • Have already received an offer for an unpaid internship, externship, or short-term project when you apply for funding
  • Winter/Spring Only: Must be enrolled in Stanford undergraduate courses
  • Students with demonstrated financial need will be given priority
  • While students may apply for Rising Bird Fellows more than once, the maximum total funding that a student can receive from this program over the course of their time at Stanford is limited to $10,000.

Additionally, your Rising Bird Fellows internship, externship, or short-term project must meet the following requirements:

  • Include professional experience and skill development opportunities aligned with your interests
  • Be unpaid
  • Meet unpaid internship requirements outlined in Fair Labor Standards Act from the Department of Labor
  • Last 3 weeks or longer
  • Winter/Spring Only: Time commitment must be between 5 and 15 hours per week
  • Summer: Time commitment must be between 5 and 40 hours per week
  • Comply with Stanford travel policies
  • Organization may not be owned or run by you, a relative, or close friend
  • Organization must provide a supervisor who: 
    • Is a full-time professional employee at the organization (volunteers and current college students do not qualify)
    • Is not a relative or friend of yours
    • Confirms that they and the opportunity meet eligibility requirements
    • Has the authority and is willing to commit to program policies and requirements on behalf of their organization
    • Provides you with guidance throughout the internship, externship or short-term project 
    • Certifies completion of opportunity and provides you with final written feedback and completes the surveys and/or assessment provided by Stanford CareerEd

Can I apply if I’m a...

  • Student athlete: Yes, but please confirm that accepting a Rising Bird Fellows stipend would not impact your athletic scholarship eligibility.
  • International student: Yes, but please check with Bechtel International Center to confirm that accepting a Rising Bird Fellows stipend would not impact your visa status.
  • Undocumented student: Yes, the Rising Bird Fellows program has no citizenship requirements.
  • Graduating senior: We accept applications from graduating seniors; however during the summer they have lower priority for funding than continuing undergraduate students.
  • Co-term/master’s/PhD student or postdoctoral scholar: Co-terms within their first four years at Stanford are eligible to apply. Master’s, PhD students, or postdoctoral scholars unfortunately do not qualify for Rising Bird Fellows.
  • Student considering an overseas opportunity: Yes, eligible students participating in global opportunities that align with the Stanford International Travel Policy and meet all other eligibility requirements will be considered for funding.  Please be sure to provide adequate information about the organization and your supervisor so we are able to confirm that the opportunity meets all requirements.

Are there any opportunities that Rising Bird Fellows does not fund?

  • University research-related opportunities: Research done on campus or at another university will not be considered for funding. For grants supporting research, please explore the grants offered through Undergraduate Research.
  • Stanford-based and/or academic opportunities: A goal of the Rising Bird Fellows program is to help you explore career opportunities outside of the Stanford environment and begin to gain experience and skills while you build your professional network. Opportunities based at Stanford do not qualify for Rising Bird Fellows stipends, nor do academic based opportunities at other institutions.
  • Organizations that charge fees for participation or placement: Rising Bird Fellows Stipends will not be issued for opportunities that require the student to pay fees to take part in the opportunity. This could be fees for a third-party placement organization, a volunteer sending organization, or a fee paid to the host organization (e.g. fees for courses, program or housing fees, etc.). 
  • Faith-based organizations: Working with a faith-based organization may be supported by Rising Bird Fellows funding, but the organization must be inclusive in who they serve, non-proselytizing, and nonpartisan.
  • Political-related opportunities: Rising Bird Fellows funding cannot be used for work with political campaigns or partisan organizations, including any official party work.
  • Previously funded opportunities: Students may be eligible to receive a second Rising Bird Fellows stipend for a subsequent opportunity with the same organization if the second opportunity includes unique or expanded professional experience, and if the total amount of stipends received by the student from Stanford Career Education are not in excess of $10,000.

Rising Bird Fellows Requirements

In addition to completing the internship, externship, or project as described in their application, students who receive funding from the Rising Bird Fellows program will be required to join a Canvas course and complete a series of assignments during the quarter for which they receive funding. Following are examples of the required assignments:

  • Pre-Internship Survey
  • In-person or virtual cohort meetup
  • Establishing Learning Goals
  • Midpoint Update / Reflection on Learning Goals
  • End of quarter Student Feedback Survey
  • End of quarter Employer Feedback Survey (student must ensure and attest to the completion of this requirement by their supervisor)
  • Share Your Story assignment, providing a short video clip or written essay about your opportunity
  • If your opportunity is international, completing the International Academy Canvas course

CareerEd reserves the right to rescind funding at any given point and time and refuse future access to funding should they be apprised of any policy violations, including failure to complete the opportunity as outlined in the Rising Bird Fellows Employer Agreement or failure to complete all assignments.

 James & Anna Marie Spilker Engineering & Applied Sciences Building Science and Engineering Quad 2. Credit: