AILSA CHANG, HOST:
For college students, summer internships have become a key path to the job market. But are those internships destined to be yet another casualty of the pandemic? Well, as NPR's Anya Kamenetz reports, there are some opportunities still out there for students with hustle and luck.
ANYA KAMENETZ, BYLINE: For Ananay Arora, spring has brought good news and bad news. The good news is he snagged one of the most prestigious internships in the country.
ANANAY ARORA: I'm a sophomore majoring in Computer Science at Arizona State University, and I'm an incoming intern at Apple.
KAMENETZ: The bad news...
ARORA: It was supposed to be in Cupertino, Calif., but now I have to do it from my apartment.
KAMENETZ: That's in Tempe, Ariz., where Ananay has been since his campus canceled in-person classes due to the coronavirus. He's an international student from India, so he can't go home to his family right now. But Ananay has been keeping busy by teaming up with two friends to create a website that answers the question on so many of his fellow students' minds: ismyinternshipcanceled.com.
ARORA: We're trying to combat fake news around internship statuses.
KAMENETZ: They've crowdsourced information from more than 500 companies so far - big and small, ranging from airlines to the Oscars to Walmart and Zillow. The verdict - just over a third of internship programs are canceled outright, especially in hard-hit industries like travel. Most of the rest are moving online for part or all of the summer, and some companies are even expanding their programs. In fact, Cloudflare, an Internet security company, decided to double its incoming class of interns after the CEO saw Ananay's website.
It's not only the tech industry that is continuing to support interns through this crisis. Hamilton College in New York state is one that's extended its internship funding to graduating seniors like Ngoc Ngo, who's taking a few years off before medical school. She's got not one but three summer projects lined up - one, an extension of her senior thesis genetics research; a second, market research position with CBS Health and a third doing research on the microbiome at an Irish university - all three from her home.
NGOC NGO: I feel that I'm so fortunate. I think that I'm able to even apply for these positions is truly a privilege.
KAMENETZ: Another out-of-the-box option for aspiring interns this year is the Virtual Student Federal Service. This program has been around for a decade, offering monthlong unpaid and remote assignments with dozens of different federal agencies, from NASA to the Smithsonian.
NORA DEMPSEY: Because of coronavirus, our phones and our email boxes are brimming with interest by folks we've never heard from before.
KAMENETZ: That's Nora Dempsey, who runs VSFS. She says they've created 184 new internship placements in just the past couple of weeks.
DEMPSEY: Agencies with long, complicated names coming to us for the first time, saying, how do you work virtually? And I hear you've been working virtually for 10 years. And can we join? And how can we do this?
KAMENETZ: Remote internships, of course, aren't possible in every sector. Think of retail or construction. The experts I spoke with say they work best when they're project-based, so interns can complete assignments on their own time. And Ananay Arora is sad that he's missing out on the camaraderie of working at Apple's headquarters.
ARORA: You get to meet new people, and you have people walking by who are seeing how you're working. So it's a totally different experience.
KAMENETZ: On the plus side, no one's going to be asking him to fetch coffee.
Anya Kamenetz, NPR News.
(SOUNDBITE OF D.P. KAUFMAN'S "BRAVERY")