Service, Research, and Internships

Engaging in community service is nothing new at Rhodes. Some say it’s just in our DNA. For two years in a row, Newsweek magazine named Rhodes the #1 service-minded school in the U.S. And Washington Monthly also named Rhodes the top college in the country for the number of hours committed to service by the student body. Currently, more than 80 percent of Rhodes students are involved in some form of community service. 

  • The Laurence F. Kinney Program: The Kinney Program is the Rhodes campus-wide effort to engage all students in service and social action in Memphis and the broader community. More than token or simplistic volunteerism, the Kinney Program helps students understand our community neighbors, reach across cultural, racial and economic barriers, and seek lasting solutions for a more compassionate and just world. With connections at about 100 service programs in Memphis, the Kinney Program recruits, supports, and motivates students to match personal passions and interests with social needs in the community. Kinney also sponsors voter registration drives, educational events on social issues, service training and reflection opportunities, social activism and advocacy, and works with faculty to develop service-learning courses and community-based research projects. 
  • Bonner Scholars: Rhodes is part of a national consortium of Bonner Scholars, an innovative and pioneering program for scholarship and community service, initiated at Rhodes in 1992 by the Corella and Bertram F. Bonner Foundation of Princeton, NJ. Along with Bonner Scholar Programs at other colleges, Rhodes offers up to 15, four-year service scholarships to entering students who have financial need and an exceptional commitment to serving in the community. An application for the Bonner Scholarship is available through the Office of Admission. 
  • Summer Service Fellowships: Summer Service Fellowships are intensive, 9-week summer experiences that award academic credit for working full time with Memphis community organizations. Each summer, a group of 16 dedicated, passionate Summer Service Fellows live together and participate in group programs that educate them about Memphis, service, and ways to tackle challenges they encounter.
  • Community Service Student Groups: Rhodes College takes pride in the many student organizations that focus on community service. From issues of global health to the education system in Memphis, there's a group for every student.  

In every academic discipline, Rhodes students are conducting leading-edge research and creative activity that produces original intellectual or creative contributions to a wide range of fields of study. Research and creative activity take many forms at Rhodes, from re-examining media coverage of the Vietnam War or analyzing the high levels of microRNA 201 in patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, to redefining the Roman hero in Virgil’s Aeneid or learning to conduct a choral ensemble. 

Every spring, we celebrate our students’ research and creativity at the Rhodes Symposium, an engaging annual event showcasing student work through both oral and poster presentations. Usually held at the end of the academic year, presentations occur at various locations on the beautiful Rhodes campus, beginning shortly after the morning Awards Convocation and continuing throughout the day. Student presentations highlight work in all disciplines and departments, as well as student engagement in the Memphis community. 

The Rhodes Student Travel Fund provides support for students to present their research or creative activity at professional meetings. This fund gives students the opportunity to communicate their results to a professional audience and to experience networking with professionals in their discipline and students with similar interests. 

Through the St. Jude Summer Plus Program, students become fully engaged citizens in the scientific community of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, a world-class pediatric clinical and research facility focusing on cancer and other catastrophic childhood diseases. Over the course of two summers and the intervening academic year, students are paired with St. Jude researchers and placed into the hospital's professional laboratories for an intensive research experience.

Thanks to the fact that each year, 75 percent of Rhodes students complete internships throughout Memphis, the college considers the city an extension of the campus. Students apply their classroom knowledge to such areas as business, finance, health care, or nonprofits and in return, gain real-world experience from top-notch mentors. 

Rhodes also helps students connect with internships across the country and even overseas. Our students have worked for the U.S. Department of Commerce in France and Croatia, taught English through nonprofit organizations in Cambodia, and helped a U.S. firm set up operations in China. Alumni, who are active members of the Rhodes community, provide some of our best internship opportunities. They often serve as internship sponsors and mentors, and help students build a network of professional contacts. We have Rhodes alumni chapters across the country in cities such as Chicago, Houston, New York, New Orleans, Dallas, Atlanta, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. 

What follows is a sampling of recent student opportunities: 

  • Action News 5, News & Sports 
  • Baptist Memorial Hospital, Human Resources 
  • Boys & Girls Club, Marketing and Communications 
  • Buckeye Technology, Accounting 
  • Campbell Clinic, Orthopedics 
  • FedEx, Innovation Analyst 
  • Greater Memphis Chamber, Research & Marketing 
  • International Paper, Strategic Planning 
  • Leadership Memphis, Communications 
  • LeBonheur Children’s Medical Center, Community HIV Network 
  • Make-a-Wish Foundation of the Mid-South, Communications 
  • Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, Communications 
  • Memphis City Council, Communications 
  • Memphis Public Library and Information Center, Social Media 
  • Memphis Child Advocacy Center 
  • Memphis Music Foundation 
  • Memphis Office of the Mayor 
  • Memphis & Shelby County Film Commission, Project Specialist 
  • Memphis & Shelby County Office of Economic Development 
  • Memphis Symphony Orchestra, Public Relations 
  • Memphis Zoo 
  • Methodist Healthcare, Physician Alignment Strategy 
  • Mid-South Peace & Justice Center 
  • Office of U.S. Congressman Stephen Fincher (R)  
  • Office of U.S. Congressman Steve Cohen (D) 
  • Office of U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R) 
  • Office of U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R)  
  • Opera Memphis, Communications 
  • Overton Park Conservancy 
  • St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Epidemiology and Cancer Control 
  • Shelby County Mayor’s Office 
  • Shelby County Public Defender’s Office 
  • Shelby Farms Park Conservancy 
  • STAX Museum of American Soul Music 
  • U.S. Attorney’s Office, Pre-Law 
  • U.S. Department of Commerce/U.S. Export Assistance Center, Trade Assistant 
  • United Way of the Mid-South, Early Childhood Development 
  • UrbanArt Commission, Marketing 
  • Urban Child Institute 
  • Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis, Grants & Programs 
  • YWCA Abused Women’s Services 

Rhodes Student Associates Program (RSAP)  
The Rhodes Student Associates Program (RSAP) connects students to stimulating and important campus employment through which they can take on challenging projects and start exploring different career interests. At last count, there were 100+ RSAP positions available in more than 40 different offices and departments — and more are being added all the time. Students who are selected for RSAP positions can earn up to $4,500 a year.