Rural Internship Initiative

The Rural Internship Initiative offers Golden LEAF Scholars the opportunity to spend their summer working on-the-ground in a rural community. Scholars gain valuable work experience related to their career field along with additional leadership training and support from the NC Rural Center.


The application window for the 2022 Golden LEAF Rural Internship Initiative has closed. If you have questions about the application, please reach out to

About the Rural Internship Initiative

The Rural Internship Initiative provides eligible Golden LEAF Scholars with professional work experience related to their career field in a rural North Carolina community.

Internships are offered on a competitive basis. The Golden LEAF Foundation provides funding to pay interns $15/hour for their work. The internship takes place over a period of at least eight weeks, between June and August. Internship sites that take on a Golden LEAF Scholar intern provide them with a meaningful project or role that aligns with the student’s college major and future career goals. Interns also receive additional leadership training and support from the NC Rural Center over the course of the summer.

Key Dates 

October 19, 2022

Application Opens

January 18, 2022

Application Due 

February-March 2023

Interview and Selection Window

April 2023

Interns Announced

Information for Golden LEAF Scholars


The Rural Internship Initiative is open to all Golden LEAF Scholars excluding participants in the combined leadership and internship opportunity (GLSLP) managed by the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) and seniors graduating in the Spring or Summer 2023 semester. Participants of the Lead for Excellence (L4E) virtual leadership experience managed by CCL may apply.

Internship Components 

  • 8-10 weeks, between June-August 2023
  • Paid, $15/hour for up to 400 hours
  • Based in a qualifying North Carolina county
  • Identified and secured by the Golden LEAF Scholar
  • Related to the Golden LEAF Scholar’s major/course of study

How to Apply

Applications are submitted online through an application portal. The portal will open in mid-October 2022.

Scholars will be asked to submit:

  • An unofficial transcript (to verify course of study information),
  • The Internship Site Information Form (completed by the internship site),
  • Three short essay questions in which the intern describes how the proposed experience aligns with their course of study and supports their professional development.
    • What are your future career plans and how does this internship opportunity align with them?
    • What factors are influencing your decision to return to a rural North Carolina community after college graduation?
    • What excites you about this internship opportunity?