Rural Internship Initiative

Gain valuable work experience related to your career while strengthening connections and opportunities in a rural North Carolina community!

How It Works – It’s Simple

Find an internship site that aligns with your field of study.


Start your application process.


Complete all application components.

Submit your application.

Engage in selection process.

Princess Alston, Wilson County
(’22 Rural Internship Initiative Participant)

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.

The Golden LEAF Foundation provides funding to pay interns $15/hour for up to 400 hours of work. Internships take place over 8-10 weeks, between May 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.


The Rural Internship Initiative is open to all Golden LEAF Scholars who will not have completed their undergraduate degree by August 2024. Scholars who will be graduating in Spring or Summer 2024 semesters are not eligible to apply.

Internship Components

Eligible Experiences – The internship opportunity identified by a Golden LEAF Scholar must be aligned with the student’s course of study.

Eligible Sites – Internship sites include, but are not limited to:

  • businesses
  • non-profits requirements
  • governmental entities
  • and/or companies

Internships must be completed in person at a site physically located in a qualifying county.

Interns are responsible for:

  • contacting their prospective internship site
  • discussing the internship opportunity with the site manager
  • working with the site to discuss job responsibilities for the internship

Joshua Jones, Graham County
(’22 Rural Internship Initiative Participant)

Helpful Materials

Golden LEAF Scholars are responsible for identifying a site to complete their internship. To support this process, Golden LEAF has compiled a list of sites that are interested in hosting an intern. This list is a resource. Golden LEAF Scholars may reach out to sites on this list or work with sites outside this list to secure an internship.

While the Rural Internship Initiative aims to provide its participating scholars with valuable work experience, there are guidelines for activities scholars may engage in within a healthcare setting. Please review this resource for a catalog of pre-approved healthcare job descriptions that you and your selected internship site will need to choose from.

Application Requirements

Applicants will be asked to submit:

  1. Contact information
  2. An unofficial transcript (to verify course of study information)
  3. Internship site information
  4. Three short essay questions in which the applicant 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?

Key Dates

December 4, 2023

Application Opens

January 18, 2024

Early Application Deadline

February 8, 2024

Regular Application Deadline

February-March 2024

Selection Window

March 2024

Interns Announced

Contact Us

For questions about the Rural Internship, email [email protected].  

301 N. Winstead Avenue

Rocky Mount, NC 27804

Phone: 252-442-7474

Toll-free: 888-684-8404

Fax: 252-442-7404

Email: [email protected]