The Effects of COVID-19 on Nicholas School Student, Cameron Hawkins

As one might suspect, a lot of things are uncertain for our Duke students given the current circumstances of the pandemic. Like many, Cameron Hawkins MEM/MBA ’22 had begun planning out her summer well in advance.

Cameron HawkinsIn February, Hawkins was accepted to the EDF Climate Corps program where she was placed with New Balance for a summer internship. The primary objective of her internship was to complete a greenhouse gas inventory of Scope one, two, and three emissions for 2019. In addition, she would create a data management system to organize data collection for the future. Her internship would have also involved assisting with RE100 reporting and providing recommendations on transitioning to zero waste facilities. Unfortunately because of the pandemic, in March New Balance had to undergo budget cuts which included Hawkins’ internship.

Had Hawkins been able to move forward with the internship at New Balance, she would have gained experience working across multiple functions, providing guidance on the kind of private sector role she might pursue after graduation. Not to mention, the networking opportunities in her ideal field of outdoor apparel/active wear.

Stories similar to Hawkins have become common for those looking for internships within the private sector, as many companies remain unsure about the long-term impact of COVID-19. Students like Hawkins are not seeing this as a deterrent, but instead as an opportunity to get creative as they explore alternative ways to get the experience they need post-graduation. Hawkins is currently investigating ways she might participate in the New Balance internship as a Mentored Study course for credit. In addition, she plans on working with a start-up Italian luxury footwear brand in order to become B-Corp certified.

Now more than ever, Nicholas School students need your help. If your organization is hiring (short term through full-time), please send postings to and the Career and Professional Development Center (CPDC) will get them directly to students. If you can help provide career advice for students during this time, please be in touch with CPDC. Several Nicholas School friends, donors and Duke alumni have recently stepped forward to fund virtual internships and open doors in their professional networks to help Nicholas students in this challenging time. If you are interested in helping a Nicholas student, please email the Office of Development and Alumni Relations or click to support the Karen Kirchof Internship fund.