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Mike Bender Internship Award

It is our pleasure to present you with the Mike Bender Award. Mike Bender was born in New Jersey in 1909, and soon moved to New York City where he lived until his all too-early death in 1975. Like many children of poor immigrant parents, he started work at an early age to help support himself and his family. From boyhood when he was selling newspapers on the New York City trains until the time of his retiring from his small furniture store, he was a working man nearly every day of his life.

Whoever knew him, knew his great respect for knowledge, his wide range of interests, and his great curiosity about the world. So it seemed appropriate to his family that this award is given in his name to someone pursuing the formal education that he himself was unable to complete.

The family of Morris Bender has established a memorial endowment to the Gallatin School of Individualized Study of New York University known as The Mike Bender Award. This award is available to both undergraduate and graduate students.


The Mike Bender Award will be given to a student(s) in the Gallatin School whose internship work will exemplify and promote the ideals of compassion, understanding, and tolerance among people, thereby creating a better and kinder human society. Only Gallatin students are eligible to apply for the Mike Bender Award. The student may work in the humanities, arts, or sciences.


Grants may be used in the fall and spring semesters.

Application Requirements

The selection for this award will be made from a proposal submitted by the candidates. The proposal should be 2-3 pages long and include the following information:

  • Background information about the student, including general and academic /educational goals and interests
  • A description of the internship plans including the placement involved, the people, the goals, and how the project will be evaluated
  • A discussion about how the internship plans fit in with his/her goals; and how the internship plans and goals are consistent with the criteria for this award

Spring 2021 Recipients:  

Bianca Sproul (BA '21)

As a graduating senior, Bianca Sproul is a climate change intern at The YEARS Project. The YEARS Project focuses on spreading awareness and spurring action about climate change through pragmatic forms of storytelling. Among her many duties and responsibilities, Bianca helps with the transcribing and captioning of videos for increased accessibility to the organization's content, copywrites blog posts and content for social media, and monitors the latest science to stay up to date.


Sungyun Roo (BA ’22)

Sungyun Roo is a junior interning at 350 NYC as an embedded internship for Professor Whitingtom's course "Climate Change." 350 NYC is a branch of, a global network of grassroots organizations that prevent further climate change. 350 NYC is in charge of campaigns in New York City and New York State, taking the form of events, meetings, and protests in unison with other like-minded organizations. As an intern, Sungyun's role is to support all of the organization's ongoing projects, conducting research regarding local issues to spread awareness, preparing materials for forums on climate change, and more.