Yeutter Institute award will add heartland voices to trade policy |

Yeutter Institute award will add heartland voices to trade policy

LINCOLN, Neb. — The Clayton Yeutter Institute of International Trade and Finance has created a new scholarship to help University of Nebraska-Lincoln students pursue internship opportunities at major trade-related organizations.

The Yeutter Student Scholar Award will provide a stipend to Husker students who are awarded valuable, often highly competitive trade internships. The award aims to knock down barriers for students who otherwise would not consider applying for these often unpaid or modestly paid internships located in some of the United States’ most expensive cities.

“Internships give students a chance to prove themselves in a professional setting, find mentors and begin building credibility,” Yeutter Institute Director Jill O’Donnell said. “They are often a foot in the door to greater opportunity, but access can be an issue, particularly for government internships that are unpaid. We created this award to support and prompt more students to pursue valuable trade policy internship experiences, and ultimately to expand the number of voices that are engaged on international trade issues speaking from the perspective of Nebraska and the greater heartland.”

Both O’Donnell and the institute’s assistant director, Jacy Thoman, interned in Washington, D.C., and credit the experiences with shaping their careers. Early in her career, O’Donnell interned in the D.C. office of then-Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, which later turned into a full-time job working on foreign policy issues as a member of his legislative staff.

“That early exposure to people, policy issues and ways of working in Washington was instrumental in orienting me toward opportunities to do work that I love,” O’Donnell said. “It led to graduate school and the chance to work with some formidable foreign policy thinkers and public servants. I am excited to see what this award can lead to for our students.”

Thoman, who received a bachelor of science in agricultural economics from Nebraska, interned in Washington, D.C., at the National Corn Growers Association, where she was able to work closely with its director of public policy for international trade. The experience stayed with her after she graduated and began working in jobs related to agricultural policy and promotion, coming full circle when the opportunity arose to join the Yeutter Institute in 2020.

A minimum of one $5,000 award will be granted each year beginning in fall 2021 to help pay the travel and living expenses of a student who secures an unpaid or modestly paid internship for a trade-related organization such as the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. Applications will open in September.

“We are pleased that we already have the funds available to make the first award this coming fall, thanks to a generous donor,” O’Donnell said. “Our goal is to grow the fund to support another student in 2022 and offer two or more awards in future years.”

Gifts to support the Yeutter Student Scholar Award may be directed to the University of Nebraska Foundation. Donations can be made at or mailed to the University of Nebraska Foundation, 1010 Lincoln Mall, Suite 300, Lincoln, NE 68508. Gifts made by mail should note Yeutter Student Scholar Award Fund in the memo.

The vision of Husker alumnus and renowned trade expert Clayton Yeutter, the Yeutter Institute connects academic disciplines related to law, business and agriculture to prepare students for leadership roles in international trade and finance, support interdisciplinary research and increase public understanding of these issues. For more information, visit


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