In this article, authors Matthew Wolfgram, Brian Vivona, and Tamanna Akram present a comparative case study analysis of five students from a comprehensive, urban Hispanic-Serving Institution whose experiences exemplify a coordination of intersectional factors that amplify barriers to internship participation. Research shows that college internships yield academic, economic, and professional benefits. However, the opportunity to locate and participate in internships is not equal across student demographic and socioeconomic contexts. There are multiple complex barriers to internship participation for students who are socially and institutionally minoritized by race, gender, and other contextual factors, including finances, work responsibilities, travel, and gendered familial obligations. These factors intersect with systems of power and privilege to amplify challenges and foreclose futures. The authors argue that the delineation of barriers into types alone, such as financial, social, and cultural, without additional analysis of the dynamics of how such barriers intersect and amplify, runs the risk of misconstruing students’ actual experiences when they struggle to access internships and other educational opportunities.

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