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My Economy: Making close to six figures as an intern


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My Economy tells the story of the new economic normal through the eyes of people trying to make it, because we know the only numbers that really matter are the ones in your economy.

For this latest installment of our series My Economy, we hear from David Kuhns who, as an intern, was making close to six figures while he was a PhD student at the University of Oregon.

“The internship job description that I found, I found because I was searching for cognitive neuroscience. So, I had, I don’t know gosh, it was 11, 12 years of education at that point before I even could get that internship.

You could have someone that is doing world class research in artificial intelligence or deep learning, but they’re all “interns.” We do need highly skilled individuals. That type of education is required to do a lot of this type of work.

I do feel a little bit embarrassed about my salary because it is far above what most people make. I know that by looking at the statistics. It also makes me keenly aware that I do live in a bit of a bubble. Among my peers that I socialize with, it’s not that unusual.

I think people deserve what I have. Because I don’t feel like I live a lavish lifestyle. I have a pretty modest home. We have the retirement savings that we should have at our age, but it’s way more than what [most] people do have. Same with our salaries— it’s way more than the median or the mean, but at the same time, that just basically covers what we should have to live the stereotypical middle class lifestyle.”


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