SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Laura Bolt’s plans for a summer abroad in Austria came to a screeching halt because of the coronavirus.

“Of course I’m super disappointed that I wasn’t able to go,” she said.

Bolt is majoring in physics at the University of San Diego. She suddenly had an empty summer schedule.

“I figured I needed to do something productive with myself, and so I started applying like crazy,” she said.

Bolt landed an internship with MakeSAFE Tools, a San Diego manufacturer of devices that allow emergency stops on construction equipment in the home and in the field.

Sales at the company, however, are down 60% to 70% since March.

“If you’re going to get a really solid intern, they’ve still got to do something for money, and we’re not in a place that makes sense for paying interns, but we can provide really authentic experiences,” said Scott Swaaley, founder of MakeSAFE Tools.

Bolt found a different way to get paid. She turned to the USD Career Center, which, through private donations, offers stipends to interns who demonstrate that they have a real learning opportunity at hand but will incur expenses.

They can be granted between $500 and $5,000. The university divvied up $180,000 to 80 students this summer.

“The goal is not to cover salary, we’re not there to help a company get free labor,” said Robin Darmon, senior director at the USD Career Development Center. “This is actually going to put (the student) on a test drive course towards career goals.”

Now, Bolt is doing does a bit of everything at MakeSAFE Tools – she codes, does web design, technical writing and even participates in meeting with customers — all from the comfort of her own home.

Check out the original piece from ABC News 10 San Diego and the video here. Plus learn more about our small business resources for entrepreneurs and host institutions here.