Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Entry 6/Final Entry
The last couple weeks of classes are a rush for me as an internship coordinator. I am finishing up with this term’s interns and getting started with the spring and summer interns.
Today I had a final internship meeting for one student. The intern was at the internship site with her site supervisors and I was on campus using a web conferencing technology. When I set up the meeting, I sent out an invitation via e-mail listing the meeting agenda.
These meetings are important for me to hear how the internship went directly from the site supervisors. Even though they will also send a letter of evaluation, the meetings - whether face-to-face or virtual - are useful because people often give more information in person such as useful career advice, how to build a resume that future employers will notice, and further educational choices. The site supervisors today were particularly good at giving this information, perhaps because they had given it thought ahead of time.
Three students have already arranged internships for the summer and others are arranging fall internships. They are now completing self assessments and other assignments that I assign to prepare them for their work at the internship site. So the cycle beings again.
The penultimate step for interns in our department is to complete a second self-assessment to identify where they have grown. Strangely, after being in the business world for a term, the scores sometimes actually go down. The main reason seems to be because this real-world experience often teaches how much there still remains to learn! With a dose of work-world reality, comes a healthy reassessment of their view of the career world and what it takes to succeed. It’s Friday afternoon, and I just checked the D2L Dropbox to see if the self-assessment has been completed yet. I’m interested to see how this intern looks at the growth she experienced during her internship.
The first intern has completed her requisite number of hours on the job site and the final meeting was held with her site supervisor. I arrived for the early meeting and was met at the employee door and escorted into a conference room that also serves as the training room. It gave me an opportunity to discuss the organization’s training development and delivery - one of my specialties.
When we got down to business, I was delighted with the positive feedback from the organization on the intern’s openness to new ideas and eagerness to learn. I have to remember to give her a pat on the back!
Students are continuing to work at their internship sites and submitting their journals. Each week they send a journal and I respond as necessary with feedback, information and questions. I encourage them to reflect on what they are learning, through both direct instruction and by observing what goes on around them, and to compare what they see with what they learned in classes in our program.
After the flurry of activities in the beginning of the internship (self-assessments, creating resumes, initial meetings, creating objectives, getting agreements on internship tasks) this is a relatively quiet time for me as a university internship supervisor when all is going as well for the students as it is this semester.
Internships from a Department Internship Coordinator’s Perspective
Internship planning for our department begins the semester before the internship is to begin. One of my students began planning their internship last fall by doing a self-assessment of their skills and what they wanted to learn, and contacting possible internship sites. Many student interns will then need to do a formal interview at the organization. Soon after the internship begins, I meet with the site supervisor and the student intern at the internship site. I drove to one of my student’s internship site one snowy Monday morning. The maintenance crew was busy plowing out the parking lots, but the one I was to park in had yet not been completed, so my internship visit turned into a bit of an adventure. I pulled into the parking lot and promptly got stuck in the snow. It took about several minutes to extricate myself and park safely in a plowed spot.
When I arrived, the student and their site supervisor had already arrived. I was happy to hear that their internship had already gotten off to a good start. The meeting went smoothly, and was almost shorter than the time it took to park my car! We were lucky to be able to do an internship visit that day, because the snowstorm intensified, and by noon, the organization closed for the rest of the day so people could get home safely. That’s life in Minnesota in the winter!
Each week student interns write journals and submit them via our D2L DropBox. It is interesting to read what the interns are doing and their reflections on what they are learning. Many students begin by observing or shadowing someone, and then later take a more active role in the work of the organization. In the case of the student that I wrote about above, they have a split internship, meaning that they spend time in two internship locations, and can compare how the same job is done in different places. They have also been fortunate to be able to attend meetings where staff discussed changes and trends in the field. This can give them a perspective that they might not get by simply doing the everyday work of someone in the organization.