Student Internships

  D.D.VonDras 2007  


Student internships are ways to learn beyond the classroom.  Conceptually, the undergraduate internship provides students with a scaffolded apprenticeship experience. It is intermediary between a brief service-learning activity and a pre-professional graduate school internship, allowing the situation of advanced undergraduate students in their zone of proximal development (Vygotsky, 1962) where there may be continued refinement of skills and interests, and illumination of potential career paths.  


There are many areas where an undergraduate internship may be served.  My main interest is in gerontology and thus I have sponsored internships in adult-day care centers, nursing homes, hospitals, rehabilitative and geriatric medicine centers, mental health services, pastoral counseling programs, and community outreach services.  However, I have also facilitated internships in the areas of college counseling programs, parole and probation programs, local police departments, and human resource offices of local businesses.  Each has provided the student a wide range of activities and opportunities for professional involvement and learning.  


The learning goals of the internship are to assist the student in integrating theory and research learned in the classroom with the practical experiences encountered in the internship. In practice, specific goals will vary from individual to individual. Ideally, however, the internship will provide opportunity for the transfer of learning from the classroom to professional career area, as well as opportunities to enhance learning and personal growth.  While the specific learning goals of an internship are student centered, they include the following required activities:

         Students are required to spend at least 100 hours over the course of a semester at the internship site

         Develop a list of readings to compliment your internship activities (the reading list usually contains 25 to 30 research or review articles, book chapters, etc.)

         Keep an activity diary

         Write a final report (see Outline for Final Report)

See also the Human Development Program's informational web-page for policy information and other requirements: Student Internship Policy


See Undergraduate Gerontology Internship for a model of developing internship learning goals, as well as examples of an internship experience and final report.  


Meeting Schedule: 


Meetings with the Professor and possibly other student interns on a bi-weekly basis.




(A) Evaluation by On-site Supervisor; (B) Participation in meetings with Professor and possibly other student interns; (C) Successful completion of reading list and incorporation of research articles in final report; (D) Successful completion of all learning activities listed in syllabus; (E) Submission of  internship diary; (F) Submission of final report.