Today, most employers want students to have an internship in their field of study and apply what is learned in the classroom in a professional setting. Career Services held a Non-Traditional Internship seminar on Jan. 24 to help students find ways to accomplish this.
66% of future employers want students to have two or more internships worth of experience in their field. There are many nontraditional internships: job shadowing, study abroad, research, self-developed positions, field studies, student teaching, practicums and project based internships.
Robert Ameling, assistant director of internships, said a good way to make sure you understand what you have learned is to back it up with experience.
Ameling focused on practicums as they relate to R.E.A.L. Projects. “Practicums are opportunities on campus to apply what you have learned from the classes,” said Ameling.
R.E.A.L. Projects stands for Real Experience Applied Learning Projects. This program allows students to build their resumes, learn how to apply classroom learning or explore career options without needing to take a semester off or even leaving campus.
This class option started in fall of 2019 and allows students to take up to 3 credits. Ameling helped start this program and is working on making it better.
Throughout the semester, there are a total of four projects that students have to complete. Students are sent a list, which they then rank by what they are most interested in completing throughout the course.
The students find out what their projects will be and meet who they will be working with throughout the semester. They only meet in class half of the time. Participants are able to meet with a mentor remotely from campus. They then report on what they plan to deliver by video conference.
According to Ameling, employers are invited to offer jobs from projects they are developing to WSU students. Working on these projects is a great way for students who may be interested in applying for grad school to prepare.
Ameling has been collaborating with Scott Sprenger to make R.E.A.L. Projects worldwide.
Ameling said students should find as many internships as they can as a way to apply what they have learned in class. “Take any experience you can and ask yourself, ‘Will this look good on a resume?’ Then do it,” said Ameling.
The original version of this story stated that Scott Sprenger now works at The American University in Rome, Italy. This was incorrect, and the story has been updated accordingly.