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Internships

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Internships play a key role in a student’s educational experience at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College.

 

What is an internship?

Internships are experiences that allow theory and practice to work together to support student learning. During an internship, students have the opportunity to apply their knowledge learned in the classroom to a real-world context. The purpose of an internship is to provide a meaningful learning experience that will help students better understand the nature of the jobs and professions they have chosen to study. The internship experience can serve to launch students’ careers and expand their professional network. Overall, the internship experience should help students close the gap between school and work.

Definition of An Internship:

To establish uniformity in the use and application of the term “internship,” the National Association for Colleges and Employers recommends the following definition:

“An internship is a form of experiential learning that integrates knowledge and theory learned in the classroom with practical application and skills development in a professional setting. Internships give students the opportunity to gain valuable applied experience and make connections in professional fields they are considering for career paths; and give employers the opportunity to guide and evaluate talent.”

As part of the STEPS program, an internship is defined as

  • “Out of classroom activities that expand students’ disciplinary knowledge and skills while also challenging their ability to apply learning in authentic settings as they contend with real-world experiences” (QEP, 2016).

Criteria for an Experience to Be Defined as an Internship:

To ensure that an experience is educational, and eligible to be considered a legitimate internship by the NACE definition, all the following criteria must be met:

  1. The experience must be an extension of the classroom: a learning experience that provides for applying the knowledge gained in the classroom. It must not be simply to advance the operations of the employer or be the work that a regular employee would routinely perform.
  2. The skills or knowledge learned must be transferable to other employment settings.
  3. The experience has a defined beginning and end, and a job description with desired qualifications.
  4. There are clearly defined learning objectives/goals related to the professional goals of the student’s academic coursework.
  5. There is supervision by a professional with expertise and educational and/or professional background in the field of the experience.
  6. There is routine feedback by the experienced supervisor.
  7. There are resources, equipment, and facilities provided by the host employer that support learning objectives/goals.

Source: http://www.naceweb.org/advocacy/position-statements/united-states-internships.aspx?intlftnav

Student Information and Resources

Why should college students complete an internship?

  1. Employers expect graduates to have real-world experience.
  2. Students earn college credit toward their degree.
  3. Internships allow students to “test” out their career field.
  4. Internships allow students to better understand their chosen major and understand how their coursework is preparing them to enter the field.
  5. Student interns have opportunities to develop their teamwork, communication, leadership, and problem-solving skills.
  6. Internships allow students to build confidence by working on real-world problems in supervised settings.
  7. Internships provide students opportunities to build their professional networks and resumes and provide them with an edge in the job market.

Completing an internship is not a guarantee of a job. However, students who complete internship experiences, or multiple internship experiences, may have an advantage when it does come time for the job search because research has shown that internships are catalysts for job placement.

How can a student find an internship?

Internships may take many forms and should be designed in consultation with academic advisors and internship coordinators to help students develop further in their chosen career field. Faculty and staff located within the academic Schools help students prepare cover letters, resumes, interviewing skills, and understand workplace expectations. STEPS staff coordinators serve as valuable resources for students preparing for an internship.

 

STEPS Staff Coordinators

Program of Study Coordinator Email
Bachelor of Science: Agriculture Suzanne Bentley sbentley@abac.edu
Bachelor of Science: Environmental Horticulture Suzanne Bentley sbentley@abac.edu
Bachelor of Science: Natural Resource Management Suzanne Bentley sbentley@abac.edu
Bachelor of Science: Business & Economic Development Bridgett Mobley bmobley@abac.edu
Bachelor of Arts/Sciences: Rural Studies Kyle Basko kbasko@abac.edu
Bachelor of Science in Nursing Tami Dennis tdennis@abac.edu
Bachelor of Science: Biology Russ Simpson rsimpson@abac.edu

 

Earning Credit for an Internship Experience

To register for an internship course you must contact the STEPS staff coordinator in the appropriate degree program. Internships in the STEPS program are defined as:

Out-of-classroom activities that expand students’ disciplinary knowledge and skills while also challenging their ability to apply learning in authentic settings as they contend with real-world experiences.

The prerequisites for an internship course are

  • Minimum GPA of 2.0
  • Minimum of 60 overall credit hours completed and junior level standing

Faculty are responsible for overseeing the academic components of the experience including the contact hours and academic assignments required to earn college credits.The number of credit hours awarded for internship classes should not be interpreted as to supersede the employment agreements for number of hours worked by individual interns. Academic advisors and internship faculty should work with students on individualized academic and employment plans that meet the needs of the student and the employer/internship supervisor.

  • The minimum number of contact hours based on number of credit hours awarded is
  • 3 credit hours: A minimum of 135 contact hours completed
  • 6 credit hours: A minimum of 270 contact hours completed
  • 9 credit hours: A minimum of 405 contact hours completed

Paid vs. Non-Paid:

Internships may be paid or unpaid. Students and employers will complete a learning contract with specific objectives for the experience. This contract will help the student determine what she hopes to learn from the experience, and it will help the employer design experiences that will help the student achieve her goals.

Student Checklist

  • Start planning for the internship well in advance of the semester in which you plan to register for the course
  • Meet with the academic advisors and internship coordinators in the department of your major and register for the internship class during registration the semester before you want to begin the internship.
  • Read the Online Internship Manual
  • Create a strong resume
  • Attend the STEPS Series
  • Research prospective internship placements
  • Apply for the internship according to the instructions in the Internship Manual
  • Keep a log or notes of where you are in the process of applying for each internship opportunity, so that you know what to do next with whom you’ve spoken and when
  • Make an appointment with the STEPS Coordinator in your respective program and make sure all paperwork is completed before beginning the experience.

Intern Responsibilities

To gain these benefits, students participating in an internship should be prepared to abide by the following guidelines:

  • Adhere to company/agency work hours, policies, procedures, and rules governing professional staff behavior.
  • Adhere to company/agency and professional ethics governing the handling of confidential information and the observation of confidentiality.
  • Assume personal and professional responsibility for his/her actions and activities.
  • Maintain professional relationships with company and agency employees, clients, and customers, both internal and external.
  • Approach established company policies and procedures with an open mind, and a desire for improvement.
  • Apply knowledge acquired in the classroom to real- world situations.
  • Develop a self-awareness of attitudes, values, and behavior patterns that influence the work environment.
  • Prepare for and utilize learning opportunities such as training, meetings, or conferences offered by the company.
  • Complete work assignments in a thorough, consistent, and punctual manner.
  • Provide the faculty advisor with periodic progress reports.

For more information, contact Dr. Darby Sewell, dsewell@abac.edu, 229-391-4810.

 

Employer Information and Resources

Why do you need an intern? 

  • Energy and fresh ideas
  • Additional talent to complete an existing project, start a new one or expand into a new line of business
  • Expand knowledge such as working with social media

 

How do you hire an ABAC intern? 

  • Evaluate your need for an intern three to four months in advance. Select specific projects or tasks that need to be completed.
  • Decide who will be the intern’s supervisor.
  • Identify the skills and abilities the intern will need to be successful.
  • Create the position description.
  • Contact Dr. Darby Sewell, dsewell@abac.edu or 229-391-4810.

What are the benefits for employers? 

  • Early engagement with top students with the possible goal of hiring them
  • More informed hiring decisions because on-the-job performance is added to the selection process.
  • Higher full-time offer acceptance rates and reduced recruiting costs.
  • Reduced training and higher productivity of entry-level hires.
  • Increased retention rates of new employees due to a stronger connection to the company.

Intern Responsibilities

To gain these benefits, students participating in an internship should be prepared to abide by the following guidelines:

  • Adhere to company work hours, policies, procedures, and rules governing professional staff behavior.
  • Adhere to company and professional ethics governing the handling of confidential information and the observation of confidentiality.
  • Assume personal and professional responsibility for his/her actions and activities.
  • Maintain professional relationships with company employees, clients, and customers, both internal and external.
  • Approach established company policies and procedures with an open mind, and an honest desire for improvement.
  • Work on applying knowledge acquired in the classroom to real- world business situations.
  • Develop a self-awareness of attitudes, values, and behavior patterns that influence the work environment.
  • Prepare for and utilize learning opportunities such as training, meetings, or conferences offered by the company.
  • Complete work assignments in a thorough, consistent, and punctual manner.
  • Provide the faculty coordinator with periodic progress reports.

 

US Department of Labor

Wage and Hour Division

DOL Internships