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What’s Happening with Required Internships?

What’s Happening with Required Internships?

Begin the Internship Hunt Now

By Lauren Vizcarra

In the midst of COVID-19, students are worried about the availability and difficulty of obtaining an internship required by some majors to graduate. [1] 

Internships are required for several majors including all business, health promotion, and engineering majors. Other majors like communications, humanities and English sometimes require internships as well. [2] 

The problem students are now facing is how to get an internship during the COVID-19 pandemic and what, if secured, would one look like during these unprecedented times. There was a poll on the unofficial Instagram page called @wwuoriginalmemes that asked, “Should the University remove internship requirements until COVID-19 is gone?” The results were that 87% said “yes” while 13% said “no” of the 148 people who responded to the poll. [3] 

Students practice their “right” to Instagram story vote. Photo by @wwuoriginalmemes on Instagram

To students worried about the struggles of doing an internship online, Ben Wexler, junior business major, proposed that virtual jobs/working remotely is the future. He procured an internship with AMOR Projects based in Peru. Wexler worked remotely and stated that he enjoyed doing so because it allowed him to work from home. [4] 

Ben’s Stylish newsletter for AMOR projects. Photo by Benjamin Wexler

Spencer Nielson, junior business major, actually scored an in-person internship at Marshall Medical Center in California. He worked in their information technology department. Nielson had a unique experience and had to don protective jumpsuit-like clothing and gloves when he went to work near the operating rooms. He says that the internship gave him hands-on experience and he urges students to continue applying for internships because there are, indeed, some internships that are still in-person. [5] 

Spencer sporting the latest COVID-19 fashion. Photo by Spencer Nielson

Junior business major Aaron Leek has not worked his internship yet, but can speak to the process of obtaining it during the pandemic. He applied online and prerecorded his interview. Leek mentions how the business department staff are very good at notifying their students about internship availabilities. [6] 

When asked about what he would say to students who are worried concerning internships, Leek says, “I encourage students to apply to as many internships as they can, have a cover letter ready to go with the blanks filled in, have a STAR format resume, and connect with hiring managers on LinkedIn and former interns to gain insight on what it is like working at the company.”  

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As for how the school should deal with internships, he suggests “there should be a temporary request for students to apply to either intern on campus or opt out in exchange for other credits.” [7] 

Volker Henning, vice president of academic administration, stated in an interview that the school recognizes that students are having a lot of difficulties doing internships in the normal way. Henning says, “During this time of COVID-19 we are all trying to be flexible and resilient and figure out how we can make something work. And for some students that may mean that they need some type of exception to the requirement of an internship. For others, it may be helping to facilitate finding a pathway to doing something virtually… the best thing for students who are having any kind of challenges is to talk to their advisor and their department chair.” [8] 

It is important to note that the student development center is there to help students with a multitude of things including internships. Specifically, Darel Harwell, assistant director of internships and experiential learning. He urges students to take advantage of Handshake, which is an online platform that allows students to find jobs. Harwell encourages students to attend the career fair held on Handshake on February 10, 2021. [9] 

Citations  

  1. @wwuoriginalmemes. (2020, December 27). Should the University remove internship requirements until Covid-19 is gone? [Instagram photograph]. Retrieved from https://bit.ly/2XlWsfE. 
  1. Interview with Heidi Roberts, administrative assistant of the Student Development Center, 1/5/21. 
  1. @wwuoriginalmemes. (2020, December 27). Should the University remove internship requirements until Covid-19 is gone? [Instagram photograph]. Retrieved from https://bit.ly/2XlWsfE. 
  1. Interview with Benjamin Wexler, 1/6/21. 
  1. Interview with Spencer Nielson, 1/7/21. 
  1. Aaron Leek, personal communication, 1/7/2021. 
  1. Ibid. 
  1. Interview with Volker Henning, 1/5/21. 
  1. Interview with Darel Harwell, 1/5/21. 
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