What is an internship?
An internship is a self-initiated, supervised work experience with appropriate private organizations, businesses or government agencies that increases interaction with professionals in related fields. The College of Arts and Sciences offers a variety of courses that allow you to earn credit for an internship: BIOLOGY 495, CRM_J 490, ENGLISH 498, Pol_S 497 and UNIV 398.
What is the purpose of an internship?
- Explore career options
- Enhance your professional preparation through direct involvement in your chosen field
- Provide a learning environment where you can apply knowledge and skills acquired in the classroom setting
- Prepare you for professional positions and build your resume
How do I get an internship?
- Check with your advisor to assure that internship credits are appropriate to your program of study. Determine how many credit hours of internship are appropriate for your program. Remember: 45 hours of fieldwork must be completed for each hour of credit for which you are registered.
- Meet with an internship coordinator to discuss the internship course that will be the best fit for you, timelines, potential internship sites, finding a faculty supervisor, if an affiliation agreement is needed, review the components of the course syllabus and discuss any questions you may have.
Nicole Hess, internship coordinator for science internships
Erin Leverman, internship coordinator for liberal arts internships
To schedule an appointment, call the CASAC office 360-546-9620 or email van.CASAdvising@wsu.edu. For more information, email Erin Leverman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Important: The affiliation agreement can take four to six weeks to establish, so start the process a couple of months before the term you wish to enroll in.
- Begin contacting potential placement sites. There are many ways to research and identify an internship that will meet your career interests and learning goals:
- Review all internship and job resources available to you at the Job and internship seeking webpage.
- Sign up for Handshake to access WSU Vancouver internship postings and other opportunities.
- Ask faculty for recommendation or suggestions.
- Read newspapers and journals.
- Conduct informational interviews. Review the Informational Interviews and Networking Tips and the Guide to professional correspondence.
- Use various internet search strategies to identify organizations engaged in your interests.
- Secure a site and submit required paperwork before the start of the term. Once you’ve been offered a position, contact your internship coordinator to submit the required paperwork. The internship paperwork needs to be submitted to the internship coordinator prior to enrollment. After the paperwork is submitted, your internship coordinator will enroll you in the course. Students cannot enroll themselves.
Responsibilities of the employer/internship site:
- Offer a true career-related experience that enhances academic learning. Hiring a student to perform busywork (data entry, filing, answering phones, etc.) is appropriate for an internship experience only when balanced with meaningful professional responsibilities. Internships serves as a link between classroom learning and practical application. Students should be involved in making decisions and learning about a field through hands-on experience.
- Provide a position description that will describe the internship. Students who are earning academic credit are required to complete a Learning Plan form. The agreement document is an opportunity for you and the student to define the job duties they will perform during this time-limited employment period. Include the name of the organization, position title and description, duration of employment, compensation information (if any), qualifications required, location and application process.
- Appoint someone to act as a mentor/supervisor during the experience. Introduce the student to the organization, employees, physical layout and order of responsibility. Be sure the student intern knows the general philosophy and procedures of operation for the organization as a whole. Inform the intern of rules and expectations to be followed.
- Provide the intern with feedback and assessment information. Be sure that the mentor/supervisor has the time to oversee the student's performance and offer constructive feedback. At the conclusion of the internship, fill out an evaluation form of the student’s performance. Form will be provided.
For questions about employers’ responsibilities, email Erin Leverman at email@example.com.
Examples of past internship sites
- Clark College
- Clark County Food Bank
- Clark County Historical Museum
- Clark County Juvenile Court
- Clark County Sheriff’s Office
- Columbia River Mental Health Services
- Columbia Springs
- Evergreen Public Schools
- Gresham Police Department
- Janus Youth
- Lower Columbia College
- Ridgefield Police Department
- Ridgefield Wildlife Refuge
- Washington Department of Children, Youth, and Families
- Washington State Legislature in Olympia, Washington
- Washougal School District
- YWCA of Clark County