“Provides direct experience in a work setting, related to career interests, supervised by mentor, coach, or professional in the field. Can be project, paper, or for credit. Includes cooperative education and part of experiential learning”Peters, Tisdale, & Swinton, 2019
Internships for undergraduates provide myriad benefits that may increase successful retention of underrepresented populations in STEM. For instance, they expose students to real-world applications of STEM principles and skills, increase student awareness of necessary skills and characteristics to function effectively in the workplace, expand networking opportunities, and improve familiarity with specific career options in science fields (Alvarez, Edwards & Harris, 2010). The experiential learning that takes place within internships is strengthened when undergraduate institutions help students connect the foundational course content from classes to field practice (Palmer, Maramba & Dancy, 2011). Some evidence suggests that participating in industry internships influences student career choice even more than effects stemming from classroom experience (Hackett, Croissant & Schneider, 1992).
References and additional resources:
Alvarez, C. A., Edwards, D., & Harris, B. (2010). STEM Specialty Programs: A Pathway for Under-Represented Students into STEM Fields. NCSSSMST journal, 16(1), 27-29.
Hackett, E. J., Croissant, J., & Schneider, B. (1992). Industry, academe, and the values of undergraduate engineers. Research in Higher Education, 33(3), 275-295.
Palmer, R. T., Maramba, D. C., & Dancy, T. E. (2011). A qualitative investigation of factors promoting the retention and persistence of students of color in STEM. The Journal of Negro Education, 491-504.
Peters, A. W., Tisdale, V. A., & Swinton, D. J. (2019). High-impact educational practices that promote student achievement in STEM. Broadening Participation in STEM (Diversity in Higher Education) 22, 183-196.