A key to student success in college is active involvement in the educational process. For some students, this involvement occurs in the context of formal work experience having a different set of priorities, techniques, goals, and time schedules than the college environment. Internships can be closely related to courses in the Chemistry Department or can provide experience in areas unavailable at the College. They can be volunteer opportunities, or for pay. Internships also provide an on-the-job experience that can facilitate finding a position after graduation. Students can earn academic credit while they:
- gain practical experience,
- discover their professional strengths and weaknesses,
- evaluate career paths,
- interact with working chemists, and
- develop a sense of professional responsibility.
The work experience must include non-repetitive laboratory work in order that it provides a continuous learning experience. Appropriate topics include, for example:
- sampling techniques
- project development
- method development
- Good Laboratory Practices
- regulatory compliance
- formulation methods
- materials or compounds
An On-Site Supervisor at the place of employment or service must be willing to work with the student to be certain that the educational goals are met, and a Faculty Internship Advisor in the chemistry department also monitors the internship experience.
The internship for a given semester will cover a specified time period, even though the employment or volunteer experience may continue after that period. The amount of academic credit awarded is based upon the amount of learning covered by the experience. A typical internship will require at least 100 hours on the job for each hour of academic credit.
The student must meet with the Faculty Internship Advisor as indicated in the Internship Agreement Form and fulfill other requirements specified on the form. Those requirements typically include reading assignments, monthly reports, and a summary paper sufficiently detailed to demonstrate mastery of the goals. A typical paper would be 10 pages long for each hour of credit earned.
Students pay normal fees to the College based upon the number of credit hours for which they register. Credit hours from internship programs are treated no differently than other academic credits.
The College has an Internship Agreement Form which must be completed by the student, the Faculty Internship Advisor, and the On-Site Supervisor. For internship programs that fulfill requirements in a major, a minor, or a certificate, the form requires the signature of the appropriate departmental chair(s).