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A Professional Internship: Don't Graduate Without One

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

What Are We Learning About Co-op and Experiential Education Experience?

Tagged Division

Cooperative & Experiential Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.93.1 - 25.93.15

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Paper Authors


John Marshall University of Southern Maine

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John Marshall received his Ph.D. from Texas A&M University and is the Departmental Internship Coordinator at the University of Southern Maine. His areas of specialization include power and energy processing, applied process control engineering, automation, fluid power, and facility planning.

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A Professional Internship: Don’t Graduate Without OneAbstract Professional internships are not a new concept to college and university programs.However, to require this experience in the form of a demanding, well designed andimplemented internship is a very time consuming investment, which will yield excellentreturns for your students and for your program. Students, both traditional and non-traditional, are given an opportunity to demonstrate, advance, and refine technical andsupervisory competencies learned in the classroom and in the laboratories. Graduateswith this type of resume-worthy experience have a substantial advantage over peers withno internship experience. “Once, having an internship or two on your resume made you areal standout in the marketplace. Today, internships are really the only way to make sureyou get on the career track of your choosing” (Taylor). Engineering programs and the hosting industries also benefit in many ways. “Theprograms possess several advantages and provide benefits to all stakeholders” (Faculty).The internship program is a perfect vehicle to network into many different types ofbusinesses and industries. This working relationship often results in program benefitssuch as state-of-the-art equipment donations, sources of student scholarships, recruitingtool for current industrial employees wishing to upgrade their skill set, a job placementhighway for graduates, faculty industrial sabbaticals, advisory board members, and anexcellent vehicle for some great community public relations. Internships are also veryprofitable for industries as they struggle to maintain an adequate supply of technicallyoriented employees.Purpose The purpose of this manuscript is four fold. First, it will provide the rationale forimplementing a required professional internship within your engineering program.Secondly, it will present an outstanding example of a Professional Internship Manual thathas evolved and been refined over the past twenty-seven years by an InternshipCoordinator. This Professional Internship Manual identifies the purpose, goals,objectives, competencies, outcomes and assignments that are an integral part of theinternship experience.The required assignments contained with-in this Professional Internship Manual insurethat all participants document their professional growth in the form of a portfolio that iswell suited for the job seeking/advancement process. Thirdly, the crucial role of theProfessional Internship Coordinator is examined and expanded upon. The fourthcomponent addressed in this manuscript will be internship assessment and summary datacollection.

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2012 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015