Asee peer logo

Attitude Shifts and Transformation During Computer Science and Engineering Student Internships

Download Paper |


2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Computing and Information Technology Division Technical Session 1

Tagged Division

Computing and Information Technology

Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Mia Minnes University of California, San Diego

visit author page

I am an Associate Teaching Professor in the Computer Science and Engineering Department at UC San Diego. My research interests lie in theory of computation (specifically resource-bounded computability theory and algorithmic randomness) and CS education and professional development (designing and studying community- and cohort-building initiatives, researching and enhancing the academic-industry transition for entering professionals).

visit author page


Sheena Ghanbari Serslev University of California, San Diego

visit author page

Dr. Sheena Ghanbari Serslev's research interests include creativity and learning, program assessment, and faculty development. She strives to create engaging and accessible environments that promote teaching and learning.

visit author page

author page

Madison Edwards

Download Paper |


This study explores how industry internships, paired with scaffolded reflection, shape student attitudes and learning behaviors. Building upon the literature on student motivation, we seek to answer the following question: how do internships influence student attitudes towards their studies and their future approaches towards learning? Data at three critical points in a student internship (before, right after, and several months later) are used to measure the evolution of student perspectives on academics and the Tech industry. This paper uses a mixed-methods approach, where open-ended student reflections on their internship are coded and unpacked, and then compared to a statistical analysis of student responses to a survey including the Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ) before and after the internship experience. Students expressed overwhelmingly positive academic and industry dispositional changes. They expressed increased appreciation for the opportunities they have had and increased awareness of the importance of interpersonal relationships and life-long learning. Students spoke to specific actions and behaviors they plan to take after the internship experience, reflecting their heightened maturity and sense of direction. Additionally, the internship illuminated the importance of building interpersonal skills, exhibiting personal growth, and developing attributes of lifelong learning. In contrast to these conclusions, pre- and post-survey analysis for the MSLQ with the same group of students reveals specific areas where student motivation decreased after the internship experience. These findings point to the important formative role internships can play in an undergraduate Computer Science and Engineering program and shed light on the lessons universities can learn about leveraging student enthusiasm at the end of their internship to enhance the ensuing continuation of their academic experience.

Minnes, M., & Serslev, S. G., & Edwards, M. (2020, June), Attitude Shifts and Transformation During Computer Science and Engineering Student Internships Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34196

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: © 2020 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