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Engineering Entrepreneurial Internship Programs: Planning, Operating And Growing

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

New Methods and Tools

Tagged Division

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.487.1 - 15.487.13

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Paper Authors

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Donald Reimer Lawrence Technological University

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Margaret Pierce Lawrence Tech University

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Engineering Entrepreneurial Internship Programs: Planning, Operating and Growing Abstract

This paper documents the creation of the Entrepreneurial Internship Program (EIP) at Lawrence Technological University. The Office of Career Services and the College of Engineering in conjunction with the Kern Family Foundation have developed an innovative entrepreneurial experiential learning co-op program. This unique program brings together entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial minded students who want an opportunity to learn more about entrepreneurial thinking. This paper will provide an example of how to create and implement an entrepreneurial internship program. In addition, we will document the experiential learning experiences that have taken place since the launch of the new program. The challenges of bringing the right mix of employer and student together takes time and a strong commitment to making it work for all involved. In order to achieve the EIP mission of understanding the entrepreneurial mindset, the employer must be receptive to the student’s need to explore and understand the key elements of strategic planning, and be exposed to the operational challenges of the company, including failures and successes. This EIP at Lawrence Tech fosters the involvement of companies founded and operated by entrepreneurial alumni. The Legends of Lawrence Tech is an organization of entrepreneurial alumni that has taken a strong interest in the EIP.

Internship Programs

At the heart of a strong internship experience is the ability to integrate concepts and theories that are taught in a classroom setting and bring those concepts to a higher level of understanding through observation and practice in an actual work environment. At Drexel University co-op activities are integrated into every student’s experience. They point-out the value of this experience by stating that “Students who use their learning to solve real-world problems find they not only gain a stronger understanding of material they have studied, they are better prepared to absorb new information when they return to classes [1]. Work integrated learning experiences allow students to better understand how skills and knowledge will be most marketable in assisting them to transition into their professional fields. In addition, students with professional experience gained through these types of experiences have a competitive edge over their counterparts in the job market. This is particularly important in today’s tight job market where competition for opportunities can be intense and students find themselves competing against experienced workers as well as other students.

Lawrence Technological University Commitment to Experiential Learning

In the spring of 1932, Russell Lawrence, a former Dean of the College of Engineering at the University of Detroit Mercy, had a goal to launch an educational enterprise that would allow working individuals to obtain a professional education. As great visionary, Lawrence believed there was a definite need for a technological school where working students could attend classes and complete a degree during the day, evening and weekends. Even though this was during the

Reimer, D., & Pierce, M. (2010, June), Engineering Entrepreneurial Internship Programs: Planning, Operating And Growing Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky.

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