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Professional Internships: A Requirement For Graduation

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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

Best Practices in Existing College-Industry Partnerships

Tagged Division

College-Industry Partnerships

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.989.1 - 15.989.16



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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 Internship Coordinator for the Department at the University of Southern Maine. His areas of specialization include Power and Energy Processing, Applied Process Control Engineering, Applied Automation Engineering, Fluid Power, and Facility Planning.

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

Professional Internships as a Requirement for Graduation


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 and implemented internship is a very time consuming investment, which will yield excellent returns for your students and for your program. Students, both traditional and non- traditional, are given an opportunity to demonstrate, advance, and refine technical and supervisory competencies learned in the classroom and in the laboratories. Graduates with this type of resume-worthy experience have a substantial advantage over peers with no internship experience. “Once, having an internship or two on your resume made you a real standout in the marketplace. Today, internships are really the only way to make sure you get on the career track of your choosing.” 1

Engineering programs and the hosting industries also benefit in many ways. “The programs possess several advantages and provide benefits to all stakeholders.” 2 The Internship program is a perfect vehicle to network into many different types of businesses and industries. This working relationship often results in program benefits such as state- of-the-art equipment donations, sources of student scholarships, recruiting tool for current industrial employees wishing to upgrade their skill set, a job placement highway for graduates, faculty industrial sabbaticals, advisory board members, and an excellent vehicle for some great community public relations.

Internships are also very profitable for industries as they struggle to maintain an adequate supply of technically oriented employees during market swings. Some companies prefer to call the positions coops, and others call the positions fellowships. What they wish to call the professional occupational experience it is not a point of contention. It is more important that the student is gaining professional experience, and that they are being paid while they learn.


The purpose of this article is three fold. First, it will provide the rationale for implementing a required professional internship within your engineering program. Secondly, it will present a typical Internship Portfolio documentation package of assignments that each intern completes as an integral part of the internship experience. And thirdly, the crucial role of the Professional Internship Coordinator is examined.

Marshall, J. (2010, June), Professional Internships: A Requirement For Graduation Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--15828

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