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Sharing Student Learning from Individual Internship Experiences

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Entrepreneurship and Innovation Beyond the Classroom

Tagged Division

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation

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Paper Authors


Eden Fisher Carnegie Mellon University

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Eden Fisher is the Founding Director of the Masters Program in Engineering and Technology Innovation Management (E&TIM) at Carnegie Mellon University. She earned an AB in Chemistry from Princeton University and a Ph.D. in Engineering & Public Policy from Carnegie Mellon. She worked in industrial technology planning and innovation management for over 20 years. For 2016, she served as the William R. Kenan Jr. Visiting Professor for Distinguished Teaching in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the Keller Center for Innovation in Engineering Education at Princeton University.

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Sharing Student Learning from Individual Internship Experiences

An internship is an important opportunity for students to apply concepts from coursework in actual organizations, while striving to contribute value for stakeholders. An internship also provides an immersive experience in the messiness of the real world, where a student will observe situations that highlight inevitable distinctions between theory and practice. In addition, topics that may not have been part of their formal academic curriculum make each internship unique and enriching, as each student becomes deeply knowledgeable concerning both technical and social concerns specific to their internship context.

As a requirement of a professional engineering masters degree program in innovation management, every student completes an internship. Although the internship experience is central to every student’s education, each internship is unique. From the launch of the program a decade ago, formal and informal assessments of each student’s learning from their own internship have been integrated into the program curriculum as part of the program design, primarily from written journal entries and a final paper of accomplishments and reflections.

In recent years, the program has also leveraged the opportunity for each student to share key insights with their classmates. As part of the process for choosing the winner for an award established for the most outstanding internship presentation, independent judges and student classmates all reflect on the significant insights offered concerning each internship case study presentation. Both quantitative ratings and descriptive comments are submitted by judges and classmates for every presentation.

This process has deepened student insight into their own internship, as they strive to teach classmates key findings from their lived experience. Moreover, everyone in the cohort multiplies the power of their single internship by considering the parallel experiences of each classmate. Finally, the key learnings that the students present, as captured in the takeaways of their classmates, have been insightful for both the students and the course instructors. This paper describes how the shared learning is structured and initial findings.

Fisher, E. (2017, June), Sharing Student Learning from Individual Internship Experiences Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28824

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