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Virtual Internships: Accelerating Opportunity Through Disruption

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Conference

2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access

Location

Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Cooperative and Experiential Education Division Technical Session 1

Tagged Division

Cooperative and Experiential Education

Tagged Topic

Diversity

Page Count

17

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/38021

Download Count

178

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Paper Authors

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Lynn Merritt Ekstedt Oregon State University

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Ms. Lynn M. Ekstedt is an Employer Relations Manager in the Oregon State University College of Engineering, where she supports student-employer engagement and the college strategic plan as it relates to student placement in both entry-level and internship positions and experiential learning opportunities. Ms. Ekstedt has worked in this capacity in the university setting for over 7 years. She also has over 15 years of experience working as an engineer, primarily with small electronics manufacturing businesses, and held a professional engineering license for 12 of those years. Her professional engineering experience, combined with her education in industrial and manufacturing systems engineering, and her personal experience participating in multiple internships while an engineering student, including one international graduate-level internship, inform her work at the university in support of student engagement and success.

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Nikki James Northeastern University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-6015-359X

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Dr. Nikki James is an Assistant Teaching Professor in the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Department at D’Amore McKim School of Business at Northeastern University. Her portfolio includes the design and implementation of digital learning platforms that broaden participation in experiential learning for traditionally underserved students. Dr. James has worked at the forefront of social innovation and entrepreneurship for over 15 years and is particularly interested in the social and economic impact of systemic innovation in the education systems of cities, states, and nations.

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Kemi Jona Northeastern University

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Dr. Kemi Jona is the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Digital Innovation and Enterprise Learning at Northeastern University. His portfolio includes the design of digital experiential learning platforms and the formation of strategic enterprise partnerships for talent development to enable seamless, lifelong learning pathways for all learners. Dr. Jona has worked at the forefront of the learning sciences and learning technologies fields for over 20 years. He is thought leader in applying insights from cognitive and learning sciences to the design of technology-mediated learning environments and in developing innovative partnerships for new talent and credentialing strategies.

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Erich White Oregon State University

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Scott Paja Oregon State University

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I currently serve as AVP Partner Success in the Office of Innovation at the University of Cincinnati—working to advance the Cincinnati Innovation District. My team works to optimize university connectivity and innovation collaboration with and amongst partner organizations that range from Fortune 25 to startup, government agencies, national labs, and non-profits. We have established a purpose-built model to accelerate Cincinnati as a talent hub and beacon for innovation--in years, not decades.

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Josefine Fleetwood Oregon State University

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Abstract

Title: InternSHIFT: Accelerating Opportunity Through Disruption In this evidence-based practice paper, the authors share their experience implementing a technology-enhanced virtual internship model in a four-year public university engineering school. The paper will provide a detailed overview of the context surrounding the implementation of a virtual internship model. Outline the specific virtual internship model and how it addressed an acute need during the COVID-19 pandemic. The model, now established, could be used to scale opportunity and increase access to experiential learning—especially for non-traditional, international, and URM students. Experiential learning programs like internships and capstone projects are high impact practices that allow engineering students to build a professional network, apply technical skills in a real-world context, and develop 21st Century Skills that employers are looking for. In 2020 the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent school closures impacted the entire engineering education ecosystem, particularly internships and experiential learning opportunities. Economists find that entering the workforce in an economic downturn has short-term salary implications and impacts an individual's earning potential throughout their entire career. Cooperative and Experiential Learning helps students build professional network and skills, like teamwork, critical thinking, and communication, that employers are looking for and provide a strategic competitive advantage for job seekers. Virtual opportunities were new to many employers and help to prevent the potential short and long-term effects COVID-19 will have on current students’ career paths. Pre-COVID, the research project that forms the basis for this paper, focused on in-curricular industry engaged capstone projects. However, the scope quickly broadened to include a co-curricular internship model when it became evident that summer internships were severely impacted by social distancing and the economic impact of COVID-19. The virtual internship model was implemented to create an alternative experiential learning opportunity for students. Thus, enabling the continuation of students engineering education and skill development within a socially distanced and economically challenging environment. This paper will systematically highlight challenges implementing this new model within the broader institutional ecosystem and industry partner contexts. The specific issues addressed include: · getting current and new industry partners to understand and adopt a virtual internship model, · negotiating confidentiality, data privacy, and IP issues, · ensuring the model and financial mechanics fit within existing labor laws. The paper will conclude by discussing how this new virtual internship model could be used to scale opportunities and broaden participation in cooperative and experiential education for URM, non-traditional, and international engineering students. Moreover, it will provide recommendations drawn from the authors' experience to help other practitioners implement a similar virtual internship model.

Ekstedt, L. M., & James, N., & Jona, K., & White, E., & Paja, S., & Fleetwood, J. (2021, July), Virtual Internships: Accelerating Opportunity Through Disruption Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://peer.asee.org/38021

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