Internship Faculty Advisor: Mike Ingram
Internships are a key component in preparing students for their careers after leaving Whitworth. Internships offer students many experiences and skills, including:
- Preparation for the job market: Finding an internship and spending a concentrated time in a work environment is the best way to gain experience in the field you may enter after you graduate. An internship also helps you build professional contacts for a future job search. It is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to get a full-time job in any communications field without having had internship experience in that specific area.
- Confirmation of career goals: An internship provides valuable insight to determine if you really do want to pursue a particular career area, and gives a first-hand look at the working environment for the given profession.
- Connection from classrooms to career: Internships help you apply what you have learned in class to the job situation. If students have a semester or more left after completing the internship, they also may wish to select courses to address certain questions or concerns that arise during the internship.
- Learning on what it means to be on the job: An internship helps students learn the norms and expectations of the professional workplace. Many students have never worked in an office or other formal work environment, an experience for which the classroom simply cannot prepare them.
Finding the Right Internship for You
The communication studies three-credit internship (COM 490) is designed to offer you the opportunity to gain professional experience, build your résumé and apply your course work. To find the internship that is best for you, it is important to consider career options that you are interested in pursuing after graduation. The internship you choose should align with your career goals.
If you have not decided which career options you would like to pursue, you may want to consider job-shadowing professionals in several fields or identifying organizations that are doing the kind of work that you want to do. The department's internship faculty advisor, Mike Ingram, is available to help you consider options.
Once you have narrowed your focus, you will want to seek an internship for credit. The internship office in career services can help you with searching for available opportunities on Handshake, preparing a résumé and setting up interviews. Also, the internship office provides internship orientations each semester that students are required to attend before registering for an internship. Know that you are responsible for identifying and securing your internship, but do not commit yourself until you have cleared the site with the communication department's internship supervisor.
Interning for Credit
COM 490 is designed to be a capstone learning experience, and students are eligible to register for internships after they have completed 18 credits in the major.
Students can complete the internship course COM 490 during the fall and spring semester, or during Summer Term. Each academic credit earned is for 40 hours of work at the internship. Most students complete the required three academic credits in one semester; however, students may spread work over more than one semester (for example, taking two credits with 80 hours of work at one site in the fall and 40 hours at another site in the spring).
Credit-eligible internships must:
- Satisfy the communication department's learning outcomes
- Be off-campus and independent of Whitworth University operations
- Align with post-graduate career plans
- Develop a means to apply knowledge gained from coursework
- Provide routine feedback by the experienced supervisor
- Have a defined weekly schedule, clear job description and clearly defined learning objectives
- Present resources, provided by the host employer, that support the defined learning objectives
Credit-eligible internships must not:
- Be at a site you have worked or volunteered at previously, unless it offers a significant change in job duties
- Exceed 40 hours a week
- Be at your family's business, or where a family member is a supervisor
- Whitworth requires you to pay for your internship and earn academic credit during the term when the work occurs. That means if you complete an internship in the summer, then you must receive credit and pay for that internship in the summer. Retroactive credit is not granted.
Examples of Internship Sites
Our students have completed numerous internships in many different fields. Previous students have held positions in organizations such as: